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35 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 35 Weeks

Your baby will be relying on fat reserves to keep warm once she’s no longer tucked up snug as a bug in a rug in your womb. So she’s fattening up more and more in preparation for the big wide world. Her nervous system is still developing but her lungs are now fully developed.

You won’t have a lot of free space inside you for your baby to move about so if you don’t feel her moving as much that’s probably why. Movements are likely to feel more like squirms than kicks.

The lanugo (fine protective hair covering your baby) has gone completely. Baby now has more fat stores and vernix (greasy skin coating) which is serving to insulate him. In week 35 your baby’s hearing is fully developed – so get talking! And don’t worry about sounding silly – some research has suggested babies do respond more to high-pitched tones.

How are the appointments with your midwife going? If your blood pressure seems a bit high you may be advised to rest more.

You might also be thinking about when to start your maternity leave. You can take it any time from 11 weeks before your due date – although many women choose to take it later to have more time with their newborn. It’s your choice.
Why am I feeling a tingling sensation or numbness in my pelvic region when I walk?
Many women at this stage find that as they walk they feel a tingling sensation or numbness in their pelvic area. It’s thought that this is the pelvic joints loosening in preparation for labour.

Your pelvis’ two halves are connected by a stiff joint called the symphysis pubis. The symphysis pubis is strengthened by dense network of ligaments. To assist your baby in passing through your pelvis, your clever body produces the hormone relaxin, which works to soften the ligaments. Painful but clever, hey? As a result of this, these joints move more during pregnancy and soon after birth, causing pain and inflammation – this is known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).

When does Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) happen?
SPD can flare up at any time in pregnancy or after birth. Having said that, many women experience it towards the middle of pregnancy. If you’ve had it before you’re more likely to experience it in subsequent pregnancies. The second time around, SPD symptoms may be more pronounced or come on more quickly, so seek help quickly. It also helps if you wait for any current symptoms to settle before trying for another baby.

What are the symptoms of SPD?
The most common symptoms of SPD are pain in the groin and pubic area. Some women also experience:

  • Hip pain, back pain or pelvic girdle pain
  • A clicking or grinding feeling in your pubic area
  • Pain between your legs or down the side of your thighs. This pain often worsens when walking, parting your legs, or when you go up and down stairs or move in bed.
  • More pronounced pain at night. It can affect your sleep and make getting up to pee particularly painful.

What should I do if I think I might have SPD?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or you think you might have SPD, speak to your doctor or midwife about it. Knowledge and understanding of this condition has been increasing in recent years. Your doctor or midwife should refer you to an experienced physiotherapist.

How is SPD treated?
SPD is often treated in the same way as Pelvic Girdle Pain and intervention can include:

  • Exercises to improve the stability of the region – especially those that work the pelvic floor muscles and tummy. You might also need hands-on treatment to correct imbalance or stiffness in your back, pelvis or hips. Sometimes water exercise can be helpful
  • A pelvic support belt
  • Advice on how to make everyday tasks and activities less painful. You and your midwife will work together to create a birth-plan which takes into consideration your SPD and how to make the process as easy as possible
  • Therapies like osteopathy, chiropractics and acupuncture can be helpful in some cases but make sure you see a qualified practitioner who is trained and experienced in working with mums-to-be.

What can I do to relieve my pelvic pain and SPD symptoms myself?
If you are experiencing pelvic or groin pain in pregnancy, you need to get in touch with your doctor or midwife. They will be able to give you appropriate advice and refer you to any necessary service – for example a trained physiotherapist. There may also be some self-help techniques that can help. For example:

  • Tummy and pelvic floor exercises can help relieve your pelvic strain. Get onto your hands and knees and gently flatten your back. Inhale, and then as you exhale squeeze in the muscles of your pelvic floor whilst pulling your belly button in and up. Hold this for 5-10 seconds but don’t move your back or hold your breath. Then slowly relax your muscles.
  • When you are lying down or your back is slumped try not to part your legs. When lying down, pulling your knees up prevents your pelvis from moving so you can part your legs more easily. When sitting, try sticking out your chest and arching your back before parting your legs because this can also help to prevent the pelvis from moving. Be careful when getting in and out of cars, the bath or your bed.
  • Don’t push yourself. If an activity is painful try not to do it. Also try to move little and often rather than long bursts of activity followed by long slumps. Don’t lift or push heavy weight. For example pushing supermarket trolleys can make pain worse so do your shopping online or get your partner to go.
    Get plenty of rest at regular intervals to relieve your pelvis of the weight of your baby and rest it in a stable position. You could try sitting on an exercise or birth ball or getting down on your hands and knees.
  • Take stairs one at a time, stepping onto one step with your strongest leg and bringing your other leg up to follow. Don’t use stairs unless you have to.
  • Be careful with swimming. It is thought that some water exercises can be helpful but often swimming (especially in breast stroke) can make the symptoms flare up
  • Sit down to pull on your trousers or underwear.

How soon after the birth will my pelvic pain/SPD get better?
Most mums find that their pelvic pain and SPD symptoms improve after birth, although some have been known to experience pain for around a year after delivery. Continue with physiotherapy. You might also need some help with looking after your little one in the weeks immediately following the birth.

Some women who have suffered with SPD experience similar pain every month before their period. This is because of the release of hormones which have a similar effect to relaxin, the hormone that relaxes your pelvis in pregnancy.

Is there anywhere else that I can get help and support with my pelvic pain or SPD in pregnancy?
SPD and pelvic pain in pregnancy can be extremely frustrating and even isolating at times. You might feel that now you have even less freedom to do the things you would normally do. The Pelvic Partnership is a charity set up to support women who suffer from SPD and they can help you make contact with other mums-to-be facing the same problems. If you live in Scotland, get in touch with the Pelvic Instability Network Scotland. In addition, The National Childbirth Trust offers information for mums-to-be experiencing pelvic problems.

Possible Scan at Week 35
The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall).

A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy. This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.