You are 35 weeks pregnant or in your 36th week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The baby's bones are hardened but are pliable so that baby can work her way through your narrow birth canal.
- Your baby's sucking capabilities are ready for your breasts, so he can consume your breastmilk and his digestive system is also in shape to process it and absorb the essential nutrients he needs.
- Body fat keeps increasing so that you will have a nice, bonny baby.
- Your baby is about 45 centimetres long (Crown to heel length) and weighs about 2.5 kilograms.
What’s happening to mom?
- The baby may have moved downwards, lower in your pelvis. This is called “lightening”. It happens later in women who have had babies earlier. This will relieve discomforts like heartburn and breathlessness but your uterus will start pressing more on your urinary bladder, making you go to the bathroom even more often.
- Your doctor will start examining you for signs of impending labour. The doctor will check your cervix dilation (opening of cervix for baby’s exit via the birth canal) and the cervix effacement (How soft or thin the cervix is to allow the baby’s exit via the birth canal).
- The doctor will also examine the position of the baby. The baby should be in the heads-down position in your pelvis by now. If the baby is not in this position, the doctor might wait a little and then take actions to change position of the baby manually. Read about breech babies.
- Braxton Hicks contractions will increase. These are a kind of practice drill to prepare your body for childbirth. You will experience tightening of your uterus or mild contractions. These usually precede “real labour”. Have water, empty your bladder or have a warm bath to relieve these contractions. But if the contractions get painful, regular and start accelerating, you might be in early labour. If so, call your doctor. Read Parentree article on “How do you know you are in labour?”.
- Many women at this time get confused between “real” and “false” labour and there might be many false alarms of rushing to the hospital only to find that this was false labour. But do not worry. This happens to many women.
- Your doctor might conduct a Group B Strep Screen (GBS) for you. The GBS screen involves a pap smear and a urine test to screen for the GBS bacterium in your vagina. Exposure to GBS during childbirth can cause serious infection in the baby. This is a routine test and the doctors like to play it safe and around 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, screen all women for GBS. If you test positive, then you will be given intravenous antibiotics to kill the bacteria (to prevent infecting the baby) during labour. If for some reason, you do not get this screen completed before childbirth, do not worry. The doctor will give you this antibiotic during childbirth anyway to be safe. But you might not want to take unnecessary antibiotics, so get the GBS screen.
- Stay calm and relaxed in the next few weeks. Stress and anxiety can make your muscles tense and hinder the production of the hormone oxytocin - hindering your labour progressing naturally.
Checklist for mom
- Continue taking any nutritional supplements especially iron, your doctor might have prescribed for you. Even though the baby does not need a lot of iron at this point (she is producing her own red blood cells), your body will lose blood during delivery and you will need the extra iron.
- Discuss episiotomies with your gynaecologist
- Practice the breathing exercises or other exercises you might have learnt in your childbirth class.
- Get your pre-baby personal grooming completed. Go for your hair-cut, waxing, pedicure etc. You might not be able to go for these once the baby comes.
- Make sure that you get the Group B Strep Screen completed this week or next (before you go into labour).
- Get into a calm and relaxed mental state to prepare for childbirth. Stress and anxiety can make your muscles tense and hinder the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps to make labour progress naturally. Even though you have a few weeks to deliver, getting relaxed is not something that will happen at the last moment. You need to start now. Some relaxation tips:
- Meditate. Many women say that meditation also helps them to tune in better with their changing bodies and their baby. There are many different ways to meditate. You need to find the one that works for you. Basically, going to a quiet spot, closing your eyes, first letting all thoughts just flow and then focusing on one thing (a repetitive chant, picturing something pleasant etc.) are all some basics that are a good start.
- Continue your walks.
- Have a warm bath.
- Get a massage.
- Be organised, get things done but after a point just go with the flow.
If you have not already
Ideas for dad
- Help mom practice the breathing and other exercises she might have learnt in the childbirth class.
- Make sure that have your camera (batteries etc.) ready for the big day.
- You might also want to have a small bag ready in case you have to rush to the hospital with mom.
- Remember to keep the mobile numbers of your friends and family so that you can “SMS” them when the baby is born.
- Tune in to your baby and bond with him.
- Observe her movements. Talk or sing to the baby. All these will help you bond with your baby even before she is born. But do not worry if you do not get the “bonding” feelings yet. Many women start bonding with the baby once the baby is born or after a few weeks / or months after they start caring for the baby.
- If you need extra help with the baby, you might need to hire a maid or an “ayah” or some part-time domestic help.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy