You’re at 28 weeks and counting! You’re now officially in your third trimester of pregnancy and are probably feeling baby’s movement and maybe some aches, too.
Week 28 can be a time of less sleep than usual since you’re working so hard to grow and carry baby around. Make sure to get as much rest as you can and stay safely active to keep your energy levels up.
By now, your baby has likely shifted into place for delivery, with their head near the cervix. Note that some babies will not shift until after week 30, and some may never move into position, like babies in the breech position.
This may make you feel additional pressure in the lower half of your body, particularly on your bladder. You probably already know how this will affect how often you have to pee.
If you have a doctor’s appointment this week, you can expect your healthcare provider to check your weight and blood pressure. They’ll be looking for symptoms of gestational diabetes and anemia. 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 or midwife. Beginning this week, your healthcare provider might ask you to come in for checkups every other week. Keep noting those questions you have so you can ask them at your next appointment with the doc.
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 gaining some pounds for life outside the womb. Your baby is now about 14 1/2 inches (37 centimeters) long, and most babies this size are about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds (.9 to 1.1 kilograms) 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.
Baby may start dreaming, blinking, and making faces, too. It’s an exciting time in there!
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
- 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 six small meals instead of three 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 or close pal 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.
You’re growing closer to your delivery date, and your anticipation is likely getting the best of you some days. Try not to stress too much. You’ve got this.
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; in fact, you may want to write it all down in a birth plan. Include discussions of any pain medications you would like before the delivery.
If you’re delivering with a midwife, agree on parameters by which they’ll 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 breastfeeding 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 3 months away, but there’s no harm in preparing now. Write down your list of contacts. Pack your hospital bag. Research 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.
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, it’s likely whatever you’re experiencing 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 or notice leaking of fluid like you may have broken your water, seek emergency medical treatment.