If you have a baby born at 35 weeks, they’ll probably look like a full-term baby, but their internal systems and organs are still developing.
So one day, you’re marveling over the fact that you’re 35 weeks pregnant and the baby inside you is the size of a honeydew melon.
The next, you’re looking at their real-life perfect little face ‒ surprise!
A baby born at 35 weeks means you have a “late preterm” newborn.
So what does this mean?
What are the risks?
And how might the days after your labor look?
Here’s your guide, mama.
In this article: 📝
- What does a baby at 35 weeks look like?
- What happens if a baby is born at 35 weeks?
- Will a baby born at 35 weeks have to stay in NICU?
- Will my baby be OK if born at 35 weeks?
- What are the long-term effects of babies born at 35 weeks?
- Is baby fully developed at 35 weeks?
What does a baby at 35 weeks look like?
A baby born at 35 weeks will look pretty much like a typical newborn.
Although technically 5 weeks early, their skin will have a healthy tone to it, and they’ll have fewer wrinkles thanks to more fat stores.
Their muscle tone at this age means their movements will be smoother and they’ll probably be able to move their head from side to side quite easily.
Here are some adorable snaps to give you an idea of what to expect ‒ our favorite baby born at 35 weeks pictures:
How much does a 35-week baby weigh?
They’ll probably only weigh somewhere between 5-6 pounds (2.3 to 2.7 kgs), so they’ll be little, but not that much smaller than a full-term baby.
The average weight of a baby born at 35 weeks gestation is around 5.25 pounds (2.4 kgs).
But it’s important to note that every baby is unique and may weigh more or less than this average.
What happens if a baby is born at 35 weeks?
Most babies born at this age will be more stable than those born earlier, so you may be able to have some skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, even before they have a full medical assessment.
If your baby doesn’t require the NICU, you’ll be encouraged to have as much skin-to-skin time as possible in the early days.
When a baby is born at 35 weeks, they are considered “late preterm”.
Most 35-week babies are fully developed and their organs are functioning, but they may need some additional support to help them adjust to life outside the womb.
Some of the things that a 35-week baby may need include:
- Monitoring in the NICU: Many 35-week babies spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to ensure that they are breathing properly, maintaining their body temperature, and receiving proper nutrition.
- Specialized care: Some 35-week babies may require specialized care, such as oxygen therapy or assistance with feeding.
- Potential long-term health effects: While many 35-week babies grow up healthy and strong, they may be at a slightly higher risk for certain health conditions, such as respiratory problems, developmental delays, or learning difficulties.
But with proper care and attention, the vast majority of babies born at 35 weeks go on to lead healthy, happy lives.
Is 35 weeks premature?
Yes, a baby born at 35 weeks is considered premature.
But it’s on the latter end of premature.
Basically, anything before 37 weeks is considered a premature birth, and it’s broken down into different degrees of “premature”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Extremely preterm: Baby born before 25 weeks
- Very preterm: Baby born from 26 weeks to 31 weeks and 6 days
- Moderately preterm: Baby born from 32 weeks to 33 weeks and 6 days
- Late preterm: Baby born from 34 weeks to 36 weeks and 6 days
- Full-term: Baby born from 37 weeks to 40 weeks and 6 days
- Late-term: Baby born from 41 weeks to 41 weeks and 6 days
- Post-term: Baby born from 42 weeks or after
Will a baby born at 35 weeks have to stay in NICU?
In all likelihood, a baby born at 35 weeks will require close monitoring for at least 24 hours, so they may be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit to begin with.
Although baby’s breathing may stabilize quickly (or be fine from the get-go), they are still susceptible to some risks, including things like low blood sugar and infections.
Your medical team will monitor your baby closely for these conditions.
What is the survival rate of a baby born at 35 weeks?
The baby born at 35 weeks survival rate is as good as that for babies born at full term, so the chances your 35-week-old newborn will be OK in the long term should be reassuring.
Will my baby be OK if born at 35 weeks?
Some babies born at 35 weeks will display no signs of breathing or feeding difficulties and may not need an extended hospital stay.
On the other hand, others may need extra help and weeks, or even months, of special care.
Take each day as it comes.
What are the long-term effects of babies born at 35 weeks?
Babies born at 35 weeks gestation are considered late preterm, and while most of them grow up to be healthy and strong, they may be at a slightly higher risk for certain long-term health effects.
Some of the long-term effects that babies born at 35 weeks may experience include:
- Developmental delays: March of Dimes suggests that 35-week babies may be at a slightly higher risk for developmental delays, including delays in speech, motor skills, and cognitive development.
- Higher risk of neurodivergence: Babies born at 35 weeks may be at a slightly higher risk for learning difficulties, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to UK HealthCare and this 1990 study, although more research is needed.
- Respiratory problems: Premature babies, including those born at 35 weeks, may be at a higher risk for respiratory problems, including asthma and chronic lung disease, according to a study by Dr. Elaine M. Boyle.
- Mental health conditions: March of Dimes mentions that babies born at 35 weeks may be at a slightly higher risk for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
But it’s important to note that many babies born at 35 weeks grow up to be healthy and strong, and that these long-term effects are not inevitable.
With proper care and attention, many babies born at 35 weeks go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Is baby fully developed at 35 weeks?
While they may look pretty similar to a full-term baby, their organs and internal systems are still immature when it comes to function and strength.
So, you may need to be patient while they get up to speed with being in the big wide world.
The majority of babies born at this age can breathe on their own, with just about 7% of babies born between 35 and 36 weeks gestation requiring short-term oxygen support, according to one study.
They’ll also probably be quicker to pick up the feeding/breathing coordination, and their suck/swallow reflex will be stronger than younger babies.
So in all likelihood, they’ll gain weight at a similar rate to full-term babies, which can mean a shorter hospital stay.
The important thing to remember is that premature babies are individuals, like everyone else.
The health and development of your preterm baby will be unique, so try not to sweat the small stuff, talk to your medical team if you have any concerns, and enjoy those newborn cuddles.
Babies born at 35 weeks are considered “late preterm”, meaning they were born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation.
While they are not considered premature, they are still at a higher risk for complications than full-term babies.
But don’t let the term “late preterm” scare you.
These babies are strong and resilient, and with the proper care, they can thrive just as well as full-term babies.
So, if you’re a parent of a baby born at 35 weeks, don’t worry!
Baby is in good hands, and with the proper care, they will grow and develop just like any other baby.
You’ve got this, mama.