Welcome to the 35th week of your pregnancy! You are in your eighth month of pregnancy and you can keep reminding yourself whenever you feel low that only five weeks are left till you give birth to your baby.

It must be exciting as well as nerve-racking that the delivery date is so close! By the 35th week, most women are ready with all their essential items and information regarding their recommended mode of delivery and the hospital set-up where that delivery will take place. If you have not done this yet, try to finalise all this as soon as you can.

Baby proofing your current home is absolutely necessary and all guidelines must strictly be followed to ensure you provide the best and safest possible home for your newborn.

The 35th week is an important one, as many unwanted situations could arise this week. Hence, all pregnant females must pay attention to and follow all the tips that their doctor has recommended till this point. This pregnancy and your baby should be your top priority this week with your job and household chores taking the second place. Partners should ensure that their pregnant wives are receiving adequate nourishment and hydration that their dietician (pregnancy diet) has advised.

For the rest, read on to know about the symptoms of pregnancy in the 35th week, your baby's size and development this week, potential complications to look out for and avoid and things to do this week.

  1. Baby development in the 35th week of pregnancy
  2. Your body in the 35th week of pregnancy
  3. Pregnancy symptoms in week 35
  4. Complications in the 35th week of pregnancy
  5. Tips for the 35th week of pregnancy

The baby’s body between the 34th to the 37th week undergoes a lot of refinement and the baby also gains a significant amount of weight during this period of time.

The average size of a baby at 35 weeks of gestation should be around 2.5-2.75 kilograms at the start of the 35th week. The length of your baby would be around 47-48 cms (about the size of a muskmelon/honeydew melon).

The following changes may take place in your baby’s body and environment this week:

  • Reduction of amniotic fluid: Amniotic fluid is the fluid that is present in the amniotic sac around the baby that plays the important functions of providing a cushion and adequate nourishment for the baby. Normally, the amniotic fluid is the highest during the 35th-36th week of pregnancy (around 1 quart). This amount reduces over the next few weeks till the baby is delivered. 
  • Completion of your baby's physical development: By the 35th week, the physical development of your baby is almost complete. Your baby’s kidneys are ready and his or her liver now possesses the ability to metabolise various waste products. The only process that will continue in terms of physical development is the process of gaining weight. 
  • Your baby’s vernix—that is, the waxy white layer that protects your baby’s skin— will continue to thicken.
  • Complete disappearance of lanugo (Insulating hair on the skin of the baby)  
  • Your baby will gain around 200-300 grams this week. 
  • Your baby might change his or her regular movements from kicks to rolls and wiggles due to your extremely crowded uterus. 
  • Rapid development of your baby’s brain and central nervous system
  • If this is your first pregnancy, your baby might have already taken the ideal birth position; that is, head-down (vertex) in your pelvic region. The baby’s head is the largest part of his or her body and this position is the easiest and most common one for birth to take place.
    Your baby’s position is basically how the baby is placed inside your uterus. Normally the baby changes his or her position throughout your pregnancy. By the 35th-36th week, the baby moves to the head-down position (vertex) for delivery to take place. The other positions include the feet first position (breech) and sideways (transverse).
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There are numerous changes taking place in your body throughout your pregnancy and the 35th week is no exception. The following changes might occur during this week: 

  • Dilation: Your cervix (part of the female genital system that connects the uterus to the vagina) may slightly open up or dilate to prepare the body for delivery. As this process occurs, you may feel some pain in your vagina that can be sharp in nature. This should not worry you as long as it is not excessively painful. This does not mean that your labour has started. Some females begin to have cervical dilatation at this stage, whereas others can experience this on the day of labour itself. 
  • Lightening: Your body starts preparing for birth in the 35th week if it has not started already. The process of lightening involves the descent of your baby into the pelvis. Normally, this can occur anytime after the 34th week of pregnancy. When this happens, you might observe that your tummy has shifted further down and forwards. This process might resolve some symptoms such as pregnancy heartburn.
  • Engagement: Your baby is said to be engaged when he/she has descended into your pelvis and is in position for birth to take place. 
  • Increased urination or leaking of urine: You may experience an increase in the pressure on your bladder. This pressure is exerted by the uterus, due to lightening. This is considered normal.
  • Relief from sciatic nerve pain: Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy reduces considerably whenever lightening happens
  • Leg or ankle swelling: There might be some late-pregnancy leg or ankle swelling.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: These contractions are defined as false labour pains that are low in intensity, don’t persist and are relieved on changing position and with time. A pregnant female should be made aware of these contractions and should know how to differentiate between true and false labour pains.
  • Balancing issues: Due to a drastic rise in your total body mass, it becomes very difficult to balance your body. Therefore, your doctor might advise you to wear shoes with flat soles, install holding bars in your washroom and climb stairs by holding on to support. 
  • Headaches: Most pregnant females are not adequately hydrated due to a considerable increase in fluid demand of the body. This dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches during pregnancy. Hence, every pregnant female should make sure that she consumes around 3-3.5 litres of water each day to prevent these headaches from occurring.
  • Mood swings: You must have experienced pregnancy mood swings at least once during your gestation. In the 35th week, you may experience worse mood swings that last longer. You must understand that this is completely normal. Take help from your partner and friends and family whenever you feel tired or overwhelmed. Don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor or a therapist, either.

The third trimester is when all pregnant women experience some undesirable symptoms and conditions. Your doctor may have informed you about these. If not, read on to know about these symptoms, some tips for quick resolution of these symptoms and when you need to report to the hospital. 

The following symptoms might be observed in the 35th week of pregnancy: 

  • Sciatic nerve pain: If lightening has happened for you yet and you still have pain in the lower back, hip and leg, use a hot compress on the area that hurts. Sometimes, your doctor might prescribe simple pain medications to provide symptomatic relief. Do not take any pain medication on your own, though.
  • Round ligament pain: Round ligament pain is basically the pain that may be localised in the lower abdomen or groin region. This pain may be on one side (unilateral) or may spread throughout the abdomen (diffuse). The kind of pain that most patients experience may range from stabbing pain to pricking pain sensation. This pain increases on performing activities that cause exertion such as exercising (pregnancy exercises). Your doctor must be informed in case this pain becomes unbearable or if it starts radiating to any other part of your body. 
  • Varicose veins: Varicose veins during pregnancy occur due to the compressive effect of the uterus along with inflammation in the inferior vena cava which is a major blood vessel responsible for transporting oxygen-poor blood from the peripheral regions of your body back to the heart. This disease involves the formation of numerous blue clusters of veins that are tender (sore) and hard. They usually occur in the lower limbs, rectal area and the vulva.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by pregnant females due to an increase in demand for nourishment. This symptom may affect your activities of daily living which can make you feel low and unhappy. You don’t need to worry about this. Just tell yourself that you will gain your pre pregnancy stamina back very soon.  
  • Sleep problems:  You might be experiencing some difficulty in sleeping. This might be happening because you may be uncomfortable due to sciatic nerve pain, digestive issues and frequent urination. This sleep difficulty can also be explained by hormonal imbalances that may occur due to pregnancy. If during your sleep, you experience vivid dreams you should not worry. You must make sure that you communicate effectively with your partner, friends or other family members to receive emotional and psychological support.  You should try to sleep for around 10-12 hours every day during pregnancy and this target can be easily met by supplementing your daily night sleep with an afternoon nap of about 2-3 hours. 
  • Digestive issues: You might experience some digestive problems this week. These may include heartburn, flatulence and you may feel bloated. If these symptoms make you feel uncomfortable, you must inform your doctor so that he/she can prescribe certain medications like antacids or proton pump inhibitors to help you overcome these issues.

The following complications may be seen during the 35th week of pregnancy : 

  • Stillbirth: A stillbirth is defined as fetal death that takes place after the 20th week of pregnancy is complete whereas, a miscarriage is termed as fetal death that occurs before the 20th week of gestation. When this death occurs between the 28th-36th week of pregnancy, it is termed as a late stillbirth. Symptoms of a stillbirth include bleeding per vaginum, abdominal pain and excessive contractions. You must inform your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms as if diagnosed early, fetal death can be prevented. 
  • Hypertensive diseases: Some pregnant females may present with an increase in blood pressure in the third trimester of pregnancy. Gestational hypertension is a term used to describe an increase in blood pressure after 20 weeks of gestation. This may lead to further complications such as preeclampsia and eclampsia (presence of seizures in pre-eclampsia patients) and placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine lining).  
  • Subchorionic haemorrhage: Partial separation of the placenta from the original attachment site inside the uterus presents with severe bleeding per vaginum.
  • Infections: Pregnant females are prone to developing serious infections due to a reduction in overall immunity. They may be affected by numerous bacterial infections; for example, bacterial vaginosis (caused by Gardnerella vaginalis) and urinary tract infections (most common bacteria causing UTIs is E.Coli). On exposure, pregnant females are also at risk of developing hepatitis B, hepatitis C and genital herpes. Their doctor must diagnose and treat these infections quickly and effectively as they can complicate the labour process and may also affect the newborn baby. (Also read: Natural ways to reduce body temperature during pregnancy)
  • Placenta previa: A low lying placenta that may completely or slightly cover the cervix is termed as placenta previa. Usually, a placenta previa resolves spontaneously due to upward migration of the placenta till about 20 weeks. But, this may not always be the case and pregnant females can present with painless bleeding per vaginum. Most patients of placenta previa require a cesarean section as a normal delivery can cause immense bleeding.
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Now that you have reached the 35th week of your pregnancy, you must make sure you tick all the items off on the following checklist : 

  • All pregnant females must be well aware of the three stages of normal labour so that they are prepared mentally and are confident to undergo labour. 
  • In case you have an older child, you should inform him or her about the arrival of a newborn in the house. Parents should ensure that they have arranged for someone who will be responsible to look after this child. Also, try your best to not neglect him or her during this entire process of pregnancy and even after birth. 
  • Arrange a safe sleeping space for your baby which is in accordance with the latest guidelines to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (one of the most common causes of infant death). 
  • Arrange essential supplies such as pantry staples, toiletries, food, clothing and diapers for the newborn. 
  • Pack your delivery kit which should consist of a change of clothes and all your medical records of your current pregnancy.
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