You might not have their crib set up yet, and maybe you had to throw together your hospital bag in a bit of a rush.
But don’t worry, we’lll get up to speed on taking care of a baby born at 33 weeks.
7 weeks before your due date is a surprising time to welcome your new baby to the world.
So, what should you know about caring for your premature babe?
No doubt, they’ll require some extra attention compared to a baby born at full term, but your medical team will know exactly what to do.
As for you? Here’s our guide to what to expect for the journey ahead.
In this article 📝
- What does a baby born at 33 weeks look like?
- What happens if a baby is born at 33 weeks?
- Do babies born at 33 weeks have to stay in the NICU?
- What is the chance of survival for a baby born at 33 weeks?
- Can babies born at 33 weeks breathe on their own?
- Can a baby be born at 33 weeks and be healthy?
- Can you give birth naturally at 33 weeks?
What does a baby born at 33 weeks look like?
If you’re searching for baby born at 33 weeks pictures, you’ll notice that they look basically like a full-term baby.
A baby born at 33 weeks is classed as “moderate preterm,” so they are not quite as small or fragile-looking as “very preterm” or “extremely preterm” babies.
They’ll weigh somewhere in the region of 4.5 to five pounds.
But as small as they may be, their muscle development means they’ll be slightly more sturdy than even those born a week before.
What happens if a baby is born at 33 weeks?
A baby born at 33 weeks is still almost two months from their due date, so they’ll need a little help starting out with things like breathing and feeding.
The length of your hospital stay will depend on your little one’s exact condition and can change from day-to-day.
At 33 weeks, your baby’s eyes will follow objects, and they may show an obvious response to you and your voice when you are near them.
Their limbs are stronger and their movements less jerky than babies born earlier than 33 weeks.
Even if you can’t hold them right away, spending time with them will be a great experience for you both.
Do babies born at 33 weeks have to stay in the NICU?
Yes, it’s most likely that your moderately preterm baby will need a period of specialist care in a NICU setting.
Their immune system is immature, so staying in a safe environment like an incubator (which will also help them keep warm) is a great start.
Also, the lungs don’t finish developing until after 35 to 36 weeks of pregnancy which is why even late preterm babies experience breathing difficulties in those early days.
But don’t worry, in time they’ll get there.
The majority of the time, a preemie’s baby stay in the NICU is relatively short – this could like between one to two weeks.
What is the chance of survival for a baby born at 33 weeks?
For babies born at 33 weeks, survival rate is around 99.5%, according to one study.
But of course, there are still risks to delivering so early.
There’s about a 70% chance a baby born at 33 weeks will have some kind of initial heart or breathing difficulties, which is why NICU is often the safest place for them to be.
Despite the rocky start, their long-term prognosis is great. 🎉
The vast majority of babies born at 33 weeks have no lasting issues relating to their premature arrival.
Can babies born at 33 weeks breathe on their own?
Sometimes, but as we mentioned before, the majority of babies born at this age will need some breathing assistance, to begin with.
This range anywhere from the first day or two to a week or two.
Each baby is unique.
It’s also common for babies born at 33 weeks to experience some feeding difficulties, and they may be slow to gain weight.
Mastering the feeding reflex and getting strong enough to coordinate feeding and breathing can take some time.
You may be encouraged to try breastfeeding once or twice a day if you want to.
Can a baby be born at 33 weeks and be healthy?
Science has come a long way mama, so we know that their survival is all but guaranteed.
As for longterm health concerns, we do know that they are less likely than babies born at 32 weeks and under, to develop serious disabilities.
Studies do show that babies born between 32 and 35 weeks have a higher chance of learning difficulties.
This can look like struggles with writing, mathematics, or fine motor skills.
The link between preemies and neurodevelopmental problem has long been observed, but so too has the positive impact of childhood educational intervention and therapy.
It can be difficult to come to terms with in these early, vulnerable days but knowing what to expect can also be your greatest tool.
As can the knowledge that you’re not alone in this.
Can you give birth naturally at 33 weeks?
Giving birth at 33 weeks can happen for a range of reasons – not all of which are clear – meaning yes, you may spontaneously go into vaginal labor.
But on the other hand, you might have an underlying condition or other medical reason for your labor may be induced early or to have a C-section.
A recent study shows that preterm births in the US rose by 4% in 2021, but we’re not necessarily closer to knowing why.
Some of the common risk factors associated with a premature birth include:
- A history of preterm births
- The use of assisted reproductive technology
- Carrying twins or triplets
- Having a short cervix
Other conditions that may place women at a higher risk include diabetes, placenta previa, being pregnant within 6 months of giving birth, and in vitro fertilization.
The list can go on and is not always definitive.
The important thing, however it happens, is that your baby is here, safe and in the best place to receive the care they need.
And there’s a whole community of mamas
here to support you through even the most uncertain moments.
Your baby’s here, mama!