You’re now 35 weeks pregnant with only a few more weeks to go and you may very well be beginning to feel those first signs that labor is near. We at NearlyBorn have gathered together information you might find useful for this week and the final weeks of your pregnancy.
Your baby now weighs over 5 pounds and is over 18 inches long, and is almost ready to be in the outside world. Their kidneys and liver are now fully grown and functioning in uteri as they would function post-birth, like so many of their other organs, in utero, they are practicing functioning with the amniotic fluid which is currently keeping them safe.
In addition to their internal organs, your baby’s hearing is now fully developed and functioning as it will post-birth, your baby is now capable of differentiating between your’s and your partner’s voice. You may also find that you can feel movements when your baby hears a shrill or loud noise, this is due to the startle reflex that they developed very early in your pregnancy.
Your baby will continue to grow at the same rate it has for the last 5 weeks, however by this week in your pregnancy your baby will not really grow much more in length. If you have any ultrasound appointments remaining, the baby you can see on the monitor is not too much smaller than the baby you will soon give birth to.
Your late-pregnancy symptoms will be intensifying by this week and we think you will be feeling at least some of the below:
- Your Braxton Hicks contractions which you may have been feeling for several weeks by now will be getting stronger, you will feel these as a cramping or tightening across your bump. As with earlier in your pregnancy, this is a totally natural way of your body readying for the real thing. However, if you find that the pain is constant or the cramps have moved lower and feel like menstrual cramps please seek medical advice immediately.
- The tiredness that has been building over the last few weeks will be reaching a peak soon enough because by this point in your pregnancy you are carrying at least an extra 25 pounds than you were pre-pregnancy. This would cause anyone to become tired. In addition to this, the discomfort you feel when lying down is not an easy thing to ignore to get a full night’s sleep. We recommend you make good use of that pregnancy pillow you bought earlier in your pregnancy, take naps as often as you need to, and go to bed earlier to give yourself the best chance at more sleep.
- Becoming out of breath often is common if your bump hasn’t ‘dropped’ yet. Your uterus has been expanding to allow your baby room to grow over the last 35 weeks, and the majority of this growth has been upwards. The result of this is your other internal organs have moved, by necessity, or simply just have less space to adequately function in, your lungs cannot move position so instead they become crowded. The key to overcoming this symptom is to take it easy, don’t rush upstairs or around your home or office, walk slowly and stop often if need be to allow your lungs as much room as possible, shallow breaths could cause fainting. If you are still able to exercise, ensure that you are doing only gentle exercise to protect your oxygen intake and don’t overdo it.
- In addition to the reduced space for your lungs to move within, your bladder will also now be compressed, meaning you will be making more frequent bathroom trips at all times of the day and night. We recommend limiting fluid intake where you can just before bed and making a bathroom trip last thing before getting into bed, both of which may help you to get a better night’s rest.
- You may at this stage begin to have more intense pain in your hips and tops of your legs, as your body is readying for labor your muscles and ligaments and moving and softening to make this process easier. You may also find that this affects your steadiness on your feet, so take things slow and be prepared to stop and sit down if necessary. Long walks at this stage in your pregnancy, or rough terrain, are not recommended.
All labors are different, and especially for first-time mothers, you may not know exactly what to expect. A lot of advice is you’ll know when it happens, but we don’t think is enough for most of us as we want cold hard facts, so we’ve done our best to list the most common early warning signs below.
- If your heartburn reduces and you feel that you can breathe a little easier this could be a sign that your bump has ‘dropped’ – when this happens your bump moves lower as the baby descends into your pelvis in readiness for the move into the birth canal. The ‘dropping’ of your uterus makes more space for your other internal organs, which is why other symptoms lessen at this time.
- The Braxton Hicks contractions you may have been feeling the past several weeks will be continuing at point of your pregnancy and will most likely continue until you go into active labor. It is believed that Braxton Hicks contractions are your body’s way of preparing your body for active labor, you will have an idea of what you’re expecting when the time comes. Also, the Braxton Hicks will help your uterus to become ready for labor, it will help to tone your uterus, and to help you to dilate easier when active labor begins.
- One of the more gross aspects of active labor is the loss of the mucus plug which has previously been sealing the opening of your uterus while your baby grows. The loss of this may look live a heavier discharge and may have a slightly bloody tinge due to the dilation of your cervix beginning, which can cause blood vessels to burst. You should take into account that some women do not notice either or both of these things happening.
The beginning of active labor may not be easy to discern from early labor, early labor you will be able to remain at home and carry on with your day-to-day routine. However, once active labor begins you need to speak to your medical practitioner to see whether or not you need to go straight to deliver your baby – depending on how far along your labor is you may be asked to stay at home for a period time before traveling to the place you have chosen to deliver. Look out for any of the below symptoms and speak to your medical practitioner if you notice them.
- Although you may have been experiencing Braxton Hicks for a while now you will notice the difference if you begin labor contractions. The difference is that although Braxton Hicks will remain static in terms of intensity and frequency, labor contractions will intensify in frequency and intensity as they progress. As soon as you notice this type of contraction we recommend you begin timing and tracking them, if you followed our tips earlier in your pregnancy you may already have an app prepared for this.
- Another big indicator of being in active labor is your water breaking, you will have watched this happen often in movies – a great big gush of water as labor begins being the first sign that the character is going into labor. In reality, your waters can break at any time during labor, sometimes very close to delivery; your waters also do not always gush like on T.V. and can seem to be a trickle or stream, like urination so keep a watch for this also. If this is your first sign of active labor it is likely your contractions will begin within the next 12 to 48 hours.
- Another sign of active labor, though this means you will be delivering sooner rather than later, is an urge to push – like needing to go to the bathroom – or an extreme pressure in your pelvis. We recommend if you feel this you seek medical attention immediately if you aren’t already at the hospital or place you have decided to give birth.
Your pregnancy will be counted as full-term once you are 39 weeks pregnant – so only four weeks to go! These last 5 weeks are still very important as some organs continue to develop until birth, and your baby is continuing to gain weight on a weekly basis. The longer your baby remains in utero the better it is for their development, but you will not be allowed to go past the end of 41 weeks as at this time there are additional complications from the baby being over-term.
Now is the point in your pregnancy you should begin to actively prepare for the birth of your baby, we advise you to download a contraction timing and tracking app to help you when labor begins. As there are a lot of things to remember when labor begins, having an app like this downloaded and in a prominent place on your phone is a must. When you begin delivering, wherever that may be, you will be asked how far apart your contractions are and when they started; an app is a really straightforward and easy way to keep track of this.
Ensure that you have all of your nursery furniture assembled, obviously, there is no way you should be assembling this yourself, so make a day of it. Either with your partner or a group of friends if you would rather, make some snacks and get your nursery exactly as you want it to be. You will want these last few weeks to be as relaxing as possible so getting this last big task out of the way sooner rather than later is a must.