The 28th week is the beginning of the last trimester. You will be gaining weight quite rapidly from now until childbirth. You are
now around three months away from the delivery. There will be regular check ups with the health care provider and discussion of the fetal movement chart. If the Rh antibody was found in your blood you will be given an anti-D injection in this week which will be repeated in the 36th week. If you have joined a prenatal class, you will learn about childbirth options, how to calculate kick counts and breast feeding versus bottle feeding options. Although the delivery is still quite far away, you can start making small preparations. This is especially helpful in the event that baby decides to arrive before the due date. You can be ready with the nursery and the clothes and toiletries you would be requiring after the birth of the baby.
This is an active phase where you are mobile enough to do some running around and a little bit of shopping. Now is a good time to prepare yourself for the upcoming busy phase of your life. You can stock up the nursery with a supply of wipes, diapers and decorate the nursery. Some women prefer doing this after the baby arrives. You can sit and decide baby names and also make a list of the people you will be informing along with their contact numbers. You can even start preparing a baby shower if you plan to have one after the baby’s birth. Continue with your healthy diet and exercise routine.
Your Symptoms: Hormones are causing your joints to loosen in preparation for birth. This may be causing pelvic pain. You may also notice rhythmic fetal movement that lasts a minute or less; these are hiccups!
Baby’s Development: Most babies have moved into the head-down position by now. He is also continuing to add fat to his slight frame.
Baby’s Size: 35.6 cm, 760 g.
To Do: Start thinking about your labor and what you do and don’t want. Try to focus on the aspects that you can control like where you will deliver, who will be with you, and if you will get pain medication.
The baby is now about 16 inches long and weighs about 3 ½ to 4 pounds. Your skin may be wrinkled but is developing layers of fat making the baby look a little rounder. Fine downy hair called lanugo and vernix, a protective cover, is enveloping on the baby’s body. The baby has opened its eyes by now and the eyebrows and eyelids are well formed. The baby has also developed taste buds and sucks its thumb.
The baby’s enzyme system and other endocrinological processes develop. It moves a lot in the uterus and kicks and stretches its body frequently. The baby’s organs and systems are well developed by now. If born prematurely at this stage, the baby can survive if provided intensive, specialized care. The final two months of gestation are vital for the maturation of the body systems and organs which helps to prepare the baby for a smooth and healthy adjustment outside the womb. The lungs approach maturity and the respiratory movements are now coordinated and regular. If it is a boy, the testis will now descend to the scrotum. The baby should gain significant weight as the pregnancy keeps advancing. The brain develops further into a more complex organ with grooves and indentations on its surface. The number of brain tissue also increase in this week. The head hair continues to grow and the eyebrows and eyelashes become visible.
Changes with your body
The second trimester is easiest for Mom as the nausea and vomiting experienced in the first trimester have vanished. The woman often looks good as she glows with pregnancy. The pressure of the growing uterus against the stomach can cause heartburn. The fundus or the top of the uterus is about 1/3rd of the distance between the belly button and the xiphoid cartilage. Constipation is common now due to the uterine pressure on the lower colon and the hormonal slowing of peristalsis. The increase in the size of the uterus combined with the maternal weight gain causes fatigue.
There are changes in the breasts size and shape preparing them for lactation. The tiny sacs deep within the breast tissue produce colostrum which is followed by milk. The pregnancy weight gain tally is up to about 17 to 24 pounds by this stage. The symptoms of pregnancy will once again start becoming profound as you start nearing the end of pregnancy. Leg cramps, constipation, insomnia, frequent urination and hemorrhoids due to excess pressure on the lower portion of the body can all be expected. You can feel a tightening of the uterus or abdomen from time to time which is referred to as the Braxton Hicks contractions. This is a normal phenomenon as the body is practicing for the real thing. Usually the uterus contracts at all stages of a woman’s life but it is more noticeable now as the uterus is full.
What to expect
You will be visiting the doctor more frequently now for regular check ups. The 28th week is an important one for carrying out certain tests like a glucose tolerance test, an iron or hemoglobin test, and if you are Rh negative then an anti-body test. The glucose test can check for gestational diabetes and the anti-body test for the compatibility between your blood and the baby’s blood. The doctor might be able to find out at this stage if your baby is at a risk of being a breech baby. There is no reason to worry even if the baby is a breech baby as there is sufficient time for the baby to turn its position before delivery. Your doctor will share methods by which one can rotate the baby to position it for a normal delivery.
You can experience the regular pregnancy symptoms like tenderness in the breast, darkening of the areoles, occasional headaches, itching, round ligament pains, indigestion or heartburn, and hemorrhoids. Stretch marks on the skin are very common as the pregnancy advances. The weight gained by this time will vary from woman to woman, but the weight gained during pregnancy helps in providing protection and nourishment to the baby. A massage can prove to be very relaxing at this stage as this will help in reducing any lower back pain and leg cramps. Mild swelling or itching can also benefit from a massage.