You've reached the third trimester! Congratulations. You've made it through a lot of trials and tribulations up to this point, so give yourself a pat on the back (if you can reach). You might be wondering what to expect now that you're in the first week of your final trimester. Read on to find out all about what's going on with you and your baby at 28 weeks pregnant.
- By this time, you've likely gained 15 to 25 pounds. You might be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions in preparation for labor.
- By this time, your baby weighs between two and three pounds and measures 15 inches from head to toe.
- If your baby is delivered at this stage, it's considered extremely pre-term. It can, however, survive outside the womb with medical assistance. 80 to 90 percent of babies delivered at 28 weeks survive, with around 10% experiencing lasting complications.
Body Changes at 28 Weeks Pregnant
When you are 28 weeks pregnant, you have probably gained between 15 and 25 pounds. You may be experiencing leg cramps and mild swelling of ankles and feet, shortness of breath, lower abdominal pain, varicose veins, heartburn and indigestion. You may also be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions in preparation for labor. Hemorrhoids may develop around this time.
You will probably begin seeing your health care provider every two weeks at this point. He or she probably sent you for some blood tests early in your pregnancy. One thing blood tests measure is the Rh factor, a substance found in the red blood cells of most people. If you don't have it (you're Rh negative) but your baby does (is Rh positive), there is potential for your baby to have health problems, such as jaundice and anemia. Your doctor can prevent these problems by giving you a vaccine called Rh immune globulin at 28 weeks and again after delivery. Your doctor may also schedule a glucose tolerance test.
Your Baby's Growth and Development at Week 28
During week 28 of pregnancy, your baby now weighs about two to three pounds and measures about 15 inches from head to toe. During this week, your baby will grow another one-half inch in size.
At your next prenatal appointment, your health care provider may tell you whether your baby is headfirst or feet- or bottom-first (called breech position) in the womb. Babies who are in the breech position may need to be delivered by cesarean section. Your baby still has two months to change position, though, so don't worry if your baby is in the breech position right now. Most babies will switch positions on their own.
The folds and grooves of your baby's brain continue to develop and expand. In addition, your baby continues to add layers of fat and has continued hair growth. The baby's eyes can now open and close and their muscle tone is increasing.
Although lungs are still immature, they are capable of sustaining life in the event of a premature birth (with some medical help).
Things to Do at 28 Weeks Pregnant
Now that you're 28 weeks pregnant, there's some things you'll need to do if you haven't already. In addition, you'll want to continue doing some of the things you were doing previously. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with a qualified medical professional.
Be aware of the risk for infection. Your immune system is compromised while pregnant, so you need to be extra careful about germs. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds, and avoid areas where you're likely to get sick. Make sure you're up-to-date on all vaccinations, especially those for the flu and COVID-19. Carry hand sanitizer with you to use after leaving public places, or before eating.
Talk to your doctor about newborn screening tests. There are a series of tests that will be performed on your newborn to assess them for certain conditions and issues. Your doctor may have already talked to you about these, but if not, it doesn't hurt to ask so you're prepared.
Be prepared for the possibility of a premature delivery. Your baby will still be considered extremely preterm at this point, but it is possible for a delivery to happen at this time. Premature deliveries can happen as a result of extreme stress or other complications, or by choice if necessary to save your life in an emergency. Around 80 to 90 percent of preemies born at 28 weeks will survive; around 10% of preemies born at this stage have long-lasting complications.
Manage your mental health. You might be getting more stressed about the arrival of your baby. It's important to manage stress and anxiety, as these issues can be detrimental to you and your baby. Set boundaries for yourself and in your relationships. If you find you're unable to manage your stress or anxiety on your own, speak to a doctor or to a qualified mental health professional.
Continue avoiding alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, and caffeine. All of these things are dangerous to your baby. They can cause severe developmental issues or even death. If you are struggling to avoid these substances while pregnant, talk to your doctor or to a mental health professional. They can help you overcome this challenge.
Ask your doctor about pregnancy vitamins. Your doctor may have already prescribed these to you, but if not, it doesn't hurt to ask. Never start taking vitamins without a doctor's order; it's easier to overdose on vitamins than you think. If you have a balanced diet and lifestyle, you shouldn't need to take too many vitamins, if any at all.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know at 28 weeks pregnant. Your baby's delivery date is rapidly approaching! This is both a very exciting and very stressful time for you. If you want to learn more, feel free to check out the other articles we have on pregnancy, childbirth, and life with a newborn. If you have any further concerns or questions, please speak with your doctor. They're your best resource at this time. Congratulations, and good luck!