Baby Growth at 35 Weeks Pregnant
You are in the home stretch now that you’ve reached week 35 of your pregnancy. In just around a month, you will have a new addition to your family. How exciting!
Your baby’s development is in the final stages before it’s arrival into the world. Your little one weighs about 5.5 lbs and is 18.2 inches long – nearly reaching birth length. They are the size of a spaghetti squash and active as ever, although the kicks and punches may now feel more like rolls and wiggles.
The baby’s skin is becoming smooth, and they are gaining that chubby appearance on their arms and legs. This is also true for their shoulder area as well.
The baby may be positioning themselves headfirst in the uterus – especially if this is your first pregnancy. This usually happens between week 32 and 36. The baby rotates this way in preparation for labor and delivery. Some possible positions the baby can be in include:
- Headfirst position known as vertex position and the ideal position for delivery.
- Feet First position known as breech position.
- Note: If your baby is breech, your doctor may attempt to turn your baby manually into the proper position a few weeks before your due date.
- Lying sideways across your abdomen, known as transverse position.
The baby's brain continues to develop in week 35 and the lungs are nearing their full development at this stage. They can reflex, blink, close their eyes, turn their head, grasp with their little hand, and respond to sounds, light, and touch – basically practicing for life in the outside world. Soon, this development you’ve been reading about will be a reality.
You and Your Body at Pregnancy 35 Weeks
Mama is most likely very fatigued at this point. Your cervix may begin to dilate at which time you could feel sharp pain in your vagina. This is not necessarily an indicator of labor but rather, your body getting ready. You also may feel painless Braxton Hicks contractions which are not an indication it’s time to head to the hospital quite yet either. You can think of these as practice contractions as they will not likely settle in a regular rhythm. If they don’t settle, the pain intensifies, or they become closer together, consult your physician.
You may notice swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. If it becomes sudden or severe ask your physician as it may be a possible sign of preeclampsia, a complication characterized by high blood pressure.
Preeclampsia is the most common pregnancy complication affecting 1 in 25 pregnancies and is more likely with first pregnancies or in those who are genetically predisposed. Preeclampsia does not go away until the baby is delivered so sometimes the baby will be induced early for this reason. Certain medications are used to lower blood pressure to stop any further or more severe issues from occurring like stroke or impaired liver function.
Hemorrhoids, tender breasts, constipation, heartburn, and indigestion may occur as well. These are less severe but can certainly be annoying in this final stage of pregnancy. Since the baby may now be face down and kicking, your ribs may be a bit sore as well.
By now, you should have gained anywhere from 24 to 29 pounds. There are about 6 inches from your belly button to the top of your uterus. The baby is now maybe dropping deeper in your pelvis, also known as lightening. This can relieve pressure off your diaphragm and ribs. While lightening can help you not feel as short of breath, it can also increase pressure on your bladder. This means much more frequent trips to the bathroom… again.
Typical Symptoms at 35 Weeks Pregnant
You still may have back or hip pain, restless leg syndrome, swelling of the feet and hands, and acid reflux. A support belt or a warm heating pad may help ease these symptoms. If you have back pain that doesn’t seem to go away and is deep or sharp, let your physician know.
Your breasts may be sore preparing to feed the baby. Make sure to wear supportive bras – but not too tight – if you plan on breastfeeding. Tighter garments can inhibit milk production. The first milk produced is called colostrum, a yellowish liquid that is rich in antibodies. This is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold” because it is a superfood for the baby to help avoid infection.
Here are some symptoms that you may want to consult your physician if they are persistent:
- Frequent urination especially with pain, burning, or blood
- Lightheadedness especially with rapid heartbeat
- Heartburn that doesn’t go away can be sign of a serious problem, such as preeclampsia mentioned earlier
Your pregnancy symptoms could also include:
- Painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions
- Pain or pulling on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb (round ligament pains)
- Darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy"
Pregnancy Week 35 Tips and Advice
This is a great time to start finalizing your birth plans. Pain management options include:
- Self-help: Use of relaxation techniques
- Laughing gas: Breathing in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas through a face mask or mouthpiece (Entonox) during contractions
- Epidural: Local anesthetic that numbs the nerves from your waist down. It is an injection into the space outside your spine.
Things you may want to consider are how fast each option works, the side effects, how effective each option is, and if any decisions affect the baby’s eating or breathing after birth, and if they could slow down or support your labor.
This little one is coming, and soon! It's time to make any last-minute decisions as far as the birth, doctors, type of birth, and place of birth. Pack a bag if you haven’t and try to take it easy momma, you are in for a ride with your new little one.