Welcome to the first week of your third and final trimester. Although you’re definitely looking pregnant by now, you’re not quite at that stage of feeling so big you’re getting clumsy. You can still navigate your way comfortably around and not feel as if all you want to do is to lie down. Although by the end of the day your ankles and feet may be getting a bit swollen, by the next morning they should be back to their normal size.
This may be the time you need to branch out into some proper maternity clothes. Going for larger sizes with stretchy waistbands may have worked until now, but by 28 weeks you’ll probably need some clothes that are designed and cut with a pregnant belly in mind.
Can someone please open a window?
If you’re one of the unlucky ones who experience nausea throughout their pregnancy, you may find some relief in your third trimester. By now, you’ve experimented with different foods to see what you can tolerate and what’s unbearable, but even cooking smells and just the thought of some foods may still turn you off.
Some pregnant women develop a complication with extreme nausea and vomiting. Women who have experienced this level of unrelenting nausea say that there is almost an instant relief of their symptoms at the moment of their baby’s birth.
Who’s that sitting in my chair?
Think about investing in a comfortable chair if you don’t have one. You will be spending an increasing amount of time sitting before you have the baby and after it is born. Feeding a newborn consumes hours of every day, so does cuddling, gazing and staring at their little face. A chair that isn’t too hard to get up and out of is essential. Look for one with well-positioned arm rests. A footstool is an added bonus and you’ll find this increasingly useful as your pregnancy proceeds.
Your baby’s growth this week
Your baby is growing up a storm in your 28th week; putting on weight and filling out beautifully. All those extra kilos your baby needs to fuel his/her growth will start at your mouth with the foods you are eating. There’s been an enormous amount of research that maternal influence on children is long-term. One of the most influential factors within your control is your diet and the quality of the foods you eat while you are pregnant. It has also been proven that avoiding cigarette smoking and illicit drugs, alcohol, and generally living in a safe, clean community are other primary factors in determining a positive outcome for children as well. What this means is how you look after yourself when you are pregnant will affect your baby in a major way, as your baby grows into adulthood.
Your physical changes this week:
- Stretch marks could be appearing on your tummy now. If you’ve avoided them until now, don’t be alarmed. There is nothing you can do to stop them forming. Although they start out red and very visible, within a year or less they will fade to white and not be nearly as noticeable.
- Squatting and bending down is getting harder. You’ll discover the easier way of doing things in a hurry. Picking things up with your toes takes some getting used to but it can be done. If you have a desk job, organize your work routine to suit you. Your chair may need to be adjusted a couple of times a day.
- Your breasts could start producing colostrum, an early form of breastmilk. This is a clear to yellowish coloured thick fluid, which is very high in antibodies. It is a sign that your breasts are starting early lactation, getting ready to produce milk for your baby after it is born. If you have breastfed a baby previously, you may find you produce colostrum a little earlier.
Your emotional changes this week
- Feeling pregnant, looking pregnant, thinking pregnant can make your whole life seem to revolve around the coming baby. Some women long for their old identity at this stage of their pregnancy. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they improve. You won’t always be seen in terms of your relationship with the baby; it’s just that it’s become so obvious now.
- People may be fascinated by your belly and reach out to touch it. At best, they’ll ask before they do, or the first you know may be when complete strangers are stroking your belly. How you feel about this may depend on your mood on the day, or you might just find it all a bit intrusive.
- Work could be getting to you by now. Many women stay in paid employment until they are around 37-39 weeks pregnant but can wish they had applied for maternity leave a little earlier. Check with your Human Resource Management department regarding options in taking leave. Really think about the financial cost vs. the emotional and physical cost to you of staying for longer.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby continues to take practice breaths this week, breathing amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs and swallowing it as well. He/she can also suck, blink, roll, kick, grasp and hiccup.
- More REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep in week 28, which is so important for your baby’s brain. Studies have shown that newborns spend a large portion of their time in REM sleep as well, so your little one is getting in lots of practice beforehand.
- Your baby’s brain is changing from being soft and smoothly rounded to having the familiar grooves and indentations on its surface.
- This week your baby’s hair may be going through a growing phase. Some babies are born bald or with fine, almost invisible hair on their head. Others are born with a thatch of hair. There does seem to be some evidence to support the link between maternal heartburn and the quantity of hair a baby will have. Blame those pregnancy hormones again, it seems they are responsible for sharing a link between the two.
Tips for Week 28
- If you find yourself rushing to the toilet every five minutes, just sit tight. Chances are this is because the baby is lying in a particularly prominent position on top of your bladder. Try lying on your side to see if this prompts it to move into another position.
- Watch that indigestion and heartburn. Things will improve as your body stops making such high concentrations of relaxin and progesterone. Speaking of relaxin, your levels of this important hormone will be ten times higher during your pregnancy than what they are normally.
- Ease that back pain by doing strengthening exercises. Check with an obstetric physiotherapist about how you can target the muscles and joints which are causing you grief.
- If you have older children, this will be an opportunity for you to spend some quality, one on one time with them before they need to share your attention with their new sibling.