The 28th week of your pregnancy marks the start of the third trimester, which is the final major step towards the final birth. Your baby will be developing quickly and growing faster, so you’ll need to watch out for the sudden fatigue it’ll cause.
How much will the baby grow?
At this point, your baby will be somewhere around 14.8 to 15 inches long and weigh approximated 2.2 pounds. Since the third trimester leads directly to the birth, your new baby will rapidly develop its senses and brainpower, and will usually start to get a little bit bigger as the birth date approaches. While you won’t be able to see all of it from outside, they’ll undergo numerous different changes:
- Their brains will develop much faster, with more and more neurons being created every day. This will usually be the fastest period of brain development for them in the entire pregnancy.
- Their senses get stronger, meaning that they’ll be able to hear and see very slightly. They won’t really be able to understand any of it yet, but some women believe that certain sounds and types of music can influence the baby’s development.
- When they sleep, they start to undergo REM and dream proper dreams.
- They move into an upside-down position to prepare for the birth. If this doesn’t happen, a C-section might be required, but most babies will naturally shift into a head-first position.
- They get fatter. Not by an unhealthy amount, but their body fat increases to prepare them for the outside world.
How will I feel?
Pregnancy is a very energy-sapping experience, and the third trimester is likely to leave you feeling even more drained than before. Not only that, but there’ll be a lot of side-effects or other mild issues that can start to plague your body, meaning that comfort and proper body care become a lot more important. For example:
- You’ll need to urinate more. The baby will press down on your bladder and reduce how far it can expand, so you won’t be able to hold as much of whatever you’re drinking. If you need to stay hydrated, make sure there’s a bathroom nearby just in case.
- Heartburn might become a problem. Your baby is also likely to press down on your intestines and stomach, which makes heartburn much more likely regardless of what food you’re eating. You can usually avoid it by sticking to foods you know are ‘safe’, but many women prefer to eat a larger amount of smaller meals daily instead. Either way, you should also try to avoid lying down if you’re eaten within the past hour, just in case.
- Backaches will become more common. There are two main causes for this: the first is your hormonal changes which can affect your muscles and ligaments, which you can’t really change very easily. The other is the added weight – it’ll alter your posture and make it harder to stand in certain ways, as well as putting more strain on your back muscles.
- Sciatica is also likely, and will essentially feel like a more painful set of backaches, as well as some numbness or tingling sensations. It’ll happen when your larger uterus or the weight of your baby puts pressure on certain nerves, but you can fix it with a warm compress and some pelvic exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
- Some women will develop restless leg syndrome – around 16% – and won’t be able to control their leg movements properly when they’re trying to stay still. This are various reasons this can happen, but you’ll struggle to get proper sleep or relax completely. If this happens, get help from your doctor, or try to give your legs a proper rest with some stretches and a careful massage.
- You might also develop Braxton Hicks contractions. These aren’t normal labor contractions – they go away quickly and only appear every so often. They’re not painful most of the time and don’t cause many problems, but they can still make it hard to walk around for a minute or two. It’s hard to confuse the two, so don’t panic if you think you’re going into really early labor – they’re supposed to feel very different from one another.
The 28-week life
At 28 weeks, you’re well on your way to giving birth, so life will change a little bit as you prepare. First of all, you’ll need to set up more appointments with your doctor, and you’ll spend more time around nurses or a midwife than usual. This is mainly because safety and proper checks are much more important, now that the baby is growing at a faster rate and is almost ready to see the outside world.
Remember that about 90% of babies are born within two weeks of their due date, but less than 5% are born on the exact predicted day. Don’t plan anything big around the estimated date, and make sure you’re within close distance of a hospital if possible.
Surprisingly, things might also seem slower and more boring. You won’t be able to do as much with the baby so close to delivery, so you’ll usually end up staying around the house and trying to fill your time any way you can. For some women, pregnancy can feel like it’s dragging out far longer than necessary, and it’s easy to run out of things to do if you’re not prepared.
Make sure you’ve found a way to fill your time, or you’ll end up bored very quickly – most women rely on television shows that can keep them engaged, but others prefer to focus on a hobby they have or use the time to handle small things around the house.
Will it change my weight?
Unfortunately, once you hit 28 weeks pregnant, you’ll start to put on weight again. It’ll be around a pound a week in most women, even if you’re not actively eating more than usual, so you might want to try and stay on a weight management plan from your doctor. This weight won’t magically disappear once the baby is born, so it can take a while to work off, but at least you won’t be eating for two anymore.
It’s a good idea to start preparing for the birth, too. No matter whether it’s flying by or dragging on, you’ll eventually give birth to your baby (even if it has to be through a C-section), and you’ll almost always be wrong if you try to predict a specific date. The truth is, you never know when the baby is coming, and you don’t want to get caught off guard with only half of the prep work completed.
This isn’t too important early in the third trimester, especially if the due date is over a month away, but it’s very important to get everything ready just in case. You can’t delay the birth until a convenient time, so having everything in order (transport, somebody to drive you there, your preferred post-birth help from a night nurse or family member) makes a huge difference in the safety and simplicity of the birth.