You and Your Baby at Week 35 of Your Pregnancy

(10 minute read)

35 Weeks Pregnant

As you enter week 35 of your pregnancy, both you and your baby are preparing for the imminent birth. Not much longer now! So, what is going on in week 35?

Week 35

How Big is Baby at 35 Weeks?

By 35 weeks, your baby's development is nearing completion, with size estimates averaging around 46.2 cm (18.2 inches) in length and a weight of approximately 5.25 pounds (2.4 kg). This size is comparable to a honeydew melon. While these averages give a general idea, it's crucial to understand that every baby grows at their own unique pace. Genetic factors play a significant role in determining the baby's size, meaning that if you or your partner were born larger or smaller, your baby might follow suit. Additionally, the pregnancy's overall health and nutritional status can impact growth. Conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia can influence the baby's weight, emphasizing the importance of regular prenatal check-ups to monitor development.

Developmental milestones

At this stage, your baby's organs are well-developed and ready to function independently. The kidneys and liver are operational, filtering waste and supporting metabolic processes. The brain is in a crucial growth phase, enhancing neural connections essential for motor skills and cognitive functions post-birth. Your baby is also accumulating fat under the skin, providing the necessary warmth and energy reserves for the outside world. Sensory development is nearly complete; your baby can hear sounds from outside the womb, distinguish between light and dark, and taste the amniotic fluid, which offers a preview of the flavours present in your diet.

Space constraints and movement

Despite the limited space, your baby remains active, practising movements that are vital for muscle development and preparing for life outside the womb. It's essential to monitor these movements, as a noticeable decrease or change in pattern could indicate a potential issue warranting immediate medical attention. Concurrently, your body is undergoing significant changes to prepare for labour. This includes the baby dropping into the pelvis - you may even notice that your baby bump looks like it has dropped down.

Weight Gain

By 35 weeks, it's typical to have gained between 24 and 29 pounds (10.8 to 13.1 kg). This weight gain supports your baby's growth, the increased blood volume, amniotic fluid, placenta, and added body tissues. It's important to note that weight gain can vary significantly depending on pre-pregnancy weight, dietary habits, and overall health. While some may gain more or less than the average, try to maintain a balanced diet and continue to exercise (if you feel up to it).

 

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Your Body at Week 35

As your body prepares for delivery, you may notice several physical changes:

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions, often referred to as "practice contractions," prepare your uterus for labour. These contractions can become more frequent and noticeable around 35 weeks. While typically painless, they can cause discomfort. Unlike true labour contractions, Braxton Hicks are irregular and do not increase in intensity or frequency. Staying hydrated, changing positions, and relaxing can help alleviate discomfort. However, if contractions become regular, more painful, or accompanied by other symptoms like bleeding, it's essential to contact your midwife. 

Nesting Instinct

The nesting instinct is a common telltale sign that labour is close. Nesting is where expectant mothers feel a sudden surge of energy and an overwhelming urge to clean, organise, and prepare their home for the baby's arrival. This instinct can be a productive way to prepare for your new addition, but balancing activity with rest is important. Avoid overexerting yourself, especially with tasks that require heavy lifting or extensive physical effort.

Breast Discharge

As your body prepares for breastfeeding, you may notice a yellowish discharge from your breasts known as colostrum. This nutrient-rich early milk is packed with antibodies and essential nutrients that help boost your baby's immune system in the first few days after birth. Leaking colostrum is a normal sign that your body is gearing up for breastfeeding. Wearing breast pads can help manage any leakage and keep you comfortable. If you don't experience leaking, don't worry; it'll come post-birth.

Week 19 Fetus (22)

Common Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 35 of Pregnancy

Swollen Ankles and Feet

Increased fluid retention, coupled with the pressure of the growing uterus on blood vessels, can lead to swelling in the ankles and feet. Elevating your feet, wearing supportive shoes, and staying hydrated can help alleviate this discomfort.

Heartburn and Indigestion

The expanding uterus presses on the stomach, which can cause stomach acids to move up into the oesophagus, leading to heartburn and indigestion. Eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding spicy and fatty foods, and not lying down immediately after eating can help manage these symptoms.

Shortness of Breath

As the uterus grows, it puts pressure on the diaphragm, making it more challenging to take deep breaths. Our biggest piece of advice is to take it easy. Walk slowly, rest when you need to and accept that for a short while, you're going to feel a bit squished and out of breath.

Sore Ribs

Your baby's position can cause discomfort in the ribs, especially if they are kicking or pushing against them. Stretching, gentle massages, and finding a comfortable sitting or lying position can help ease rib pain.

Back Pain

The extra weight and altered posture during pregnancy often result in backaches. Prenatal yoga, gentle stretching, using a supportive pillow, and wearing a maternity support belt can help manage back pain.

Frequent Urination

The growing uterus puts increased pressure on the bladder, leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom.

Sleep Disturbances

Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging, leading to disturbed sleep. Using pillows to support your body, especially between your knees and under your belly, can help you find a more comfortable position and improve sleep quality.

Emotional Symptoms

Anxiety about Giving Birth

It's common to feel anxious or nervous about the upcoming birth and parenthood. Seeking support from your midwife, attending childbirth classes, and discussing your concerns with friends and family can provide reassurance. Techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation exercises, and prenatal counselling can also help manage anxiety.

Mood Swings

Hormonal changes can continue to cause emotional ups and downs. Maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, getting enough sleep, and practising stress-relief techniques can help stabilise your mood. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you need it.

Tips for Managing Symptoms

Stay Active

Gentle exercise like walking or prenatal yoga can help alleviate some physical discomforts, improve mood, and maintain overall health. Exercise can also prepare your body for labour by increasing stamina and strength.

Rest and Relaxation

Ensure you're getting enough rest. Use a pregnancy pillow for support to find a comfortable sleeping position. Resting whenever possible can help you conserve energy and reduce stress.

Hydration and Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help manage heartburn, swelling, and other pregnancy-related symptoms. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals.

Prenatal Massage

This can help with back pain and overall relaxation. Professional prenatal massages are tailored to the unique needs of pregnant women, focusing on relieving muscle tension and improving circulation.

Preparing for Labour

Attending Antenatal Appointments

Regular antenatal appointments are crucial for monitoring the health and development of both you and your baby. During these visits, your midwife will check your blood pressure, measure your abdomen, listen to the baby's heartbeat, and perform any necessary tests for pre-eclampsia. These appointments are also an opportunity to discuss any concerns or symptoms you are experiencing, ensuring you receive the best care possible.

Write Your Birth Plan

Finalising your birth plan can provide a sense of control and preparedness for the birthing process. Discuss your preferences with your healthcare provider, including your choice of birth partner, desired birth location (hospital, birthing center)

Week 35 can feel like a big moment. You're so close to meeting your baby and this is the time that you may start to really notice the very early signs of labour. A huge congratulations to you and your growing family - it's not long until you'll be meeting your little one!

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