28 Weeks Pregnant: Fetus, Belly, Symptoms and Weight Gain

From Week 28 right up to your labor, this period is called the third trimester of pregnancy. As your baby grows bigger, your belly will also continue to expand, and the signs and symptoms of the third trimester will start making themselves felt. The start of the final trimester…how will this week be like?

28 Weeks Pregnant: Weight gain

pregnant woman banana

The fundal height of the uterus in Week 28 is 10.2–13.4 in (26–34 cm) and the top of the uterus is now about 3 in (7.6 cm) above your navel. From this period onward, you might suddenly feel like you have an endless craving for sweet food.

This is because the preferred main source of energy and nutrients for the fetus is glucose, and the hormones in the mother’s body break glucose down to meet the fetus’ needs. As a result, your body might not have enough glucose, and that prompts you (or tempts you!) to eat more sweet foods.

In Week 28 of pregnancy, the ideal weight gain is about 1 pound (450 grams) every week and about 4 lbs (1.8 kg) in each month of the third trimester. If you really need to eat some sweet food, try some bananas – they are rich in potassium which reduces the risk of you getting preeclampsia (a serious case of gestational hypertension). Also, you might want to consider eating yogurt as well, as it helps combat constipation.

Overeating sweets could result in unhealthy weight gain. In order not to let this weight gain snowball, don’t lose to temptation and do your best to exercise some self-control.

28 Weeks Pregnant: Third trimester nausea

pregnant lying down lie down relax

The start of the third trimester might spell the return of morning sickness and other symptoms like indigestion, heartburn, nausea, gastric pain and burping. These symptoms might reappear because the expanding uterus presses against the stomach and esophagus. When the baby “drops” – moves down to the lower part of the uterus – these symptoms might let up a bit, but this is not necessarily the case for everyone.

Some women have these symptoms up until the last month of pregnancy. Chew your food in small amounts and eat easily digestible food so as to not burden your stomach. Also, refraining from lying down in the two hours after eating helps to reduce the severity of your symptoms.

28 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly

Week28 scan

The fetus grows to a height of 15.4–16.1 in (39–41 cm) and weighs 2.2–2.9 lbs (1–1.3 kg) in Week 28. The fetus has most of the basic systems required for survival in the world outside the womb. The fetus will actively move the diaphragm up and down and practice how to breathe.

Fetus’ growth

  • Fetus is able to regulate own body temperature
  • Responds to light, sound, taste and smell
  • Fetus is able to move eyeballs
  • Skin becomes whitish and smooth
  • Fetus “breathes” in and expels amniotic fluid as a practice for “real-life” breathing
  • Fetus accumulates white adipose tissue (WAT, or white fat), which is a large energy reserve in the body, and kickstarts its own bodily insulation

Preparation: Hospital stay, labor, baby care products

baby products

It’s time to start packing your bags and preparing for the upcoming hospital stay and birth if you haven’t done so! Unfortunately, there isn’t any time left for you to procrastinate. Your big belly slowing you down in all you do puts stress on your body and that doesn’t help make things any easier.

What you can do is this: prepare for the stay in the hospital. You might want to think about what you would like to have with you while you await the birth of the baby or when you’re done with the delivery and resting. If you haven’t thought of a birth plan yet, do spend some time ruminating over it. Playing it out scene by scene in your head might also help you mentally prepare for labor.

Take note: Symptoms of a preterm labor

heart doctor

When there are symptoms pointing to a preterm labor, you should either take a rest at home or admit yourself to the hospital as soon as you can. If you are at risk of a preterm labor, you might be given antenatal corticosteroids or antenatal magnesium sulfate. Antenatal corticosteroids help to speed up the maturation of the fetus’ lungs to increase the fetus’ chance at a healthy life. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the long term effects of antenatal corticosteroids have yet to be determined, and there are no known adverse short-term effects.1

Antenatal magnesium sulfate, on the other hand, reduces the risk of a preterm baby being born with cerebral palsy. It is reported that antenatal magnesium sulfate can cause side effects like nausea and vomiting. The ACOG advises against using magnesium sulfate for more than 5–7 days, and only supports short-term use for up to 48 hours.2

Do note that none of the aforementioned drugs can prevent or delay a preterm labor for sure, and science has not yet come up with definitive preventive measures. The drugs also come with their possible side effects and risk, so make sure you have a good in-depth consultation with your practitioner first. A procedure that does not involve the introduction of drugs into your system is getting a cervical cerclage, a surgery that helps prevent premature birth through the stitching up of the cervix with strong sutures.

A preterm labor is caused by infections like chorioamnionitis (CAM, inflammation of the placenta’s membrane) or by abnormalities like cervical incompetence. Symptoms can include lower abdominal pains, abdominal tightness or bleeding. A preterm birth is a labor that takes place before Week 37, so be on the alert for any anomalies that could very well be pointing to a preterm labor.

3 more months to the birth!

woman relax

Once you reach the third trimester mark, it’s only another 3 months until you go into labor. Although that might still seem relatively far away, when you actually do start preparing for the stay in the hospital, the labor and caring for an infant, you might feel that you don’t have sufficient time to do everything you have to! It won’t be long before Baby bids goodbye to its current home in your belly, so use the remaining time you have left before you meet Baby to mentally prepare yourself for parenthood!