Welcome to week 28, the start of the final and third trimester.
Your baby that was the size of a cabbage last week is growing this week to the size of a large eggplant. Your little one measures 14.9 inches (37.9 cm) and weighs 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg). By this week, your baby has reached its maximum fetal growth rate.
Did you know that your baby might be dreaming? Scientists can detect rapid eye movement of babies in utero. Periods of REM sleep will increase as your baby grows. When your baby is awake, it can open and blink its eyes, and its vision improves.
A fetal non-stress test may be performed after 28 weeks if you feel like your baby is not moving as frequently as usual, if there is any reason to suspect the placenta is not functioning adequately, or if you are at high risk. This test involves attaching belts to your belly to measure fetal heart rate and contractions. This test can indicate fetal distress or if your baby is not receiving enough oxygen because of placental or umbilical cord problems.
At the start of the third-trimester prenatal appointments increase in frequency to every two weeks. Take advantage of those extra appointments to ask questions and get all of the answers you need to keep making excellent informed decisions for your baby. And take your partner with you. They are half of the equation, and it is a perfect opportunity to hear everything firsthand and ask any questions they may have.
Your uterine tissue growth slows from this point. It will continue to stretch and become thin to accommodate your growing baby. Your uterus has now moved to three inches above your navel. It is pressing against the tubes between the kidneys and bladder, which slows urine flow. Also, the hormone progesterone makes it more difficult for your urinary system to flush bacteria out of the bladder. All of this means that you are more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
According to the CDC, UTIs occur in about 8% of pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that if you are pregnant and think you may have a UTI, call your Ob-gyn right away because severe infections can cause problems for both you and your baby. Hence, it is essential to treat UTIs early. Learn the symptoms of a UTI during pregnancy, testing, prevention, treatment, and the evidence on home remedies.
During pregnancy, several physical changes can contribute to swelling. You have 45% more blood and fluids in your body. Your growing uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis and legs. Plus, elevated hormones during pregnancy can make the walls of your veins softer, which makes them not work as effectively. Normal swelling is physiologic edema caused by the accumulation of fluids in tissue. Swelling is common in legs and feet and can also show up in your hands, which you will notice when your rings don’t fit anymore. Numbness, tingling, or your legs and feet being achy can accompany edema. You can make many easy adjustments to help prevent and reduce swelling during pregnancy. See this episode for more information on swelling and edema and evidence-based treatments.
There are several changes during pregnancy that can contribute to back pain. Pregnancy hormones relax the joints between the bones in your pelvic area, which can be tough on your back and hips. Carrying around extra weight can also put additional strain on your back. Make sure you sit on chairs with good support, especially if you sit at a desk all day. You can use a pregnancy support pillow when sitting or lying down. Opt for shoes with good arch support, or use insoles to help protect your feet from issues that can come up. You can try a heating pad or an ice pack for some comfort. A prenatal massage may be helpful or ask your partner for a massage. If you are suffering from back pain that you cannot alleviate, please bring it up with your care provider.
Listen to this episode for more information on everything you can expect this trimester.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Give your significant other a massage; they are probably dealing with back pain. If you don’t feel like giving a massage, you could offer to run a bath so they can relax and get some relief or spring for a gift certificate to get a professional prenatal massage.
Want more evidence-based information to navigate your pregnancy and birth?
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