Tommy's PregnancyHub

My premature baby's development in the womb-week 35

If you have been told you are at risk of a premature birth, you may be feeling anxious. Here’s some information about your baby’s development this week.

This information is for women who have been told that they are at risk of a premature birth

If you are not at risk of having a premature baby, we have information for you in our pregnancy calendar - our week-by-week guide to the stages of pregnancy.

Your baby's development this week

There isn’t much room for your baby to move about now, but they will still change position. You'll still feel frequent movements and be able to see them on the surface of your bump. 

It’s still very important to keep an eye on your baby’s movements. It is not true that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy. You should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour and during labour.

Do not wait until the next day to seek advice if you are worried about your baby’s movements. Contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately if you think your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed. 

Find out more about your baby's movements.

Your pregnancy symptoms

Braxton Hicks

Some women may have Braxton Hicks contractions. They may be uncomfortable, but they are not painful. Women often describe Braxton Hicks contractions as feeling like mild menstrual cramps or a tightening in a specific area of the stomach that comes and goes.

Unlike the contractions that signal that labour is starting, Braxton Hicks contractions vary in length and strength, happen infrequently, are unpredictable and non-rhythmic. But nearer the end of your pregnancy, Braxton Hicks contractions may form more of a pattern and increase in frequency and intensity, so it can be difficult to tell if labour has started. 

It’s always best to contact your midwife or maternity unit for advice if you are not sure whether you are having Braxton Hicks or labour contractions, especially while you are still below 37 weeks pregnant. 

Find out more about Braxton Hicks contractions.

Other symptoms

If you are at risk of giving birth early, it’s important to take care of yourself. There are also some things you can do to try and reduce the risk of giving birth early.

Tell your midwife or doctor if you have any symptoms that you are worried about. Do not worry if you've talked about it before and don't be concerned about whether you're wasting anyone's time. This is your pregnancy and it's important to trust your own instincts if you feel something isn't right.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

Symptoms of early labour

Call your midwife or hospital maternity unit straight away if you think you are in early labour. It may be a false alarm, but it’s best to get checked out. Find out more about the symptoms of early labour. 

Your mental health

If you have been told that you are at increased risk of giving birth early, it’s important to try and reduce stress and take care of your emotional health. Find out more about coping with the idea of a premature birth.

What may happen if your baby is born this week

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or risk of premature birth please talk to your doctor or midwife.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

If your baby was born this week, they would be classed as moderate to late preterm. Babies born this week are less likely to have any severe problems associated with being born prematurely. They may still need to go to the neonatal unit for specialist care, if this cannot be provided on the maternity ward with you. They will need to be watched more carefully than full-term babies. 

The risk of any breathing problems is lower, but some babies may need some support. They may need small prongs put into their nostrils or have a mask put over their nose connected to a machine (called ‘CPAP’ or ‘high flow’) that provides air, with or without extra oxygen, with pressure to make the effort of breathing easier for them.

Most babies will need support while they are learning to feed. They will need a thin tube passed through their nose or mouth into their tummy that milk can be given through. They may also need fluids (a ‘drip’) through a thin tube into a vein (intravenous or IV line). Some babies may also need support if they develop jaundice.  

Your baby will also be tested and may be treated for infection.

Your healthcare team will monitor your premature baby closely to make sure they receive the best possible care. 
 

NHS. You and your baby at 35 weeks pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/28-to-40-plus/35-weeks/ (Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018 Next review: 17 July 2021)

NHS. Your baby’s movements. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/your-babys-movements/ (Page last reviewed: 21 June 2018 Next review: 21 June 2021)

Raines DA, Cooper DB. Braxton Hicks Contractions. 2021 Jan 29. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 29262073.

Macdonald, Sue (2017) Mayes’ Midwifery. London, Elsevier Health Sciences UK

BMJ Best Practice (2021) Premature newborn care. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/671/pdf/671/Premature%20newborn%20care.pdf