Your belly will continue to grow as your baby grows.
By now, your baby has likely shifted into place for delivery, with their head near the cervix. But note that some babies will not shift until after week 30, and some may never move into position, like breech babies.
This may make you feel additional pressure in the lower half of your body, particularly on your bladder.
If you have a doctor’s appointment this week, you can expect your doctor to check your weight and blood pressure. They will be looking for symptoms of gestational diabetes, anemia, and group B strep. These conditions, while not rare, should be treated immediately to keep your pregnancy safe and your baby healthy.
The closer you get to your delivery date, the more frequently you’ll be seeing your doctor. Beginning this week, your doctor might ask you to come in for checkups every other week.
This week, your baby’s eyelids are partially open. Those same tiny eyelids now have eyelashes, too. It’s time for the baby to start really packing on the pounds for life outside of the womb. Your baby is now about 14 1/2 inches long, and most babies this size average 2 to 2 1/2 pounds in weight.
Your baby’s brain is in major production phase this week, too. The brain is beginning to develop deep ridges and indentations, and the amount of tissue is increasing.
Your babies measure about 10 inches from crown to rump and weigh just over 2 pounds each. Their bones are fully developed, and their eyes are just beginning to open.
Many of the symptoms you’re likely to experience during week 28 have probably been bothering you for a few weeks already, including:
- constipation and gas
- backaches and leg cramps
- breast growth and leakage
- continued weight gain
- shortness of breath
- swelling in limbs
- varicose veins
- frequent urination
- heavy vaginal discharge
Braxton-Hicks contractions, also called “practice contractions,” may begin in your third trimester and will intensify closer to delivery. During these contractions, the muscles of your uterus will tighten for about 30 to 60 seconds, and sometimes for up to 2 minutes. While they can be uncomfortable, they don’t cause intense pain. They aren't regular. Real labor involves pains with contractions that are getting longer, stronger, and closer together. Seek immediate medical care if contractions increase in duration and strength, or come more frequently.
Constipation and gas
If you are experiencing constipation and gas, try eating 6 small meals instead of 3 large ones. These smaller meals are less work for your digestive system, so it’s less likely to get backed up or create extra gas. Less tax on the digestive system will also help halt the development of hemorrhoids.
Backaches and leg cramps
If you can rope your partner into giving you a massage, do so. Otherwise, consider booking a prenatal massage. You can also speak with your doctor about some gentle stretches that can help relax the muscles that have a bigger burden during this final trimester of pregnancy.
Talk with your doctor or a sleep therapist about relaxation techniques that may help you get to sleep faster. Listening to soft music or ocean wave sounds might be the answer. If you’re not comfortable in bed, find a place that is comfortable, even if that means sleeping on the couch.
Don’t be afraid to nap, too. When you’re tired, you should sleep. Listen to your body’s cues and take a break when you must.
Things to do
You’re growing closer to your delivery date, and your anticipation is likely getting the best of you some days. But before it’s time for the delivery, you still need to handle a few tasks.
Talk with your doctor about your delivery
If you haven't already, express your wishes and desires for your delivery to your doctor. This includes discussing pain medications you would like before the delivery. If you're delivering without drugs, discuss other pain management techniques. Decide how you and your doctor will handle decisions in an emergency situation.
If you’re delivering with a midwife, agree on parameters by which they will consult an OB/GYN should there be a complication. If you’re having any procedures, such as a tubal ligation, performed after the delivery, make final plans for that this week.
Get a Tdap vaccine
You’ll be advised to get another Tdap vaccine during your third trimester, even if you had one before your pregnancy. This tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster vaccine will help protect the baby from these diseases until they can be vaccinated later in life.
Sign up for classes
It’s time to sign up for instruction classes if you haven’t already. Check with your delivery hospital or your doctor’s office for information on breast-feeding seminars, delivery classes, and other meetings that might interest you and your partner.
Narrow your pediatrician choices
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to find your baby’s doctor. Give yourself and the doctor some time to get to know one another by finding one as soon as you can.
Delivery should still be about three months away, but there’s no harm in preparing now. Write down your list of contacts. Pack your hospital bag. Ask your partner to find the shortest and fastest route to your hospital.
Enjoy the moment
It’s a beautiful time in your pregnancy, so enjoy it. You may feel emotional relief by seeking out a fellow expectant mother and having regular dinner or walking dates. Journaling or writing your thoughts down may help relieve some anxiety, too.
Prenatal photo shoots have become a popular way to document this special time. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. Ask a friend or family member to snap a few shots of your pregnant belly. You’ll cherish these photos as you watch your little one grow.
Call the doctor
Because you’re seeing your doctor regularly, you two should have a good understanding of how your pregnancy is progressing. However, if something sudden or unexpected happens, reach out to their office. In most cases, your experience is common and can be easily handled. However, it’s important for your doctor to be aware of what’s happening.
If you begin experiencing severe cramping or pain, or if you begin bleeding, seek emergency medical treatment.