What to Expect When You Are 28 Weeks Pregnant

Being 28 weeks pregnant marks an exciting milestone – you’ve entered the third and final trimester! At this stage, your baby’s development is in full swing as they prepare for birth. This week-by-week guide covers everything you need to know about being 28 weeks pregnant, including how your baby is developing, common pregnancy symptoms, and how to care for yourself.

Key Takeaways When 28 Weeks Pregnant:

  • Your baby is around 2 1⁄4 pounds now and 14.8 inches long
  • They are developing fat layers under their skin
  • You may start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Back pain and fatigue may increase
  • Monitor fetal movements closely
  • Stay hydrated and eat small, frequent meals
  • Make a birth plan and take childbirth classes
  • Pack your hospital bag

Being 28 weeks pregnant means you’re in the home stretch – only 12 more weeks to go! This exciting phase brings rapid growth and development for your baby as their senses become more alert and their lungs mature. Meanwhile, your body is working hard to support your growing baby, so be sure to listen to any signals it gives you. With just 3 months left until your due date, start actively preparing for delivery and life with a newborn.

How Big Is Your Baby at 28 Weeks Pregnant?

At 28 weeks, your baby is about the size of an eggplant. They measure around 14.8 inches long from head to heel and weigh approximately 2 1⁄4 pounds. Their eyelids are partially open now so they can see light filtering in. Baby’s eyes are developing the ability to blink and move from side to side as well.

Over the next few weeks, a layer of fat will build up under your baby’s skin, helping them regulate their body temperature after birth. The lungs are developing surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in the lungs from sticking together when baby takes their first breath. Your baby’s brain is still developing rapidly, establishing vital connections between brain cells.

Baby Developmental Milestones

Here are some of the major developmental milestones your baby is reaching at 28 weeks:

  • They can open and close their eyes
  • Their eyes can move side to side and detect light
  • The lungs are developing surfactant
  • They have detectable sleep cycles and dream sleep phases
  • They can hear your voice clearly and respond to sounds
  • They are developing fat stores under the skin
  • Sensory development is increasing as nerves connect to the brain
  • Their grip reflex is strong when something touches their palm
  • Hair is growing on their head (and body)
  • Bones are fully developed but still soft and pliable

While most of these changes are happening internally, you may be able to feel some shifts in your baby’s normal activity patterns and sleep cycles as their senses become more developed. Pay close attention to notice any changes in fetal movement. Staying aware of baby’s regular movement routines now can help you detect potential issues later on.

Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 28 Weeks

As you enter the third trimester, you may notice some new symptoms popping up. Here are some common complaints when 28 weeks pregnant:

Fatigue

Carrying around that baby belly takes a lot of energy! It’s very common to feel profoundly fatigued and need more rest at this stage. Listen to your body’s needs and take it easy whenever possible. Ask your partner, friends, or family for help with household chores and errands. Prioritize sleep and don’t overschedule yourself. If fatigue interferes with your daily activities, talk to your doctor.

Back Pain

Back pain is very common during the third trimester as your belly expands outward, putting strain on your back muscles. Your shifting center of gravity also adds extra stress to the spine, hips, and pelvis. Avoid lifting heavy objects and wear supportive footwear. Apply heat or cold packs to painful areas and perform pregnancy-safe stretches. Consider seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist that specializes in prenatal care.

Shortness of Breath

As your uterus grows, it pushes up against your diaphragm and lungs, making it harder to take deep breaths. Proper posture and pelvic tilts can help open up your lung capacity. Avoid getting overheated and slow down when exercising. Report sudden or severe breathing difficulties to your doctor right away.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are very common in the third trimester as weight gain puts pressure on nerves and blood vessels in the legs. Stretch your calves frequently and massage cramped muscles for relief. Keep your legs elevated when possible and stay well hydrated and active to improve blood flow. A magnesium supplement may also help reduce cramping.

Bloating and Constipation

Progesterone relaxes the muscles of your intestines, slowing down digestion and leading to bloating and constipation woes. Drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, and eating fiber-rich foods can help get things moving more smoothly. Ask your doctor about using a stool softener or laxative if needed.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

You may start noticing these “practice contractions” around 28 weeks as your uterus preps for the real thing. Braxton Hicks feel like tightening or squeezing sensations in your belly that come and go. They are usually painless. Stay hydrated and switch positions or walk around to ease them. Time the contractions and call your doctor if they occur frequently or become painful.

Heartburn

Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can lead to frequent heartburn episodes. Avoid spicy, acidic, or greasy foods. Eat smaller meals more frequently. Sleep propped up with pillows. Tums or other antacids can provide relief when used occasionally.

Stuffy Nose

Increased blood flow and hormones can stuff up your nasal passages and lead to snoring or difficulty breathing at night. Use a humidifier, breathe through your mouth, and sleep propped up to help nasal congestion and drainage. Check with your doctor before taking any decongestants.

Stretch Marks

As your belly rapidly expands in the third trimester, you may start to notice reddish-purple stretch marks on the abdomen. These are very common. Staying hydrated and using lotions may reduce itching and discomfort. Cocoa butter, vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel, and moisturizers can help improve skin elasticity to minimize tearing.

Swelling

It’s common for swelling (edema) to occur in the ankles, feet, legs, fingers, and face during pregnancy due to fluid retention. Avoid standing for long periods, wear compression socks, and prop up your feet to reduce swelling. Report any sudden or severe swelling to your doctor, as it can be a sign of preeclampsia. Drink plenty of water and avoid foods high in sodium.

Varicose Veins

Pressure from your growing uterus can slow blood flow from the legs back to the heart, causing veins in the legs and rectal area to swell and become varicose veins. Avoid tight clothing and elevate your legs. Move around periodically and stretch your calves. Varicose veins usually improve postpartum.

Skin Changes

Pregnancy hormones can lead to various skin issues like dryness, itching, acne breakouts, skin tags, darkening freckles, and melasma (facial pigmentation). Moisturize frequently and avoid irritants in skin care products. Wear sun protection. These skin changes usually fade after pregnancy.

Dizziness

Low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the brain can result in occasional lightheadedness or dizziness, especially if you change position too quickly. Get up slowly from sitting or lying down. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine. Report severe or recurring dizziness to your doctor.

Clumsiness and Forgetfulness

You may feel a little extra ditzy or clumsy when pregnant. Hormones, fatigue, nausea, and other discomforts can impair your coordination and concentration. Be extra careful when climbing stairs or stepping over objects on the floor. Make lists and reminders so pregnancy brain doesn’t interfere with your day.

Prenatal Care Tips for 28 Weeks Pregnant

Here are some important prenatal care tips to follow when you are 28 weeks pregnant:

Monitor Fetal Movement Patterns

Pay close attention to baby’s normal routine of movements and jabs throughout the day. Notice if you feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours. Report any decrease in activity to your medical provider right away, as it may be a sign of potential problems.

Attend Prenatal Checkups

Your checkup schedule likely increases to every 2 weeks now until 36 weeks, then weekly visits until delivery. These appointments help monitor your health and baby’s growth to catch any issues early. Urine and blood pressure will be checked and fetal heartbeat monitored.

Get Vaccinated

Receive the Tdap vaccine between 27-36 weeks pregnant to pass on pertussis antibodies to your baby that will protect them from whooping cough until they can get their own vaccine at 2 months old. The flu shot is also recommended during pregnancy.

Address Stress and Anxiety

This is an emotional time full of many changes and uncertainties. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about any feelings of depression, excessive stress, or anxiety. They can connect you with helpful resources for support.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water, as dehydration is common during pregnancy and can cause complications like contractions and preterm labor. Aim for at least 80-100 oz of fluids per day. Have a water bottle with you at all times.

Monitor Weight Gain

You should gain around 1 pound per week during the third trimester, for a total of 12-14 pounds. Track your weight gain and discuss the rate of gain with your doctor. Adjust your diet and exercise routine if needed to stay within the recommended range.

Exercise Safely

Staying active provides many benefits, but use caution as relaxin hormone makes joints looser and balance trickier. Opt for low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga. Drink plenty of water and avoid getting overheated.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy. Take your prenatal vitamin and any other supplements recommended by your doctor daily. Eat small, frequent meals every 2-3 hours to help with digestion.

Practice Good Sleep Habits

Getting quality sleep may be challenging, but it’s extremely vital in the third trimester. Nap during the day if needed. Use pillows for support. Establish a relaxing pre-bed routine. Avoid screens before bed. Talk to your doctor if insomnia persists.

Planning for Labor and Delivery at 28 Weeks

The third trimester is a great time to start actively planning for labor and delivery. Here are some important steps to take when 28 weeks pregnant:

Take Childbirth Classes

Now is the ideal time to start taking childbirth preparation classes through your hospital or independent programs. These classes cover what to expect during labor, different birthing options, pain management techniques, and more. They help expectant couples feel empowered. Many classes also offer hospital tours.

Create a Birth Plan

Think about your preferences for the birth experience and create a written birth plan to share with your medical team well in advance. Outline your wishes regarding pain relief, labor positions, medical interventions, immediate newborn care, and any other considerations to help guide decision-making.

Pack Your Hospital Bag

Having your bag ready to grab will give you peace of mind when labor begins. Include clothing and toiletries for yourself and baby, phone charger, insurance cards, birth plan copy, and postpartum recovery essentials like pads, nipple cream, and peri bottle. Don’t forget any items to help pass time during early labor like books, magazines or portable speakers.

Prepare Childcare for Older Kids

If you have older children, make sure childcare plans are lined up for when you go into labor. You’ll need someone you trust to care for them while you are in the hospital giving birth and during the initial postpartum period when you need to focus on recovering and bonding with the new baby.

Installing Infant Car Seat

Install your infant car seat base securely in your vehicle. Read the instructions carefully or get help from a certified technician. You cannot leave the hospital until baby can be properly secured in an appropriate car seat, so make this a priority well in advance.

Choose Your Pediatrician

Select the pediatrician you want to care for your baby after birth and make sure they will have hospital privileges at the location you plan to deliver. Schedule an introductory visit to ask any questions and get established as a new patient before the due date.

What to Expect at 28 Week Prenatal Visit

Here’s an overview of what you can typically expect during your 28 week prenatal checkup:

  • Weight and blood pressure: Your weight gain and blood pressure will be measured to ensure you are within normal range. Rapid weight gain or high blood pressure may be warning signs of preeclampsia.
  • Urine test: A urine sample will be checked for signs like protein or sugar that could indicate potential complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
  • Measuring uterine growth: Your fundal height will be measured from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus to gauge baby’s growth rate in the womb. Measurements often start deviating from the norm closer to due dates.
  • Fetal heart rate: Baby’s heart rate will be checked via Doppler to ensure it falls within the normal range of 120-160 bpm.
  • Baby’s position: Your provider will feel the abdomen to get a sense of baby’s position as they prepare to drop down into the pelvis in preparation for birth. Breech positioning may start to become apparent.
  • Discussion of tests: Your doctor may recommend getting a Group B Strep test around weeks 35-37 or starting nonstress tests and ultrasounds for high risk pregnancies.
  • Address questions/concerns: Your provider will discuss any concerns you’re having and answer questions about what to expect in the upcoming weeks as you near your due date. Don’t be afraid to ask about body changes, discomforts, hospital preregistration, birthing options, and anything else on your mind!

Tips for Coping With Common Discomforts at 28 Weeks

You may experience various aches and pains more frequently at this stage. Here are some tips to help relieve common third trimester discomforts:

Back Pain

  • Use heat and cold therapy on painful areas
  • Try pregnancy pillows or wedge cushions for sleep
  • Wear supportive shoes with low heels
  • Practice sitting with good posture
  • Get regular massages or see a chiropractor

Leg Cramps

  • Do calf and foot stretches before bed
  • Take warm baths to relax muscles
  • Stay active but avoid standing for long periods
  • Consider magnesium supplements
  • Apply heat pads or cold packs to painful areas

Heartburn

  • Avoid spicy, acidic, greasy, and fried foods
  • Eat small frequent meals instead of large ones
  • Drink beverages between instead of during meals
  • Sleep propped up with pillows
  • Chew gum to increase saliva after meals

Trouble Sleeping

  • Establish a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
  • Use pregnancy pillows for support
  • Sleep propped up with pillows
  • Avoid screen time before bed
  • Nap during the day if extremely fatigued
  • Ask your doctor about safe sleep aids

Hemorrhoids

  • Use a cold compress orwitch hazel pads to relieve pain and itching
  • Take warm baths and avoid prolonged sitting
  • Treat constipation promptly with diet, fluids, exercise
  • Consider a pregnancy-safe topical cream or suppository

Preparing Your Home and Nursery at 28 Weeks

Use these remaining 12 weeks to get your house ready for baby’s arrival! Here are some tips:

Deep Clean the House

Once baby arrives, you won’t have much time for cleaning and chores. Do a deep clean throughout the house now – wash baseboards, curtains, sanitize surfaces, shampoo carpets, etc.

Wash Baby Clothes and Linens

Wash all of baby’s clothing, blankets, crib sheets, burp cloths etc. using a gentle baby detergent. This will make them soft, fresh, and ready for use.

Set Up the Crib and Change Table

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly assemble the crib, dresser, and other nursery furniture. Add a fitted crib sheet, change pad, and stock the diaper changing station with essentials.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you don’t already have them, install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors for safety. Check existing detectors to ensure they are working and have fresh batteries.

Baby Proof Your Home

Get down at baby’s level and assess potential hazards. Put corner guards on sharp edges, install safety gates near stairs, lock away cleaning products, cover outlets, and anchor heavy furniture to the walls.

Stock Up on Postpartum Supplies

Buy pads, disposable underwear, nipple cream, witch hazel pads, and other items you’ll need for healing after delivery. Have easy snacks and meals ready to prepare in advance.

Freeze Healthy Meals

Spend a day cooking hearty meals like soups, chilis, and casseroles. Freeze individual portions to easily reheat on busy nights after baby is born. This will save you time and money.

FAQs: 28 Weeks Pregnant

What tests are done at 28 weeks pregnant?

Your routine prenatal labs, glucose screening, and anemia screening should have already been completed by 28 weeks. No additional standard tests are typically performed at 28 weeks specifically. However, your doctor may order tests like Group B Strep, biophysical profiles, non-stress tests, or growth ultrasounds as needed later in the third trimester for high risk pregnancies.

How much weight should I gain at 28 weeks pregnant?

You should gain around 1 pound per week in the third trimester, for a total of 12-14 pounds. The recommended total weight gain for women starting pregnancy at a normal BMI is 25-35 pounds. Your doctor will let you know if you should modify your weight gain pace based on your specific situation.

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