Week 28 pregnant
Your baby is weighing in at over 1 kg this week, its head is now in proportion to its body, and it’s looking more like a baby every passing day. There has been lots of brain development in baby’s sleep processes and there are REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep phases from this week on. Dream a little dream of me, baby.
Welcome to the first week of your third and final trimester! Although you’re definitely looking pregnant by now, you’re not quite at that stage of feeling so big that you’re getting clumsy. You can still navigate your way comfortably around without feeling as if all you want to do is to lie down. While your ankles and feet may be a bit swollen by the end of the day, by the next morning they should be back to their normal size.
This may be the time you need to branch out into some proper maternity clothes. Going for larger sizes with stretchy waistbands may have worked until now, but by 28 weeks you’ll probably need some clothes that are designed and cut with a pregnant belly in mind.
Can someone please open a window?
If you’re one of the unlucky ones that experience nausea throughout their pregnancy, you may find some relief in your third trimester. By now, you’ve experimented with different foods to see what you can tolerate and what’s unbearable, but even cooking smells and just the thought of some foods may still turn you off.
Some pregnant women develop a complication with extreme nausea and vomiting, called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Hospitalisation and rehydration with intravenous fluids can become necessary in women who are simply unable to keep any fluids down. Fortunately, this is not a common condition and medical treatment is effective. Women that have experienced this level of unrelenting nausea say that there is almost instantaneous relief of their symptoms at the moment of their baby’s birth.
Who’s that sitting in my chair?
Think about investing in a comfortable chair if you don’t have one. You will be spending an increasing amount of time sitting down before you have the baby and after it is born. Feeding a newborn consumes hours of every day, so does cuddling, gazing and staring at their little face.
A chair that isn’t too hard to get up out of is essential. Look for one with well-positioned arm rests, good lumbar support and one that doesn’t push into the back of your knees. A footstool is an added bonus and you’ll find this increasingly useful as your pregnancy proceeds.
Super growth for your baby
Your baby is growing up a storm in your 28th week, putting on weight and filling out beautifully. All those extra kilojoules baby needs to fuel its growth will start with you and the foods you are eating. There’s been an enormous amount of research in the field of pre-natal, maternal influences on children long-term.
One of the most influential factors within your control is your diet and the quality of the food you eat while you are pregnant. It has also been proven that ceasing cigarette smoking and illicit drugs, avoiding alcohol, and generally living in a safe, clean community are other primary factors in determining a positive outcome for children. What this means is that how you look after yourself when you are pregnant will affect your baby in a major way as it grows into adulthood.
Your physical changes this week
Stretch marks could be appearing on your tummy now. If you’ve avoided them up to this point, don’t be alarmed. There is nothing you can do to stop them from forming. Although they start out red and very visible, within a year or less they will fade to white and not be nearly as noticeable.
Squatting and bending down is getting harder. You’ll discover the easier way of doing things in a hurry. Picking things up with your toes takes some getting used to but it can be done. If you have a desk job, organise your work station to suit you. Your computer chair may need to be adjusted a couple of times a day.
Your breasts could start producing colostrum, an early form of breastmilk. This is a clear to yellowish coloured thick fluid, which is very high in antibodies. It is a sign that your breasts are starting early lactation, getting ready to produce milk for your baby after it is born. If you have breastfed a baby previously, you may find that you produce colostrum a little earlier.
Your emotional changes this week
Feeling pregnant, looking pregnant and thinking pregnant can make your whole life seem to revolve around the coming baby. Some women long for their old identity at this stage of their pregnancy. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they improve.
People may be fascinated by your belly and reach out to touch it. At best, they’ll ask before they do, or the first you know of their intentions may be when complete strangers are stroking your belly. How you feel about this may depend on your mood on the day, or you might just find it all a bit intrusive. Be firm but kind about it if you don’t approve – after all, it is your belly they are stroking.
Work could be getting to you by now. Many women stay in paid employment until they are around 34-36 weeks pregnant, but can wish they had applied for maternity leave a little earlier. Check with your Human Resources department regarding options in taking earlier leave. Really think about the financial cost versus the emotional and physical cost to you if you stay longer.
Your baby’s changes this week
Your baby continues to take practice breaths this week, breathing amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs and swallowing it as well. Baby can also suck, blink, roll, kick, grasp and hiccup.
More REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep in week 28, which is so important for your baby’s brain. Studies have shown that newborns spend a large portion of their time in REM sleep as well, so your little one is getting in lots of practice beforehand.
Your baby’s brain is changing from being soft and smoothly rounded to having the familiar grooves and indentations on its surface.
This week your baby’s hair may be going through a growing phase. Some babies are born bald or with fine, almost invisible hair, while others are born with a thick thatch of hair. The old wives tale about heartburn during pregnancy being a sign of your baby having lots of hair holds no truth.
Hints for the week
If you find yourself rushing to the toilet every 5 minutes, just sit tight. Chances are this is because the baby is lying in a particularly prominent position on top of your bladder. Try lying on your side to see if this prompts baby to move into another position.
Watch that indigestion and heartburn. Antacids may have replaced jelly babies as your favourite sweeties and you’ve got packets of them stashed in every bag and drawer. Things will improve as your body stops making such high concentrations of Relaxin and Progesterone. Speaking of Relaxin, your levels of this important hormone will be 10 times higher during your pregnancy than what they are normally.
Ease back pain by doing strengthening exercises. Check with an obstetric physiotherapist about how you can target the muscles and joints that are causing you grief.
Book a holiday. Now is the time to think about organising some time away before the baby is born. Having a break between leaving work and your due date can be incredibly restorative and help remind you of the important things in life. If you’ve got older children, this will be an opportunity for you to spend some quality, one on one time with them before they need to share your attention with their new sibling.
Week 29 next.