Understanding your pregnancy: Week 28

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 28

A quick snapshot

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 you're getting clumsy. You can still navigate your way comfortably around and not feel as if all you want to do is to lie down. Although by the end of the day your ankles and feet may be getting a bit swollen, 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 which are designed and cut with a pregnant belly in mind.

Think about investing in a comfortable chair if you don't have one. You will be spending an increasing amount of time sitting before you have the baby and after it is born. Look for one with well positioned arm rests, good lumbar support and 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.

What’s changing in your body

  • Stretch marks could be appearing on your tummy now. If you've avoided them until now, don't be alarmed. There is nothing you can do to stop them 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. 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 breast milk. It is a sign that your breasts are starting early lactation, getting ready to produce milk for your baby after it is born.

How your emotions are affected

  • Feeling pregnant, looking pregnant, 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. You won't always be seen in terms of your relationship with the baby, it's just that it's become so obvious now.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Resource Management department regarding options in taking earlier leave. Really think about the financial cost versus the emotional and physical cost to you of staying for longer.

How your baby is growing

Third Trimester: Week 2834

  • Your baby continues to take practice breaths this week, breathing amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs and swallowing it as well. It 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 on their head. Others are born with a thatch of hair.

Tips for the week

  • If you find yourself rushing to the toilet every five 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 it to move into another position.
  • Watch that indigestion and heartburn. Things will improve as your body stops making such high concentrations of relaxin and progesterone.
  • Ease that 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.