At 35 weeks pregnant, the bulk of your baby's development is already complete, but your little one more than puts these final weeks before birth to good use. Meanwhile, you'll likely be doing your best to manage common discomforts and get some sleep before baby's arrival.
35 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 8 months and 3 weeks
Which Trimester? Third trimester
How Many Weeks to Go? 5 weeks
Your Baby's Development at 35 Weeks
At 35 weeks, a baby is over 12 1/2 inches (32 centimeters) from the top of their head to the bottom of their buttocks (known as thecrown-rump length), and baby's height is close to 18 inches (45.5 centimeters) from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length). This week, the baby weighs around 5 1/2 pounds (2,527 grams).
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Babies may look fully developed at 35 weeks, but there is still a lot of growth going on that you cannot see. The end of pregnancy is yet another time of rapid brain growth for your baby. In fact, the weight of baby’s brain grows by a third during the last 4 to 5 weeks before full term.
Your baby is also gaining weight steadily, putting on roughly 8 ounces (half a pound) each week. With every ounce, more fat develops beneath baby’s skin and their skin becomes less wrinkled.
Survival Outside the Womb
Considered "late preterm" or near term, babies born at 35 weeks are almost ready for birth. They may need a little assistance with some oxygen right after delivery, but they have over a 99% chance of survival and are at a much lower risk of lifelong disability due to prematurity.
Explore a few of your baby's week 35 milestones in this interactive experience.
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Your Common Symptoms This Week
Along with other third trimester symptomslikeBraxton Hicks contractions, fatigue, swelling, and frequent urination, you might also be experiencing some headaches and difficulties sleeping in these final weeks.
Headaches can occur at any point in your pregnancy, but they’re most common in the first and last trimesters. While early-pregnancy headaches often occur thanks to an uptick in blood volume and hormones, later-in-pregnancy headaches are more often due to worsening posture, sleep issues, and stress.
Between difficulties finding a comfortable position, night sweats, heartburn, having to get up to pee throughout the night, and anxiety/excitement about childbirth, it's no wonder you aren't sleeping well. Studies show that around 78% of people report sleep issues during pregnancy, and 98% say they wake up during the night.
Between discomforts like headaches and disturbed sleep in these final weeks, it can be difficult to get the rest you need leading up to baby's arrival, but there are things you can do for comfort.
Dealing With Headaches
If third-trimester headaches are plaguing you right now, the following are some things you can do to feel better:
- Use a warm or cold compress. Place a warm compress near your eyes and nose for a sinus headache, or wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it at the base of your neck to help relieve a tension headache.
- Schedule a prenatal massage.Pregnancy-friendly massage therapy can help relieve headache-causing tension in your neck and shoulders.
- Keep your blood sugar stable. Eating small but frequent meals throughout the day can help you keep your blood sugar levels stable and ward off hunger-related headaches.
- Practice good posture. Try to always tilt your pelvis forward to prevent your lower back from shifting further that way. At the same time, engage your abs and buttocks so those muscles can become a natural corset.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule. And, when on your side in bed, place a pillow between your knees. This supported position better distributes body weight, helping to relieve headache-causing tension and other discomforts.
- Avoid food triggers. Chocolate, yogurt, aged cheese, peanuts, yeasty bread, cured meats, and sour cream can all kickstart headaches.
- Rest. Try to rest in a dark, quiet place.
- Ask about acetaminophen. While pain relievers like aspirin and Advil (ibuprofen) are not recommended for most people during pregnancy, Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be OK. Always consult your healthcare provider prior to taking any medications, including over-the-counter options. And remember: All medication should be used sparingly.
- Know when to call the doctor. Notify your doctor if you have a bad headache that doesn't go away or gets worse, you have a new or different headache, you have a history of high blood pressure, or you have other symptoms such as swelling of the hands and face, difficulty breathing, or blurry vision.
Tips for Better Sleep
It can certainly be difficult to get a good night's sleep during the last few weeks of pregnancy. And sleep disturbances will continue through those first few weeks postpartum when you're caring for your newborn. You may not be able to get a full night of uninterrupted sleep for a while, but here are some tips to help you get as much sleep as you can:
- Drink plenty of fluids during the day to stay hydrated, but begin to limit your intake in the evening to reduce the number of nighttime trips to the bathroom.
- Avoid foods that can give you heartburn and eating too close to bedtime.
- Get a little safe exercise in during the day.
- If you nap, do it early in the day.
- Make your room a comfortable temperature; many experts recommend turning the temperature down for sleep.
- Layer bed covers so you can add and remove them easily.
- Use bed and body pillows to find a comfortable position on your side.
- Avoid electronics and television before bed, and consider reading instead.
- Try to maintain a consistent schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Try relaxation techniques or meditation in the evening to prepare for sleep or get back to sleep after waking.
- Talk to your doctor about safe medication if you need it.
Your Week 35 Checklist
- Make your bedroom comfortable and work on your sleep routine.
- Talk to your doctor about any new or worsening headaches.
- Practice those Kegel exercises.
- Continue daily perinealmassages.
- If you have one, take steps to get your dog ready for baby.
Advice for Partners
If you have a dog at home, you’ll need to prepare them for your new arrival. To help ease any anxiety your pet may feel—and create a safe environment for baby—try these suggestions:
- Call the vet. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations.
- Use baby products now. Give your dog the chance to become familiar with baby smells before baby arrives by using the baby’s lotion, cream, and shampoo yourself.
- Play baby sounds. As much as possible each day, play realistic baby coos and cries for 10- to 15-minute intervals, suggests the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); a quick mobile app search can help you find what you’re looking for. While on, offer your dog snuggles, pats, and treats. Once you turn off the sounds, ignore your pet for a bit. This exercise can help condition your dog to look forward to baby sounds, instead of being scared of them.
- Try a blanket. After a few hours, babies' swaddle blankets will hold onto their scent. Take a used blanket home for your pet to sniff prior to bringing your baby home from the hospital.
- Do a false entry. When returning home after baby’s birth, have someone else enter the house first. This way, your dog can have a minute or two of over-excitement before you and the rest of your newly expanded family enter.
Upcoming Doctor’s Visits
You'll likely see your provider for a prenatal visit next week at 36 weeks. After next week's appointment, you'll begin seeing your healthcare provider weekly until you deliver.
Between next week and week 38, you will have a screening test for a bacteria that is found in the vagina of approximately 1 in 4 pregnant women. It's called Group B strep (also called GBS or beta strep).
If there is any concern for your health or your baby's health, your doctor may also order additional tests such as:
- Contraction stress test
- Fetal non-stress test (NST)
- Biophysical profile
- Modified biophysical profile
- Doppler of umbilical artery
As you get closer to term, much of the discussion will center around labor and delivery.
Chances of Childbirth This Week
Delivering before 37 weeks is called preterm birth. Approximately 12% of births occur prematurely. In the United States, a large study of over 34 million births between 2007 and 2015 showed that about 6% of women deliver between 34 and 36 weeks.
Baby Measuring Big
Your provider monitors your baby's growth throughout pregnancy. At birth, most full-term newborns weight between 5 pounds 11 ounces (2,600 grams) and 8 pounds 6 ounces (3,800 grams). But, sometimes a baby measures larger than expected. A baby who weighs over 8 pounds 13 ounces (4000 grams) at birth is considered a large baby.
When Large Isn't Large
If your physician or midwife has told you that your baby is looking big, there’s no need to panic. Determining if a baby is, in fact, "large" while still in the womb is imprecise at best.
In fact, one-third of people who were part of a 2015 study published inMaternal and Child Health Journal were told that their baby might be quite large near the end of the third trimester. But only one in five of them actually birthed a baby over 8 pounds, 13 ounces—the usual threshold for labeling a baby “large.”
Concerns Over Size
While it is impossible to know how much your baby weighs while they are still in your womb, your doctor may attempt to estimate their size and weight through examination and ultrasound. Risk factors such as gestational diabetes, previous delivery of a large baby, or a family history of large babies, are also taken into consideration.
Although rare, having a larger-than-average baby can lead to some complications. You may have a longer and more difficult delivery, may need a C-section, and the baby may experience some birth injuries and require a longer stay in the hospital. So, having a better idea of your baby's size can help you and your provider prepare for birth.
Delivering a Big Baby
People give birth to big babies all the time. Your doctor will discuss your options for delivery based on the estimated size of the baby, the size and shape of your pelvis, your overall health, and your baby's condition. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
- You can still have a spontaneous vaginal delivery. Just because your healthcare provider suspects your baby may weigh more than 8 pounds and 13 ounces doesn't mean you have to induce labor or schedule a Cesarean section.
- You may, however, consider a C-section. If the estimated weight of the baby is over 11 pounds (5,000 grams) without diabetes, or 9 pounds 15 ounces (4,500 grams) with diabetes, a Cesarean section may be the safer option.
- Induction of labor is not necessary or recommended.
A Word From Verywell
After delivery, things will not surprisingly be all about baby. So with just a few weeks left until full term, be sure to take some time for yourself. Cut yourself some slack and rest when you can. Now is the time to prioritize your well-being and start getting comfortable with incomplete projects and asking for help.
Week 36 of Your Pregnancy