Week-by-week guide to pregnancy

pregnant woman sitting down
When you're pregnant, you have lots of questions. Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is packed with lots of useful information. From what's happening inside your body, to how your baby is developing, and tips and advice on having a healthy pregnancy – this is your one-stop pregnancy guide!

3rd trimester

Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From advice on writing a birth plan to what to expect at antenatal classes, you'll find it all here.

Week 35 – your 3rd trimester

Many choose to begin their maternity leave around now, and then use the next few weeks to prepare for the baby's arrival. Others prefer to work until the birth. You can do what feels right for you.

What’s happening in my body?

If you've spotted any yellow stains in your bra, then that's probably colostrum, which is an early milk that is rich in antibodies. Some pregnant women start to make it weeks or even months before the birth. When you breastfeed, this helps to protect your baby from stomach bugs and other infections.

Around 3 to 5 days after the birth, your milk will come in, and your breasts will look even bigger. You may wish to get ready for this by getting measured for a feeding bra that will allow a bit of growth. You could also stock up on breast pads to soak up any extra milk, so that you don't stain your clothes.

Not everyone can breastfeed, and it takes a bit of practice, but if you can, then it gives your baby a good start in life. Read the Start for Life page about breastfeeding.

Talk to your midwife about group B strep

Group B strep is a common bacteria and up to 2 in 5 people have it living in their body. If you carry group B strep while you're pregnant, there's a small risk it could make your baby seriously ill. Most group B strep infections in newborn babies are preventable.

For more information talk to your midwife, or visit the Group B Strep Support website.

Your pain management options for labour

There are lots of effective ways for managing pain during childbirth. You do not need to pick just one of them. You could start with one, and then move on to another.


This is the use of relaxation techniques, moving around, and feeling empowered through knowing what is likely to happen during labour. Self help relaxation techniques mean that you are in control and there are no side effects. They may not work for everyone

Gas and air (Entonox)

This involves breathing in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas through a face mask or mouthpiece. Gas and air:

  • works quickly
  • may make you feel sick
  • may not take the pain away completely

Pethidine (or sometimes Diamorphine)

This is an injection of a drug into your thigh or bottom. Pethidine:

  • can help you relax for around 2 to 4 hours
  • takes about 20 minutes to work
  • may make you feel sick
  • is not suitable for late stages of labour as the drugs can interfere with the baby's feeding and breathing


This is a local anaesthetic that numbs the nerves that tell your brain you're in pain. You are given an injection into the space outside your spine. Your baby's heart will be monitored throughout. An epidural:

  • can work well during a difficult labour
  • is unlikely to make you feel sick
  • needs to be given by an anaesthetist, so is not available everywhere
  • could slow down your labour and you may need further intervention, such as a forceps delivery
  • does not always work – around 1 in 8 women who have an epidural also need other types of pain relief

Water birth

This is where you give birth in a special pool kept at a comfortable temperature. The warm water feels soothing and it's easier to move around. Many hospitals and birth centres have birthing pools, you can also hire them for home births. If you choose to have a water birth:

  • try not to get into the pool too early, as it can slow down labour
  • you will need to leave the pool and get medical help if there are complications

TENS machine

A TENS machine delivers small amounts of electrical currents through pads on your back. It's believed to encourage the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers (endorphins). If you use a TENS machine:

  • you may need to hire or buy your own machine
  • it might help with early labour, but not for the later stages
  • there are no side effects – it's drug-free and you're in control

Alternative methods

Some women choose complementary treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you're planning to give birth at a hospital or midwifery unit, and would like a therapist to be with you in labour.

Things to bear in mind with alternative methods:

  • there are no side effects for most of them
  • there is no strong evidence that they work

Have a look at where to give birth and your options on the NHS website.

Discuss your ideas with your midwife, doctor and partner. Then write your preferences in your birth plan. Remember – you can change your mind on the day.

Read more about pain relief on the NHS website.

3rd trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 35 weeks)

You may be getting sore ribs now. That could be because your baby is head down, and kicking away. If the pain is really bad, or under your ribs, then talk to your midwife or doctor, just in case it's a sign of a condition called pre-eclampsia. However, it's more likely that your little one is just very active.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:

Read Tommy's guide to common pregnancy symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby is around 46.2cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 2.4kg. That's approximately the height of 2 bananas and the weight of a honeydew melon.

Your baby is getting chubbier, which will help them to stay at the right temperature when they're born.

It's getting rather cramped in your womb now, but your baby should still be moving around, and you should feel movements as strongly and regularly as you have done in previous weeks.

If the movements change or stop, then talk to your doctor, midwife or call NHS 111.

Action stations

Have you had the whooping cough jab yet? It's usually offered to pregnant women between 16 and 32 weeks – but it's not too late to have it now. This vaccine will protect your tiny baby from this dangerous disease for the first few weeks of their life. Talk to your midwife or doctor about the jab, if you haven't already.

This week you could also...

You have maternity rights. You can ask for a risk assessment of your work place to ensure that you're working in a safe environment. You should not be lifting heavy things and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit. You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.

It's a good time to tone up your pelvic floor muscles. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough. Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a wee and then stopping midflow. Visit Tommy’s.org for more ideas about pelvic floor exercises.

Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Even if you've had children before, antenatal classes are still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine. Ask your midwife or GP for support if you need it.

To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D. From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.

Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website. You just need 10 micrograms (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.

It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise while pregnant. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

There's no need to eat for 2. Now you're in the third trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that's not much. It's about the same as 2 slices of wholemeal toast and margarine.

Try to eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.

You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't keep it to yourself. It's important that you ask for help if you need it.

Having another baby is probably the last thing on your mind. However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide.

You and your family should follow the government and NHS guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • read government guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19
  • get NHS advice about COVID-19
  • use the NHS COVID-19 app for England and Wales – it's the fastest way of knowing when you've been exposed to COVID-19
  • To find out about about COVID-19 and pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, have a look at advice on the:

  • NHS website
  • Breastfeeding Network
  • World Health Organization
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