Pregnancy Tracker: Week 28

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 28




Congratulations are in order! You have made it safely through the first and second trimesters and you are now in the third, and last, trimester. Week 28 relates to months 7, 8 and 9. This is the home stretch!

You may be feeling relieved, tired, worried, excited, and elated all within 24 hours. Perhaps a little reward for getting this far is called for, so think about a mini break away with your partner. This may be the last opportunity for quite some time!

Baby’s development at 28 weeks pregnant

Your baby is growing so fast now and is easily the size of a lettuce, weighing in at about 1kg and measuring 38cm head-to-heel and is starting to feel slightly cramped inside the uterus. Baby is perfectly formed now and just needs some refining and developing to take place in the next few months.

The sleep pattern is quite defined, and you may find that your baby has a nocturnal pattern, which could contribute to keeping you awake at night. Interestingly, your little one can dream and is experiencing REM sleep.

Most babies develop a unique movement pattern, perhaps being more active at night or in the morning, and certainly more active after you have eaten. Any pattern is normal, and you should take note of your baby’s movements so that if anything changes you can let your healthcare provider know if you feel there is something amiss.

In the next few weeks, your baby will be getting ready to be born and adopting the correct position for birth, which is head down and bottom up. The baby’s position now and in the coming months will tell you a lot about what may happen during labour, so your check-ups will occur more frequently from now on, and the baby’s changing position will be carefully monitored.

The little eyes are blinking in response to light in the uterus, which is good practice for after birth when baby needs to keep his eyes clean. Other skills that baby is developing in preparation for birth are sucking, breathing, coughing, and hiccupping. These will all be needed once he is out in the world, and nature has a wonderful way of preparing for this.

Perhaps the biggest progress in this trimester will take place in the brain as it will triple in weight between now and birth, but not necessarily in size. Numerous new nerve cells are busy developing. Deep, intricate grooves will form in the cerebrum, providing extra surface area without taking up more space in the skull.

The nervous system is developing fast and is now better able to control baby’s temperature and manage the breathing movements, which in turn strengthens the lungs. The senses of smell and touch are fully functional at this stage.

Your symptoms at 28 weeks pregnant

  • Strange dreams

Dreams often reflect your emotional state, and during pregnancy it is possible that you are feeling very emotional! In addition, an increase in progesterone at this time can make dreams more vivid. Try not to be disturbed by your weird dreams and recognise that they are a natural reflection of your feelings and excitement about the changes in your life right now.

  • Heartburn

This is a typical symptom from week 28 of pregnancy and can be experienced soon after eating or drinking, or there can be a delayed reaction. Signs of heartburn or acid reflux include, among others, a burning sensation in the throat and chest and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness.

Cutting down on rich, spicy foods, eating smaller portions and avoiding caffeine drinks can ease the symptoms. Maintain an upright position while eating and prop your shoulders and head up on pillows when you go to bed.

  • General aches and pains

Pregnancy, and especially the third trimester, is a time of aches and pains, like round ligament pain, leg cramps, lower back, or sciatica pain. Unfortunately, they are most probably here to stay for the duration of your pregnancy and learning to live with them and relieve them where possible is the only recourse you have. Try to change positions frequently and do regular, gentle exercise, like yoga, swimming, and stretching. Wearing a pregnancy belt to help support the muscles is a good idea too.

What to expect going forward

As your pregnancy progresses into the third trimester you will be having more frequent antenatal check-ups as it is important to closely monitor both your health and that of your baby. Your blood pressure will be tested regularly, and your urine will be assessed for protein. The results of any screening tests that you may have had recently will be thoroughly discussed with you.

At 28 weeks, your healthcare provider will measure your fundal height – distance from pubic bone to top of uterus – and it should be about 26 – 30cm.  Knowing that your measurements are within the normal range gives you and your doctor peace of mind that your baby's growth and position are on track, as a breech or sideways position could affect the measurement and would alert you to possible complications.

Your doctor may suggest that you start ‘kick counting’ at 28 weeks. This monitors how frequently your baby moves, and if the movements are consistent from one day to the next. To do this you should choose a time of day and, using a timer, measure how long it takes for ten baby movements to occur. By doing this over a few days, you can establish a pattern with an average range. Inform your doctor if anything seems out of the ordinary.

Studies have shown that it is important to sleep on your side. From 28 weeks pregnant, sleeping on your back can increase the risks of a stillbirth, so it is best to play safe and avoid a back-sleeping position. You are not able to control your movements while asleep, and it is possible you may slide over onto your back. If this happens, don’t fret about it but when you awaken, just roll over onto your side again.

You can continue to be active in the third trimester but be sure that your exercises are appropriate for this stage and state. Pregnancy Pilates or yoga, walking, swimming, and specific antenatal exercises are suitable, as are aqua exercises. If you have never done water exercises before, you may find that it is an ideal time to start as the water supports your heavier body and helps you to feel weightless. Ensure that any instructor that you choose is well experienced and qualified to teach maternity exercises.

Having sex is considered safe up to the end of pregnancy, as long as you have not had any complications and you are feeling comfortable about it. If you are unsure of the safety issue, speak to your healthcare provider.

Use these last few weeks to get ready for the baby and enjoy some time for yourself, especially after you start maternity leave.

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