28 weeks pregnant
Welcome to the third trimester! You’ll start this final stage of pregnancy feeling like you can’t get much bigger (surely) and end it amazed at what your body’s done – and also slightly shellshocked to be holding your baby in your arms. This is when everything gears up a bit. You may also have more antenatal appointments from now, particularly if this is your first baby, if you’re over 40 or have any complications.
Your baby at 28 weeks
Your baby is bedding in for the final stretch now. Up until your due date, she’ll be growing stronger and laying down fat in readiness for her big entry into the world.
- Her eyes are finally opening this week. If you could see them now you’d be able to tell what colour they are. Most caucasian babies are born with blue eyes, though this can change to a darker colour during the first few months. Black and Asian babies are usually born with dark eyes that stay that shade.
- At 28 weeks your baby is still quite short-sighted and at birth will only be able to see things up to a distance of 15-20cm. It’s no coincidence that this is the distance from your arms to your face so she’ll be able to study your face while she’s breastfeeding – babies are born designed to bond.
- She’s now taking naps of around 20-40 minutes. Some researchers think babies of this age can doze for up to 90 minutes at a time.
- She probably needs all that rest, too, as although she’s not thinking consciously in the way we do, her brain is gearing up to process the outside world now. The thalamocortical complex (the part of the brain where consciousness is made) chugs into action between week 24 and week 28. In two months’ time, an EEG, which measures brain rhythm, would show how the nerves in her brain are interconnected. The electrical circuits that will allow her to think, feel and process information will all be ready, and that’s what her brain is practising for now.
What size is the baby at 28 weeks?
This week, your baby weighs just over a kilo – the same as a big bag of sugar.
How is your body changing at 28 weeks pregnant?
Bump size differs a lot at week 28. Some women are still reasonably neat and tidy, while others are like a galleon in full sail. The one thing that does seem to be the same for everyone is having to put up with unwanted comments from other people.
Asking how long you have to go is intrusive enough but brace yourself for the ‘Goodness you’re big – sure there’s just ONE in there?’ or ‘Aren’t you compact? Is the baby small?’ comments. No one wants to feel like they’ve gained too much pregnancy weight or that they ought to be worried about their baby’s development, so feel free to tell them politely to mind their own business. Alternatively, a comment about the size of their stomach should do the job, too.
Everyone carries their baby differently. Even a sonographer can only make a guess at how big a baby will be in the womb so remind yourself there’s no way any amateur bump prodder can tell simply by eyeballing your abdomen.
As with all ‘helpful’ pregnancy stories, your best bet is to smile, nod and ignore.
If you are more on the galleon side than at the TARDIS end of the spectrum, you might be having a few difficulties having sex by now. A few adjustments – try it side by side or from behind – might make things easier. But it may well be harder to a) locate your vagina and b) take any of it seriously at this stage. You may find your baby moves a lot more while you’re doing the deed and after an orgasm your uterus can contract and feel tighter for a short while. This is completely normal so don’t worry.
Pregnancy niggles in week 28
Sleep is often a bit disrupted at this stage of pregnancy. Many women suffer with pregnancy insomnia – and leg cramps won’t help. No one knows exactly what causes them. It may be due to a lack of calcium, so a glass of milk is worth a try. If nothing else, it might relax you at bedtime.
If being uncomfortable is what’s keeping you awake, you could try pillows to prop you up bit – experiment with a few to see what helps. Alternatively if it’s just that your mind is racing (and hardly surprising really) try keeping a notepad by the bed to write down anything you need to remember.
Things to think about during week 28 of pregnancy
Counting your baby's movements
Your baby will kick, flutter, swish or roll fairly regularly. It’s a lovely feeling and it’s worth making a note of these, for one very important reason. If she starts to do this less often, there is some evidence that this may indicate she is in trouble. Stillbirths are rare, tragic events but research suggests that over half of women who had a stillborn baby noticed that their baby was moving less often in the womb, so it’s worth knowing what you should be looking out for and what to do if you notice a change in your baby’s movements.
Women used to be advised that they should feel their baby move 10 times in an hour but it’s now thought that it’s better to get a good idea of what is normal for you, so that if that changes you can seek help. Try making a note of when your baby kicks, what time of day it is and what you were doing at the time. After a while, you’ll start to see a pattern develop and you’ll gain an insight into the times of day when your baby is most active, as well as if there’s anything that always stirs her.
In most cases, everything is fine. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that 70% of women who experience a single episode of loss of movement in pregnancy go on to have a completely healthy baby, so try not to panic immediately.
However, if you think your baby is moving less and you have tried all the usual things that might wake her (slamming a door, having a cold drink etc) and aren't sure you can feel her, then you should ring your doctor or midwife straight away. Don't wait. Everyone will be delighted to hear or see your baby's heartbeat, so do not worry about wasting people's time.
Chat to child-free friends
If your friends don’t have babies your friendships can sometimes feel strained at this time. You might feel as though you are growing apart and entering a new phase of your life or they may notice that you have new priorities on the horizon and feel pushed out.
Tell them how much you like them (if you do) and how this is weird for both of you. Be clear that you need them to support you. Just as you expect to be there when they need you (but maybe not just after you've had your baby as you'll be busy).