What you can expect during your thirty-fifth week of pregnancy…
35 weeks pregnant already? Can you believe it? By now your baby is almost fully developed and focusing on gaining that healthy birth weight. You may start to experience early labor signs so it is important to pay attention to your body.
Your baby at 35 weeks pregnant
At 35 weeks pregnant your baby is about 20 inches long and weighs about 5 ½ pounds. Your baby looks pretty much like a newborn now, and has about 15% fat on their body now. This will double to 30% by the time they are born. He/she is now working on perfecting their suckling movements so he/she will be ready for their first attempt at nursing. Fine vellus hair is starting to grow and replace the lanugo which is beginning to disappear.
You may notice your baby’s feet, elbows or head protruding from your stomach as he/she is starting to form daily routine of stretching and movement. The kidneys are now fully developed and the liver is starting to produce waste. The lungs are also fully developed as well as your baby’s eyes, which are now starting to produce a light that shines into your belly. You can talk to your baby now as the ears are fully developed. Although all of your baby’s organs are pretty much fully formed by this time, both the nervous and immune systems are still developing.
By now, your baby should be positioned with their when head facing downward toward your cervix and vagina as he/she prepares for the birth process. If your baby is in the breech position, your doctor may discuss a possible c-section. If your baby is born at thirty-five weeks, the chances for survival are more than nine-nine percent.
Your body at 35 weeks pregnant
At 35 weeks pregnant you will be noticing that you feel the need to make frequent trips to the bathroom again. Rather than being due to pregnancy hormones at this point, this is now due to the fact that your baby is putting pressure on your bladder. You might also find that you are slightly incontinent now as you may urinate a little when you sneeze, cough or even laugh. This is normal at this stage of pregnancy. You might also be starting to do the “pregnancy waddle” as your baby is pressing down on the nerves in your legs and pelvis
You may find that your appetite is decreasing around this time as the baby is now pressing on your stomach thus making you feel full quicker. It is important that you still consume enough calories for both you and your baby so you might want to eat smaller meals and snacks more frequently throughout the day. You might also experience sudden bursts of energy for the next few weeks, but do not overdo it. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest.
At 35 weeks pregnant you will need to see your OB/GYN every week. You will need to have both a vaginal and rectal culture to look for a bacteria known as GBS (Group B Streptococci). While GBS is harmless to you, it may cause issues for your baby such as pneumonia, blood infection or meningitis. The risk for GBS is about 10-30% in pregnant women so it is crucial to be tested. If you test positive for GBS, antibiotics will be administered during your labor which will reduce the chance of passing it to your newborn.
At this point you might want to make sure your birth plan is in place. Also pack your hospital bag including clothes for your and baby. You and your partner might want to practice hospital runs and possibly take a tour of the facility at which you plan to give birth. You should begin to consider whether or not you want to breastfeed. Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest than formula, does not need to be prepared and is always available. It already contains all the calories, nutrients and antibodies that your newborn needs to grow and be healthy. It also helps your baby fight infection. An added perk for mom is that you burn calories when you breastfeed which speeds up pregnancy weight loss and it also helps your uterus shrink back to it’s normal size at a quicker rate.
Maintain a healthy diet and light exercise
Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, you can still continue light exercise such as walking or swimming during this time. It is also important to continue to maintain a consistent and healthy diet. You might still be experiencing Braxton Hick contractions at this point so it is important to pay attention to your body and be able to distinguish the difference between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are not as intense and will fade, while genuine contractions increase in both intensity and frequency.
However, if you start to experience any of the following symptoms you need to contact your doctor or midwife immediately as you may in fact be in actual labor. Again, it is not uncommon for women to go into labor at this point and babies born at 35 weeks have over a 99% chance of survival. Pay attention to your body and seek medical assistance if you experience any of these symptoms:
- contractions that occur every ten or more minutes
- more than 5 contractions in an hour’s time
- consistent pain or tightening in your lower abdomen or back
- increasing pressure in your vagina or pelvis
- vaginal bleeding
- water breakage or severe vaginal leakage
- nausea, diarrhea or vomiting