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35 Weeks Pregnant

Reaching the 35th week means you have almost completed the eighth month of your pregnancy and are about to enter the ninth and last month. Just a few more weeks to go before you finally get to meet your bundle of joy. Your baby’s chances of survival went up considerably once you reached the 34th week, ranging over 98% by this week [1].

35 weeks pregnant: baby development

Internal organ development

The fetal lungs are almost done developing, ready for breathing in air once your baby is out in the world [2]. The kidneys are fully mature as well, while the liver continues to grow and process fetal waste material [3].

35 Weeks Pregnant Picture

35 Weeks Pregnant Picture

Brain development

These final weeks of gestation are vital for the fetal brain development with the neurons forming brain connections that enable your baby to receive stimulation immediately after they are born [4].

External appearance

He looks almost like how he will look on the day of delivery, with fully developed facial features and extremities. The toenails and fingernails have already reached the toe and fingertips [3]. Newborn babies may have tiny scratches on their delicate skin, made when they touch their face within the uterus.

Growing fat

The fat deposit continues to grow beneath the skin, preparing to keep your baby warm after birth [2]. With the basic organ and system development almost complete, the baby still has a considerable amount of weight to gain, with the growing fat layer constituting a substantial part of it [5]. It is normal for newborns to lose some weight during the first week after birth, due to the extra energy usage for the vital functions. However, they regain the lost weight within the next 2-3 weeks [4].

Bones and skull

The bone development continues as the bones in different parts of his body are hardening gradually. However, the skull remains soft and cartilaginous to allow proper brain development and to make it easier for the head to pass through the birth canal [6].

How big is your baby?

Being just over 18 inches (around 46 cm) in length and weighing around 5.25 pounds (2.38 kg) [7], the baby is about the size of a honeydew melon by the 35th week [8]. From now on, your baby will be focusing on gaining weight rather than growing in size as he has almost attained the standard length for a newborn [4].

35th week of pregnancy: fetal movement and breech baby

He is still practicing sucking to perfect the movement as it will help him feed after birth [9]. You can also detect your baby’s sleeping patterns with set sleep and wake cycles; however it often does not coincide with night and day [10].

By the 35th week, there is little space for your baby to move around and perform those somersaults [4]. However, the number of kicks felt in a day should remain same [5]. In fact, most babies attain the head-down birth position during week 35 [11], moving further down the pelvis in preparation for delivery (lightening) [12]. Those still in a breech (feet-down) or transverse (lying sideways) position can usually be turned manually by your midwife by applying pressure on certain points on your belly. This process is known as an external version, having around 65% success rate [13].

35 weeks pregnant: weight gain, belly and body changes

The top of your uterus should be around 6 inches above your bellybutton at this stage, while your weight gain should range between 24 pounds and 29 pounds [12]. The growing uterus continues to put pressure on your lungs and ribcage while also shoving away other internal organs. It is also responsible for the increased urge to urinate and the urinary incontinence (leaking urine when laughing, sneezing or coughing) [6].

35 weeks pregnant tests and ultrasound

Ultrasound scans performed this week will show your baby yawning, sucking and moving his arms and legs, looking almost like how he will on the day of birth.

Ultrasound may also be necessary to guide your doctor as they try and rotate a breech baby into a proper birth position [14].

35 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Picture

35 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Picture

You will be going for a prenatal check up every week from now on (if you are not already) so your doctor can monitor you properly for any late pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia or any infectious condition. A rectal and vaginal culture will also be performed between the 35th and 37th weeks to check for Group B streptococci or GBS bacteria. The bacteria are not harmful to you, but passing it on to the baby during delivery might lead to complications such as a blood infection, meningitis or pneumonia.

The GBS screening test is vital at this stage as 10% to 30% women carry the bacteria in pregnancy without knowing. Those with positive GBS screening results are given IV antibiotics, after they go into labor, to reduce the chances of infection in the baby [5].

Pregnancy week 35 signs and symptoms

When to call the doctor

  • In case of reduced fetal movement detected during daily kick counts or any change in your baby’s regular activity pattern [4]
  • Getting frequent contractions along with throbbing back pain, feeling pressure in the pelvic area, period-like cramps, bleeding/spotting, increased vaginal discharge, pinkish or bloody mucus discharge (losing the mucus plug), leaking amniotic fluid, diarrhea, vomiting and/or nausea (might be early signs of labor) [20]
  • Constant headache, extreme tiredness and sudden changes in vision accompanied by upper abdominal pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and sudden swelling of the hands and face (might indicate high blood pressure) [21]
  • Severe itching, especially of the palms and feet with no visible rashes, that refuses to go away with any treatment (might indicate a rare liver disorder named obstetric cholestasis) [18]
  • Burning sensation during urination, lower back or abdominal pain, yellowish or greenish jelly-like or thick white discharge and pain after intercourse (might indicate an infectious condition like UTI [22], kidney or yeast infection [23])
  • Extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, dry mouth, extreme thirst and abnormally frequent urge to urinate (might indicate gestational diabetes) [24]
  • Lower back pain on the left or right side (around a kidney) that tends to spread into the abdomen and groin, nausea, vomiting, dark or cloudy urine with a foul smell and pain while urinating (might indicate kidney stones) [25]
  • Unilateral swelling or swelling in one foot or ankle (might indicate a blood clotting disorder)

Tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

  • Drinking plenty of water despite the symptom of increased urination as keeping yourself hydrated helps to manage heartburn, constipation and even edema [3]
  • Including lots of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid) rich foods (e.g. salmon, tuna and fortified eggs) in your daily diet as it helps in the proper brain and vision development of the baby [26]
  • Avoiding drinking diuretic drinks such as tea and coffee as these may lead to more frequent urination [3]
  • Making your birth plan, considering different pain management methods to be used during labor and discussing with your partner how you want to give birth as there is only a couple of weeks left before you reach full term [27]
  • Getting your hospital bag ready, especially if you are expecting multiples as twin pregnancies usually last until the 35th week in average [28]
  • Keeping your feet elevated using a cushion or a pillow while sleeping at night as it helps to minimize the swelling
  • Going for prenatal yoga classes or following a regular, light exercise routine (swimming or going for a short walk) as exercising helps to reduce the common pregnancy aches while increasing your energy levels [9]
  • Doing a few pelvic tilts before going to bed as it reduces the pregnancy-related pain and discomfort, helping you sleep better [17]

Published on September 30th 2014 by .
Article was last reviewed on 30th September 2014.

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