Week 35

Week 35 baby

Engaged yet?

Your baby’s skin is still covered with a thick layer of vernix to protect it from amniotic fluid. When the baby comes out, chances are high that much of that vernix will be left, and the baby may look a little messy. The umbilical cord is nearly half a metre long and reminiscent of an old phone cord: twisted, elastic and strong. The baby weighs about 2.4 kilos and will gain 25-30 grams per day moving forward. Now, as the last mile of pregnancy approaches, most babies shift position in preparation, with their head facing down into the pelvis – this is called engagement. It might be one reason why the baby is moving differently than before: it has less room to manoeuvre. But even if the movements feel different, you will feel them just as frequently as before. Lots of people find that the baby has more regular periods of being asleep and awake – with plenty of activity in the evening – a sleep routine that the baby will likely bring with it into the world.

Week 35 mum

A chorus of comments

Isn’t your belly a little small? Are you sure you’re not expecting twins? How much have you gained? You ABSOLUTELY can’t get any bigger now! Or maybe you’re stunned when someone just touches your belly without asking. How people react to your pregnancy can drive you crazy and make you sad – and you have every right to be. Because when did it become okay to comment on or touch someone’s body like this? Being pregnant doesn’t make you public property, and the people around you need to accept that. Backing away when a pair of unwelcome hands approaches your belly, or cheerfully responding with: ‘Thanks, you too!’ when someone comments on how huge you’ve gotten could be a way to start a conversation on when it’s actually okay to comment on other people’s bodies. We know you won’t always have energy for that chat, especially if someone close to you has behaved clumsily. But if you speak up about how you feel, you might be able to keep it from happening again in the future. Explaining that their comments make you sad or anxious is a good thing, because they probably never intended to make you feel bad, and if you speak up, it will give them food for thought and they can change their behaviour.

Week 35 partner

Up and down?

Quarters are getting cramped for the baby and things are getting heavy for mum. The baby is pushing and pressing from inside, which is tiring to say the least. Being super pregnant is no picnic. The baby is preparing to be born well in advance. Gradually, it is getting ready, and has likely moved to face the head downward. Some babies choose different positions, crosswise or bottom-down, which is called a breech presentation. If this happens, your doctor will likely attempt to turn the baby, because it’s preferable to give birth with the baby in a head-down position. This involves the doctor pressing on the belly in a specific way to try to get the baby to shift positions. It might look scary to onlookers, but doctors know what they’re doing. However, the mother may have slightly sore abdominal muscles afterwards. Week 36 is the earliest point at which an attempt to turn the baby would be made, and understandably, this is not something you should try to do yourself. It can be good to know that not all attempts to turn the baby will be successful, but the baby may eventually turn on its own. If your baby really doesn’t want to turn and stubbornly sticks to that breech presentation, you may have a C-section. Many babies, though not all, position themselves properly towards the end of the pregnancy. This means the baby’s head has sunk deep into the pelvis. Once the baby is in this engaged position, it can’t turn again – it will stay where it is. At check-ups, the doctor or midwife will feel if the baby is engaged or moveable. You might think that once the head is facing down in the pelvis, childbirth would be right around the corner, but there is no link between when the baby becomes engaged and when labour begins. If you are a first-time parent, the baby will usually find the right position a bit faster than babies who follow their siblings; it is not known why. And some babies have no interest in sliding down into the pelvis at all.