This week you've reached the third and final trimester of your pregnancy, which means that your due date is just 12 weeks away! Find out what's going on and what to expect now that you're 28 weeks pregnant.
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What’s happening at 28 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- Your partner or a friend might be able to hear your baby's heartbeat.
- You might start getting indigestion, or it may get worse if you're already suffering.
- You'll have your next midwife appointment this week.
- Time to start narrowing down baby names.
How big is your baby?
Your baby is now about the size of a birthday cake. This week your baby weighs a whopping 10 times more than they did at week 17 – roughly around 1kg and measuring about 37cm in length.
Your baby’s brain is developing grooves and channels, and the brain tissue is increasing in volume. Your little one's sense of smell and sight is developing too, so they'll be able to smell and see you when they arrive in the big, wide world.
By now, your baby’s heart rate will be nice and strong. Your partner or a freind may even be able to hear the baby’s heart beating if they put their ear against your tummy.
If you already have kids, here's a fun way to help them bond with their growing sibling: Grab an empty loo roll tube and a kitchen funnel. Pop the funnel in one end of the loo roll and secure with tape. Then place the funnel up against your bump and let your child listen through the other end – voila! A homemade stethoscope!
Don't use homemade stethoscopes or even shop-bought foetal heart rate monitors to judge your baby's health, though. They're not reliable, and it's easy to mistake your own heartbeat for your baby's.
The best way to keep an eye on your baby's health between midwife appointments is to get used to their pattern of movement, and alert your midwife immediately if the movements slow down or stop.
What's going on with your body?
As well as carrying the weight of your growing baby, you're also carrying the added weight of the placenta, amniotic fluid and extra blood your body’s pumping around your system.
All this can mean that space is starting to get tight for your digestive system, so heartburn can be an unwelcome side-effect.
You may be craving a curry, but spicy , fried and very rich foods can also make heartburn worse. Avoid eating late at night, too. The good news is that there are antacids that are safe to take in pregnancy, so see your GP if you're suffering.
If you want to take over-the-counter antacids, always check with a pharmacist first, as some may not be safe for your developing baby.
You may also be feeling out of breath . This is pretty common in later pregnancy. It's caused by the pressure of your growing uterus, which means that your diaphragm has less space to move as far down as it normally would, when you breathe in.
It's not uncommon to start having vivid dreams about your labour and birth or to be anxious about the experience that lies ahead. Talking to family and friends who've had children should help relieve some of these worries and fears.
You can also head to the Netmums forum to read other women's real life birth stories , which can give you more of an idea of what to expect.
What to expect this week: your 28 week antenatal appointment
At this week's appointment, your midwife will offer you several health checks. They should:
- Use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus. It should measure 28cm – give or take 2cm. If you're measuring smaller or larger than expected, your midwife may refer you for a growth scan.
- Measure your blood pressure – low blood pressure can be quite common in pregnancy but high blood pressure can be a sign of pre-eclampsia . This can affect your pregnancy and your health and needs to be monitored closely, if you have the condition.
- Test your urine for protein – again this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia or of urinary tract infections (UTIs) , which can be common and painful in pregnancy.
- Offer more screening tests if required.
- Offer your first anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative blood type . This will prevent you from producing antibodies that attack the baby's blood cells. Your rhesus status will have been tested via a blood test at an earlier antenatal appointment.
- Recommend an iron supplement, if you're anaemic .
As well as this, make sure you ask any questions, go through any concerns and talk through your birth plan , if you've written it already.
Don't forget to take your antenatal notes along to your appointment, plus plenty of change for car parking (and your pot of wee if you've been given a pot), as always!
What to do this week: choose your baby's name
Now you're in your third trimester and on the home straight, it's time to start looking into baby names, if you haven't already found 'the one' for your bundle of joy-to-be.
Some parents who do have a name picked out in advance then find that their baby doesn't suit it, or they change their mind once they meet their baby. So, it's worth having a couple of back-ups, just in case.
Here are a few things to consider when you start to whittle down names:
- Think about initials: Mary Ann Darcy comes out as MAD. Samuel Thomas Davies is STD. So don't forget to check the initials, once you've got the names sorted.
- Make sure you check it sounds right with your surname. Generally a short name works well with a long surname, although not always.
- As cute as some names are for babies, think about when they get older and go to an important job interview. Will it still work?
Get more baby name help and inspiration here , check out our top tips for picking the right name , or read up on other parents' baby name regrets for more tips on what NOT to do.
Your 28 week to-do list
1 Start keeping tabs on your baby's kicks. If they slow down or stop, contact your midwife straight away.
2 Suffering with indigestion? Instead of eating three meals a day, try eating four or five smaller ones, to relieve the pressure on your digestive system.
3 Time to read up on your pain relief options so you can make a decision before you go into labour.
4 Talk to friends who've recently had babies about their experience. Knowing how they managed and getting tips will help you ease your anxieties.
5 If you're struggling at work now your bump is a bit bigger, talk to your manager or your HR department. Your employer is required by law to conduct a risk assessment for all employees, including pregnant women. If anything's not safe, they have to adjust your working conditions, offer you alternative work, or suspend you on paid leave.
What to watch this week...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 28 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
Pregnancy Week by Week
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What happens next week...
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