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28 weeks pregnant


Foetus at 28 weeks pregnantYour baby at 28 weeks

  • Finally, her eyes are opening. You would, if you could see her, make out the colour of her eyes although this can change from blue at birth to a darker colour in the first few months. At 28 weeks she is short-sighted (seeing about 15-20cm) and will be at birth, but if she is breastfeeding she can see as far as your face. She is born designed for bonding.
  • She is now sleeping, although not like newborn babies sleep. She takes naps that last 20 to 40 minutes (although some researchers say babies can doze for 90 minutes).
  • Her nervous system speeds up as she insulates it by coating nerve fibres with myelin. This makes electrical impulses whizz along the nerves.
  • Researchers think your baby is not conscious as we think of conscious thought and awareness while she's in the womb, but her brain is getting ready to process the outside world. The part of the brain called the thalamocortical complex begins to be active between 24 weeks and 28 weeks. This is where consciousness is thought to be made. In two months time, an EEG that 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 be there. But while she is the womb this part of her brain, like her lungs, will be practising rather than functioning.

Your baby's movements and why you should count them

Your baby will kick, flutter, swish or roll. If she does this less often, there is some evidence that this may indicate she is in trouble. Stillbirths are rare, tragic events and research suggests that over half of women who had a stillborn baby felt their baby move less often.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has a guideline on how to assess how your baby is moving. It says there is not a good match between your baby moving on an ultrasound scan and how you feel your baby move inside you. You're more likely to feel your baby if she does a big movement that lasts for seven seconds, if you're lying down and if it's in the evening.

The RCOG says the research isn't clear how much movement you should expect to feel. The evidence for counting kicks comes from high-risk pregnancies where women were counting their baby's activity in hospital. But in America, obstetricians still recommend counting to 10 kicks - they say a healthy baby rarely kicks fewer than 10 times in the course of two hours. If you think your baby is napping, you can wake her by clapping or drinking cold water.

Most women (70%) who think their baby is moving less will have a normal healthy baby. But if you think your baby is moving less and you have lain down, clapped, drank cold water 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 heart beat, so do not worry about wasting people's time.

Your body at 28 weeks pregnant

Unwanted advice Other people can be intrusive when you're pregnant. Asking how long you have to go is bad enough, but often they'll say "Goodness, you're big" or "Aren't you compact". Neither is the right thing to say. Big means you're fat and/or have a huge baby. Compact is code for your baby has growth retardation and why aren't you worried? Everyone carries their baby differently and guessing size by eyeballing a bump is notoriously inaccurate.

People may also become incontinent with their pregnancy stories. None of these will be right either. If they had a horrendous labour this will make you more anxious and if their baby slipped out after a couple of pushes you know that won't be you. Just smile and don't listen. 

Friends If your friends do not have babies your friendships can be strained at this time. 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 not just after you've had your baby as you'll be busy).

Leg cramps Pregnancy often gives your leg cramps, no one knows why. It may be due to a lack of calcium, so a glass of milk is worth a try. Leg cramps can feel like your leg is caught in a vice and you want to scream. You can be woken by them and they can come as spasms or as one long gripping pain in your calves. Get up (don't leap out of bed because your centre of gravity has shifted and you will fall over) and try to stretch your leg out.


Sex You may need to make adjustments by having sex side by side or by bending over, although it becomes harder to find your vagina and sometimes harder to take it seriously. Your baby may move when you're having sex and after an orgasm your uterus may contract and feel tighter that usual and for longer - this is fine.



Pregnancy Encyclopedia book coverIllustrations taken from The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 3 months ago