Your little one is almost ready to face the world now! If your baby has ‘engaged’, i.e. moved down in position for the birth, this will leave you a little more breathing space in your overcrowded insides. Whew!
However, this may also mean you feel a bit more downward pressure or discomfort.
Are you making a birth plan?
It's a good idea; writing a birth plan can help you focus on decisions you need to make, and it can help you feel more relaxed about the impending birth. Download our handy birth plan template.
- Buy some perineal massage oil and massage the area between your vagina and your bottom regularly to make it more flexible and ready for birth. Remember to cut your finger nails and wash your hands first!
- Have you got everything ready? There’s still time to buy those last few bits you need and finish off anything else you need to do.
- Make a wish list for how you want the birth to go. Talk to your partner about it – it’ll help you enormously if he knows exactly what you want, and more importantly what you don’t want, during this unique experience. If you have time and feel the urge to do some cooking, then cook as much as you can. Split it up into smaller portions and freeze it – during the first few weeks after the birth, you’ll be grateful for your foresight and the ready-cooked meals.
- If you get swollen feet, try cutting out dairy products in the evenings as they increase the amount of water you retain in your tissue.
What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 35
The challenges of advanced pregnancy continue. Moving around, and even just breathing, will get harder and you’ll keep asking ‘How much longer do I have to wait?’.
One consolation is that the breathing difficulties you’re having will ease as your uterus moves down, reducing the pressure on your lungs. However, the false labour that makes this happen, which will begin soon, will mean you feel tightness in your belly, a pulling sensation in your womb, and possibly slight nausea and diarrhoea as well. Unlike real labour, false contractions don’t occur at regular intervals and don’t get more intense or painful, so even though you might not be able to tell if it’s the real thing or not at the start, the intervals will soon tell you which is which.
Common signs and symptoms
In addition to the false contractions you’ll gradually be noticing more and more, which will at least help you breathe a bit more easily, there are a few symptoms in week 35 which can last throughout the final weeks until you give birth.
The pressure the uterus puts on your bladder can cause bladder weakness. False labour causes the uterus and your baby to move down towards your lesser pelvis, which increases the pressure on your bladder and makes it smaller. It will therefore fill up more quickly, so you’ll have to go to the toilet even more often.
Another ongoing symptom is circulation problems. If you’ve been lying down on your back, for instance, you might find that you can’t get up again straight away. This is caused by the pressure your uterus is putting on the vena cava, the vein that supplies blood to the heart: it works less effectively, so less blood and oxygen circulates around your body and you may feel dizzy, light-headed and nauseous at times. Doctors call this “vena cava syndrome”, and if you get it, you should change your sleeping position and get as much rest as you can. For this reason, from week 31 on, it’s recommended that you sleep on your side – if you choose to sleep on your back, then make sure your upper body is raised slightly.
As you get nearer your due date, you'll start seeing your midwife or doctor more frequently. They will do regular blood tests to make sure you are not becoming anaemic(which can make you feel fatigued). You can help guard against this by including plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet. Don’t forget, having a drink that's rich in vitamin C (such as HiPP Organic fruit juice) at the same time as iron-containing foods will help you absorb the iron better.