28 Weeks Pregnant: Seeing the Light!
Your baby’s eyes can sense light, and she's opening and closing them in dim red light of the womb. She's sticking her tongue out, to sip the amniotic fluid that surrounds her. It takes about 45 minutes for flavors from your last meal to drift into the fluid around her (so you are truly eating for 2, in that sense!) She's also practicing the little coughs, hiccups and sucking motions that she'll use after she's born. Her brain, which was previously smooth, is developing grooves that will become more deep and folded, like an adult brain.
Your baby is still a wee little thing, around 2 ¼ to 2 ½ lbs. and 16" long. Still, if she were born this week, her survival rate would be 90%—and her odds keep getting better as the weeks go on.
By this point, some babies have already settled into a head-down birth position…getting ready for the big day!
28 Weeks Pregnant: S’up with Your Bod?
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages exercise if your pregnancy is uncomplicated. And they don't mean just yoga—go ahead and do aerobic and strength conditioning activities the whole way through.
And ACOG now cautions against bed rest, stating that there is no medical evidence that it actually works to avoid pre-term labor. Despite this, some women are still put on some form of bed rest during their pregnancy, most commonly prescribed if you're carrying multiples, your cervix Is opening, etc. Bed rest doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be confined to your bed all day for the rest of your pregnancy.
Bed rest comes with plenty of negative side effects. If you work, it can cause problems on the job, or even cause you to lose it. It can also make it hard to take care of your family. And then there are the physical downsides—muscle atrophy, bone loss, and an increased risk of blood clots—as well as mental, like depression.
Bottom line: Listen to your body (don't push yourself), stay hydrated, reduce stress and get sleep, whether you are high-risk or not. And, check with your healthcare provider to discuss the risks and benefits of bed rest.
A To-Do List for Your 28th Week of Pregnancy
Schedule your prenatal appointments: From here on out, you'll visit your doctor or midwife every 2 weeks, then after 36 weeks, you'll visit every week. Because offices tend to be busy, and appointments book up quickly, take the time to schedule all these appointments now.
Decide on placenta encapsulation: Placentophagia, or the consumption of your placenta after birth, has gone from a niche practice to a celebrity-endorsed wellness trend. Proponents say that it helps them bounce back from labor faster. (Most evidence to support this is anecdotal.) If you’d like yours encapsulated, you will need to find someone to do it.
Start tracking fetal movements: Starting in the 3rd trimester, ACOG advises daily kick counting. It's pretty simple: pick a time when your baby is typically active, lay on your left side or sit in a supported position with your hand on your belly, and see how long it takes for you to feel 10 movement—kicks, turns, whatever. You should feel 10 movements within 2 hours, though most babies will move much more than that. If you aren't feeling much movement, or if the movement pattern deviates from the norm, call your care provider.
Up your iron: Anemia is common in pregnancy, especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when your baby needs more iron for development. If you aren't currently taking an iron supplement, now is a good time to add one. The CDC recommends taking 30 mg daily during pregnancy (ask your doctor), and your body will absorb it better if it's taken with vitamin C (a supplement or lemon juice squeezed on iron-rich foods include red meat, liver, beans, spinach and lentils). High-dosage iron supplements can cause constipation, so make sure to keep eating plenty of fiber and drinking lots of water.
Lingo Lesson: Moxibustion
This traditional Chinese therapy involves the burning of an herb called mugwort. During pregnancy, it's often used along with acupuncture as a safe and gentle way to turn breech babies. Dried mugwort is rolled into a cylinder and burned by an appropriate acupuncture point near the little toe, warming the skin. A study done in 2001 was successful in turning breech babies in around 73% of women. It's best to consult with a licensed acupuncturist when considering moxibustion.
Quote of the Week
She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. — Margaret Culkin Banning