ou are getting close to the last month of your pregnancy now. The countdown to having your baby has almost begun and somehow getting to 40 weeks doesn’t seem too far away. If you have still been working, you will be winding down now as maternity leave entitlements often start within the last 4-6 weeks of gestation. There are good reasons for this. Although pregnancy is a normal state, it can become difficult to maintain usual employment activities in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Your last days of work may seem to go by so slowly that you think they will never end. Focusing on anything other than the baby is getting harder and you’ll find yourself drifting off into la la land at the most inconvenient times. This is nature’s way of preparing you for one of the most significant events you’ll ever experience. So learn to look interested in that meeting even if you are mentally counting the jumpsuits and singlets in your baby’s wardrobe!
Yes, it’s a baby!
The last few weeks of your pregnancy are a time to reflect and enjoy the important work your body is doing in supporting your baby. Although you’re bound to be feeling uncomfortable by 35 weeks pregnant, there are some benefits too. Generally, people are more courteous and willing to offer help if they see you need it. There is a genuine interest and curiosity about you and the baby and you are likely to be asked when it is due, if you know what sex it is, if it is your first. Other people’s excitement can be contagious and often serves as a reminder that there really is something big about to happen. The other benefit is that you don’t need to offer too many excuses if you just want to have a little rest and opt out of a social function. This is especially true in summer when the sheer discomfort of being heavily pregnant can make it particularly challenging.
Your physical changes this week
- If your baby has been lying in the breech position until now, hopefully this week it will turn to be head down. This may give you some relief if that hard and bony head has been sitting up under your ribs. Head first, or cephalic presentation is the best possible position for your baby to be delivered.
- Colostrum may be leaking from your nipples this week. You may notice it has dried and crusted on your nipples when you take your bra off. Your breasts are even heavier and streaked with blue veins. Make sure you have been fitted correctly for comfortable maternity bras. These will alleviate the pressure of your heavy breasts on your chest and shoulders.
- The amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is at a peak in week 35 and will start to diminish from now on. This fluid is known as "the waters" or liquor (pronounced likewar) and it has a distinctive odour which is very different to urine. It is easy for pregnant mothers to be confused if they are leaking urine or liquor at this stage of their pregnancy. If you are in any doubt that your membranes may have ruptured, check with your maternity care provider. They will be able to test the fluid and establish which it is.
- Your heart may feel as if it is missing beats or beating faster this week. Because of the displacement of your large blood vessels and the load on your heart, palpitations are very common. If you develop chest pain or problems breathing though, check with your doctor immediately.
Your emotional changes this week
- A gnawing sense of impatience may start creeping over you this week. You’ve had enough time being pregnant to really know what the experience is and you may feel as if you’ve waited long enough. Your baby has formed an image in your mind and you’re very keen to see how accurate it is. Will it have my nose? Will it look like my father in law? Will it be the sex I’d like it to be? These and a million other questions will flood your mind. Have patience. Your baby is still maturing and will come when it is ready.
- You may be a little weepy and prone to emotional meltdowns this week. Your aching legs and back just seem to sap your energy and you don’t feel like doing much at all. Give in to your body’s signals that it wants a break and go easy on yourself. Rest up for a couple of days if you can. You’re still not quite at the pointy end of your pregnancy, so nurture yourself until you feel better.
- It may be getting hard to remember that pregnancy is a healthy, normal state in a woman’s life. It can seem like an uncomfortable burden at times but in healthy, fertile women, pregnancy is a completely natural state. Normalise it and avoid seeing your pregnancy as being something unnatural or which needs to be medicalised.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Intense brain growth is occurring for your baby this week. The neurons and early connections in their brain are developing even more so that at birth, they will be perfectly wired to receive stimulation. Remember to eat those all important DHA and Omega 3 rich foods which will all help to support your baby’s brain growth. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are good sources.
- Your baby will still be gaining around 450 grams this week, laying down fat cells which will help to insulate it once it is born. Most babies lose weight in the first week or so after birth, as a result of using more energy. By two weeks after birth though, most have regained their birth weight or are on the way there.
- Your baby is around 50 centimetres long this week. The energy they have been putting into expanding their length will now be refocused on their weight gain. There won’t be much of an increase in their length other than a couple of centimetres in the last few weeks until they are born.
- Less big rolling type movements from your baby now. There simply isn’t the space for it to move around as easily as it was a couple of weeks ago. If you feel there is a change in your baby’s patterns of movements or it becomes unnaturally quiet, check with your maternity care provider. You are the best judge when it comes to knowing your baby’s activity so never feel as if you won’t be taken seriously.
Hints for the week
- If you are planning to breastfeed, attend a breastfeeding education class if you can. Reading about how to attach a baby correctly to the breast is very different to seeing it done. Most breastfeeding mothers have a few difficulties in the early stages of establishing feeding. The Australian Breastfeeding Association may hold classes within your community. Check your local white pages or www.breastfeeding.asn.au for more information.
- Invest in some plastic sheeting to place on your mattress. If your waters break while you’re in bed, you’ll be glad of the practicalities of having done this. Keep a towel in the car as well, just in case you will need it. If a mother’s waters break when the baby’s head is still high, there tends to be more of a gush of fluid than if the baby’s head is engaged in their pelvis.
- If you haven’t already drawn up a birth plan, think about doing one now. Give some thought to the kind of birth you want to have and who you want to be with you when you birth your baby. Remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to childbirth and your priority always needs to be the health and wellbeing of you and your baby.
- Look at your list of baby names and review what appeals to you. What you truly loved a couple of months ago may have been relegated to the "no way" column. If you and your partner cannot agree, just give it time. Don’t underestimate the power of your baby in causing you to think of a name which hasn’t even occurred to you yet. "She/He looks like a ..." is a common statement in labour wards across the world.
Week 36 next.
For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain yourself during exercise. If you feel pain, stop and seek medical attention if necessary.
If you are in week 35 of your pregnancy...
Your baby’s due date: April 26 - May 08, 2021
Baby’s star sign: Taurus
Chinese year: Ox
Famous people born around your baby's birth date:
- William Shakespeare
- Audrey Hepburn
- Sigmund Freud