Week 35 (The Eighth Month) Of Your Pregnancy
Your baby is the size of a coconut.1
Developments in Baby:
Your baby is just over 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) this week and weighs about 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms). Baby is almost ready to enter the world! If Baby were born today, he or she would have a very good chance of survival. Babys lungs, if not already fully mature, are quite close to being complete; as Baby breaths, she produces surfactant, a protein that lowers surface tension in the lungs and is essential for her little lungs’ healthy development. Baby’s kidneys are also fully developed, and her tiny but efficient liver is able to process small portions of waste.2
Baby’s central nervous system, brain, and digestive tract continue to strengthen as well. Although she will not grow much longer before birth, Baby will continue to gain weight (about half a pound [a quarter kilogram] a week) as she accumulates fat beneath the skin, around muscles and surrounding the abdomen.1
She has gotten to a size that makes it more difficult for her to execute large movements.2 You should feel the same amount of activity, but you will sense decreased full body movement such as flips and twists.2
Although Baby’s basic physical characteristics are completely developed2, Baby still needs to finalize a few important skills such as sucking before entering the world. She has been practicing on anything that comes in contact with her mouth—thumbs, fingers, maybe even a toe or two. Anything vaguely nipple-like that comes close to her mouth triggers an instinctual sucking reflex that appears as early as 11 weeks.
Developments in Mother:
Your uterus is an incredible 1000 times larger than it was before you conceived1 stretching to just under your rib cage.2 It’s no wonder since your baby has transformed from a petite poppy seed to a colossal coconut. Even your blood volume is heavier, increasing by 50% in the first two trimesters! Your blood volume will remain the same from here on out and decrease back to normal levels after you give birth.
By now most babies have turned into the head-down position, squashing your organs and your bladder in particular.1 This would explain all of those bathroom breaks as of late. And if you’ve sprung a leak—a urine leak, that is—you are among many women who lose a bit of urine during a sneeze, cough, or bout of laughter.3 Strengthen your pelvic muscles by contracting the pelvic floor (known as kegal exercises) as if you are attempting to hold in pee, a feeling you may have experienced recently.2 Kegals will benefit you postpartum as well, helping your body recover from birth.
You are only going to feel heavier from this point on as your belly continues to expand. If cramped quarters in your midsection are making eating full meals uncomfortable, try to eat small, but frequent, meals instead. The added weight may also cause swollen feet and ankles, so keep those feet elevated when possible and do not sit or stand in one position for extended periods of time.
If you are a frequent car traveler, take breaks from the road and walk around for a several minutes every 2-3 hours. Perhaps the added weight, aches and pains, and cramped abdomen are weighing you down (literally), but remember, there are only two more weeks before you are officially considered full term. And, while many women do not go into labor until 40 weeks or beyond, you are almost there! Your body is getting ready by stepping up the Braxton Hicks contractions. This is perfectly normal; however, if you have more than five contractions in an hour that last for a minute or longer or your water breaks or begins leaking, go to the hospital immediately.
Group B Strep Test
You have probably begun to see your doctor more frequently now and around this stage of pregnancy is when your practitioner will perform a Group B Streptococci (GBS) test which consists of a culture with a cotton swab from both the vagina and the rectum. The bacteria is harmless in adults but can be extremely dangerous if it is passed on to the baby during birth, possibly causing pneumonia, meningitis, or even a blood infection. The bacteria comes and goes, and approximately 10-30% of women will test positive for it when they are swabbed. If you are positive, you will be given an IV bag of antibiotics during labor and delivery to decrease the chances of infection in your baby.2
Tips for Week 35:
It is a good idea to begin preparing for your maternity leave if you have not already done so. Be sure to research the rules of your workplace as well as the provisions that the state and country provide.
You should consider attending an antenatal class if you have not looked into it already.
Begin to familiarize yourself with the benefits and process of breastfeeding as well as formula feeding. If you decide to breastfeed, consult your doctor on ways to prepare your body. Some practitioners have suggested rubbing nipples with a course washcloth the toughen them up since they are often quite tender.
If you choose to breastfeed, you will want to look into finding a comfortable and practical nursing bra. Keep in mind that your breasts will likely become even larger when the milk begins to come in.
Look into disposable and reuseable diapers and stock up on the ones that seem to fit your lifestyle best.
It may be a great time to treat yourself to a pedicure. It will help relax you, and it may be the last thing that you are able to do for yourself for some time.
Week 35 Overview:
Uterus is 1000 times bigger than before you conceived
Baby may be in the head-down position crushing your bladder and causing frequent urination.
Bladder leakage may occur from time to time
Eat smaller, frequent meals to avoid discomfort in your midsection
Change positions frequently when standing or sitting to combat swelling and discomfort
Braxton Hicks contractions will strengthen
You will be tested for Group B Strep
Size: 18 in. (45.7 cm.), 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg.)
Lungs, central nervous system, brain, and digestive tract are almost complete
Kidney and liver are completely developed
Gaining weight at half a pound (a quarter kilo) per week and accumulating fat
Decreased large movements but maintains consistent activity
1. Roney C. The Baby Bump: 100s of Secrets to Surviving Those 9 Long Months. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books; 2010
2. Murray LJ, ed. Pregnancy: From Preconception to Birth. New York, NY: DK Publishing; 2010
3. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.; 2008