By time the 35th week of pregnancy comes, you may be thinking more about your due date—and how quickly it is approaching. What seemed so far way is now closer than ever before and what felt like years away is at your doorstep.
If you haven’t yet started a journal about your baby , pregnancy or thoughts you would like to share, this is a great time to start. Every thought and emotion is important and while you may think you will remember, it doesn’t always work that way. So record every special moment for later, and encourage your partner to do the same.
Your body is changing rapidly and you may feel like you are losing control of it—but hold on and do your best to remember that the end result will be you meeting your baby for the first time.
At thirty-five weeks, your baby will weigh about 5-1/2 to 6 pounds and measures in at 18 to 20 inches long. By this week, the baby’s organs are complete. The liver and the kidneys are starting to produce waste. The most quickly developing organ is still your baby’s brain though. Right now those tiny nerve connections are linking up to send signals to and from the brain. Your baby can now process all five senses, detect light, practice breathing, and make purposeful movements like shielding its eyes and sucking the thumb.
Because your baby is quickly running out of room in the uterus to move, so you will start to notice a slight decline in fetal movement, but only slightly. What may have felt like an obvious kick in the beginning may only feel like a nudge or push these days.
Now is a great time to talk to your baby. This will help start the bonding process before they are born, and help your baby respond to the sound of your voice.
If the baby is born at week thirty-five, they have a pretty solid chance of surviving well. The nervous system and circulatory systems are fully functional and the baby’s lungs are mostly developed, and your baby is steadily gaining weight in preparation for the big day.
Changes With Your Body
You should be near your ideal weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds by now. The uterus is now about 6 inches above your navel and is probably making you feel like you could roll easier than you walk. If you have been struggling with shortness of breath, the next week or so should bring relief as baby descends into the pelvis in preparation for birth. Known as lightening, some women feel or see an obvious drop in their bodies when the baby moves down. Others may never notice anything—but where you get a little, you will have to give. As you gain an easier breath, you will begin making even more frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate as baby puts some serious restrictions on the size of your bladder.
If all that bladder pressure causes you to leak a little when you laugh, cough or sneeze, start your pelvic floor exercises for added strength. Known as a Kegel, these exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the vagina, urethra and reproductive organs. To perform a Kegel, pretend you are stopping and starting your urine stream several times by contracting those muscles. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat several times each day.
What To Expect
Starting at week 36, you will make weekly visits to your obstetrician, so this is the end of the bi-weekly visits. Because the last several weeks can bring about dramatic changes in a short period of time, it is going to be very important that you keep each and every doctor’s appointment. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure, urine, baby’s position, and heartbeat with each visit.
Symptoms of labor may begin any time—so be on the watch for any early signs. Some women claim to lose a large plug of mucus from the vagina as labor approaches, yet other women never do. In reality, this plug of mucus that prevents bacteria from moving up through the cervix into the uterus is probably lost during labor for some women. Any bleeding, sudden gush of clear or green-tinged fluid, or contractions that are regular and increasing in intensity over time should be reported to your doctor or labor hall.
Pack that bag and make your plans. Have a list of phone numbers and contact information for friends, family and especially your partner or birth coach. Do your best to limit travel now until delivery to prevent the struggle of going into labor or having a complication away from your doctor and hospital.