Women's Healthcare Topics

35 Weeks Pregnant

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 35th week of pregnancy.

At 35 weeks pregnant, you are almost to the finish line. Only five weeks left until you reach your due date! But keep in mind that only about five percent of babies are actually born on their due date. Some arrive earlier than expected, others later. From this point in your pregnancy, you need to be prepared for labor and delivery at any second.

Are your hospital bags packed and ready to go? Have you finished decorating your baby's nursery? Are you stocked up on diapers, baby wipes, and other newborn nursery essentials? If you haven't, you should use these final weeks of your pregnancy to do so.

If you have been putting off many of these chores, you may get an irresistible urge to "nest" or prepare for your new baby. This "nesting instinct" is common in your third trimester.

Every woman experiences "nesting" differently than the next. You may have an uncontrollable need to clean and organize your house, or you may try to tackle projects you haven't had the energy to do - such as organizing your baby's closet, or re-organizing your entire house! Some women also go above and beyond with buying nursery accessories and products for their baby.

At 35 weeks pregnant, your baby's due date is only a month away. If you haven't already, you and your partner need to take practice runs to the hospital or the birthing center where you plan to deliver. Learn the best (and fastest) routes to the hospital. Find out where to park. (Remember that you will be leaving your car for at least 24 hours when you deliver).

You and your partner should also go on a hospital tour now (though it's a good idea to do this earlier in the third trimester!). Many hospitals offer tours of their labor and delivery areas. Taking a tour will help you understand your rooming options and give you an idea of where you will be staying during labor, delivery, and postpartum.

In most hospitals in the United States, you will most likely labor in a LDR (labor, delivery, and recovery) room. You will stay in this room throughout your labor and delivery. After your baby is delivered, you will be moved to a postpartum room, where you'll stay for the rest of your stay.

As you and your partner are preparing for your baby’s arrival, this is a wonderful time to start thinking about breastfeeding. While bottle feeding has become more popular in recent years as the method of feeding your newborn, breastfeeding is absolutely the preferred method of pediatricians and other doctors.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the perfect baby food. It’s easier for your baby to digest, compared to formula. It does not need to be prepared, and it is always available. Plus, it contains all the nutrients, calories, and fluids that your baby requires to be healthy. Breast milk also contains antibodies that protect your little one from many diseases and infections.

Breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhea, obesity, pneumonia, and research has indicated that it might even protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Another perk of breastfeeding is that it helps your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly. You will burn calories when you breastfeed, which might just help you lose your pregnancy weight! With all these perks, breastfeeding is definitely something you will want to consider, if you care about your baby.

Weight Gain

You are bigger than ever now! Your pregnancy weight gain at 35 weeks pregnant may be anywhere between 28 and 29 pounds. With all that weight that you are carrying around, it's no wonder that you probably feel moodier and more irritable than normal. You're also very physically uncomfortable, and may find that falling asleep is a challenge.

Pregnancy Health Section

Video: 35 Weeks
Video: Your Pregnancy Week 35

Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Between 35 weeks pregnant and 37 weeks, you will be screened for a Group B streptococcus (GBS) infection. Group B strep is a bacterium that lives in your digestive, urinary, and reproductive tract. It can also be found in your vagina and rectum, and it is different from Group A strep (the bacteria that causes "strep throat").

Group B strep is normally harmless to you, and you will often show no signs of sickness. However, it can cause dangerous, and even life-threatening, problems in your baby.

Your baby can become infected with Group B strep during a vaginal delivery if the birth canal is colonized with the bacteria. If your baby develops a GBS infection he or she can develop lung infections (such as pneumonia), blood infections, and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain or spinal cord).

Most babies with Group B strep infection will show signs of illness in the first 24 hours after delivery. Signs include feeding problems, a baby that's hard to wake up, difficulty breathing, stiffness or limpness, and seizures. If the doctors or nurses monitoring your baby are concerned that your baby may be infected with Group B strep, your baby will be treated with antibiotics.

Group B Strep in Pregnancy.

Between 10 and 30 percent of all pregnant women carry GBS in their bodies. Having a GBS infection puts you at risk for preterm labor and delivery, infection of your amniotic fluid ("bag of water") and infection of your uterus after delivery. However, most women have no complications.

Group B Strep Screening at 35 to 37 Weeks of Pregnancy
During pregnancy week 35 to 37, many healthcare providers will screen you for a Group B strep infection to protect your baby from infection. During this test, your vagina and rectum will be swabbed. The samples will be sent to the lab for testing, and you will get results within a day or two. If the results come back positive, you will receive antibiotics during labor.

Are you thinking about Banking Cord Blood?

A baby’s cord blood is what’s left in the placenta and umbilical cord after delivery. Cord blood is made up of blood-forming stem cells called hematopoietic, which can be used in treating certain diseases.

The stem cells that are found in cord blood can then make new blood cells when the body’s old ones need to be replaced. Cord blood stem cells can treat certain illnesses, like blood disorders as well as metabolism and immune system disorders. They can also help with the toll that cancer treatments take on a person’s immune system.

Stem cells aren’t just found in cord blood. Adults and children also have stem cells in bone marrow and blood. The use of cord blood to treat diseases is sometimes beneficial over using bone marrow for treatment. It’s more difficult to collect bone marrow than cord blood. Also, collecting bone marrow may be riskier and more painful for the donor.

Limits of stem cell usage
Only certain treatments respond to stem cells. There are also some additional limitations, including if a child has a genetic disease when they are born. In this case, the cord blood stem cells can’t be used during treatment because they’ll also contain some of the same genes responsible for causing a disorder.

In addition, a child’s own stem cells can’t be used in treating the child’s leukemia, or rather a cancer of the blood. On the other hand, a healthy child’s stem cells can be used in the treatment of another child’s leukemia, just as other donated organs. In this case, the donor and recipient are matched up to make sure it will work.

Cord blood storage
Cord blood is either kept in a private bank or a public one. With a public blood bank, they operate much like blood banks. Cord blood is collected and stored for people who need it and are a match. The cord blood’s entered into a database to make it easier to see when there’s a match. There’s no charge for collecting cord blood at a public bank.

However, donors at a public bank do need to undergo screening before birth. This involves taking the medical history of the mother, the father and their families. The bank needs to know about any immune system or blood disorders. There will also be questions about a donor’s lifestyle, and many people won’t meet the bank’s standards.

With private cord blood banks, the collection is directed. This means, the blood is held for only treating your child or relatives of your child. Usually, there is a yearly storage fee. There’s also a collection fee, and some doctors may tell you they have a conflict of interest in certain private banks.

Cord blood collection
When you give birth, the medical staff at the hospital collects the cord blood. However, not all hospitals do this. Some also charge a fee that insurance doesn’t necessarily cover. The collection process is both painless and simple. After a baby’s delivered, your doctor clamps the umbilical cord, then draws blood from the cord. After this is done, you deliver the placenta. The whole process only takes around 10 minutes.

When you can’t collect cord blood
Sometimes, you may find there’s not enough cord blood available to be collected. This may be the case if you have a premature baby, or if you have more than one baby sharing a placenta. Other times, there’s no reason at all. In addition, during some emergency situations it may not be possible.

There are also situations in which a problem with the mom prevents the collection because of a possible infection. This may be the case when there’s an infection of the amniotic fluid or placenta, or when the mom has genital warts or herpes.

Considering cord blood storage
If you’re thinking about storing cord blood, consider this:,

  • The chance of needing cord blood stem cells for your child or a relative is low, only about 1 in 2,700 people. Research is looking at other uses, though, and there may be new ways of treating disease in the future that doesn’t involve stem cells.

  • You can’t treat many diseases with a person’s own stem cells

  • It’s not known how long you can successfully store cord blood

If you do end up storing cord blood, you need to consider what happens if your private bank suddenly goes out of business. You’ll also want to make sure you can pay the yearly storage fees and collection fees at a private bank. In addition, if you choose a public bank, you’ll want to know about your options if screening tests don’t allow you to donate.

Baby Section

Growth and Development of Baby

If your baby was born this week, he or she has over a 99 percent chance of survival with very mild health problems. He or she would only require a short hospital stay to monitor his or her oxygen intake, make sure your baby could maintain his or her body temperature and had an adequate eating behavior.

Because your baby is so large, he or she will no longer be doing any somersaults, flips, or flops in your womb. The level of amniotic fluid in your womb already reached its maximum volume a week ago, so space is becoming limited for your little one’s acrobatics.

Your baby's lungs are maturing. Since 32 weeks of pregnancy, your baby's lungs have been producing a substance called "surfactant," which coats the surface of the air sacs and keeps them open. Surfactant helps your baby breathe after birth.

Premature babies tend to lack enough surfactant, so they are at higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome. If you were to go into preterm labor at pregnancy week 35, your doctor would probably give you an injection of a corticosteroid, which would accelerate the production of surfactant in your baby's lungs and reduce your baby's risk of respiratory distress syndrome.

Interestingly, some research suggests that a baby girl's lungs mature more quickly than a boy's lungs. Perhaps that's why little girls born premature typically have less trouble with breathing than little boys of the same gestational age. (next week)