Welcome to week 35 pregnancy! You are likely busy getting ready for your little one’s arrival, and it’s finally right around the corner. Let’s talk about your baby, your pregnancy symptoms, and discuss cramping you may experience late in pregnancy and when you should take it seriously.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Updated August, 24, 2021
Table of contents
Week 35 Pregnancy: Baby
Your baby is getting so big! At 33 weeks from conception, he or she now weighs over 5 1/4 pounds, and is about 13 1/4 inches from crown to rump or 18 1/4 inches in total length (1).
In other week 35 baby news:
- The lungs are getting close to maturity
- The circulatory system is complete
- The musculoskeletal system is complete (2)
You continue to grow right along with baby! You have probably gained between 24 to 29 pounds, and your uterus now reaches 6 inches above your belly button.
Variation in Baby’s Size
As we’ve talked about baby’s size through your pregnancy, we’ve used general numbers that approximate baby’s size at each stage. These are more accurate in the beginning, as babies all begin development on the same schedule.
Later in pregnancy, though, there is more variation. Your baby’s genetics are a factor — if all members of your family are tall, your baby may be longer than average length already. Weight also varies, and your baby may especially be heavier if you gained more weight than average or if you have untreated gestational diabetes. Baby’s size is almost never a problem for a natural delivery, but if your doctor has any concern, he or she may use ultrasound to get a general idea of baby’s weight. But please note, estimates of baby’s weight performed late in pregnancy are often inaccurate and can lead to unnecessary labor inductions or cesarean sections.
Read more: Natural Childbirth, Large Baby: Worried? Read This.
Week 35 Pregnancy: Symptoms
Leg and Foot Swelling
Most pregnant women experience swelling in their legs and feet during pregnancy. By week 35 of your pregnancy, it’s probably a symptom that you’re quite familiar with. You may feel like you don’t have ankles anymore or that your feet look like swollen sausages. Your skin may feel tight and uncomfortable.
To relieve the swelling, stay off of your feet as much as possible, and when you do sit or lie down, prop your legs up (2). This is the time to opt for comfortable shoes. Slip-ons may be easier than shoes you need to tie as it becomes harder for you to bend and reach your feet. You also want to make sure that your shoes have enough room to accommodate your feet by the end of the day when they may be swollen and larger than in the morning.
When is Swelling a Problem?
Sudden, severe swelling can be a symptom of preeclampsia, a serious problem. Call your doctor or midwife right away if you notice sudden swelling, swelling in your face, or swelling that’s accompanied by pain, a headache that won’t go away, or blurry vision.
You may notice numbness or tingling in your hands, fingers, or toes. It’s a strange feeling, but not worrisome. It’s a result of your body’s tissues swelling due to extra the extra fluids of pregnancy, and then pressing on your nerves (2). Some women even develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by the compression of a nerve within the carpal tunnel in the wrist. (We discuss carpal tunnel syndrome in our Week 30 Pregnancy article.) These feelings of numbness, tingling, and pain usually go away after your baby is born and your tissues return to normal.
More than a third of women snore during pregnancy (1). Snoring is caused by your upper airway relaxing and closing partway during sleep, making it harder to get air in and out. Pregnancy adds the extra factor of swollen nasal passages, which exacerbates the problem. You may find that it helps to sleep partly upright, like in a recliner, which makes gravity work for you instead of against you. If you have concerns about your snoring or feel like you’re struggling to breathe properly, talk to your healthcare provider.
Pelvic Pain or Pressure
You may be feeling an increase in pressure or even pain in your pelvis. A couple of things may be happening that could cause these sensations. First, as you get into the final stretch of pregnancy, the joints throughout your body loosen even more. This loosening will help your baby fit through the birth canal, so it’s beneficial to you. However, it also means that you may feel increased aches and pains throughout your body, especially in your pelvis and lower back. (The increasingly loose joints paired with the ever-growing bump may also make you feel like your walk has turned into a waddle.)
In the last month or so of pregnancy, baby may also settle lower in your pelvis, which is called lightening or the baby dropping. For some women, this doesn’t occur until labor, but for others, it happens weeks before baby is born. You may see a distinct difference in the shape of your baby bump. And you may feel a difference in your ability to take a deep breath or eat a meal without discomfort (thanks to baby moving lower and therefore not pushing up into your lungs and stomach.) Unfortunately, the downside is that around 20% of women have pelvic pain (4) as baby’s large, bony head sits lower the your pelvis, putting pressure on both bones and nerves. You may find it helpful to rest with your feet up, lie down when you have the chance, and wear a pregnancy support belt.
Week 35 Pregnancy: Cramping
This late in pregnancy, moms often scrutinize every cramp carefully, wondering if it may be the beginning of labor. Although cramping most often isn’t always related to labor contractions, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your body’s signals as you approach the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Preterm Labor Cramps
Preterm labor is one that begins before week 37 of pregnancy. At 35 weeks, baby may still be immature and underdeveloped, so it’s often best to halt labor contractions at this point in the pregnancy.
Preterm labor cramps can be difficult to distinguish. You might experience mild to moderate abdominal cramping, similar to menstrual cramps. This may or may not be accompanied by discomfort in your thighs (3). This feeling may come and go. It may eventually progress into distinct contractions, or it may stop altogether.
When to Call Your Doctor
When it comes to preterm labor, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Call your doctor or midwife if you’re experiencing any 2 of the following symptoms:
- At least 6 contractions in an hour
- Menstrual-like cramps that are continuous or come and go, and are accompanied by a feeling of pressure
- A dull lower back ache that won’t go away
- Intestinal cramping without any diarrhea
- A noticeable change in vaginal discharge (blood-tinged, lots of mucus, etc.)
Also, pick up the phone if cramping is severe, comes with a fever or dizziness, or is accompanied by bleeding.
Check back in soon to learn all about week 36 of your pregnancy!
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- Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th edition
- Simkin, P. (2010). Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, 4th edition. Meadowbrook Press
- Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001139. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub3.