It’s now week 28 and that means there are only 13 more weeks left in your pregnancy! The time really does go by fast doesn’t it? Your doctor’s appointments will increase now and so will your need to find a bathroom! Your baby is really getting big now and his body fat is piling on. Growth from this point forward is rapid.


Your Baby this Week

Your baby is now around the size of an aubergine, or about 34 to 38cm (13 to 15 inches) long and weighing in at between 680 grammes and 1kg (1.5 to 2.2lbs)


His eyes blink constantly now and they even have fully developed eyelashes. He can also see light and react to it. In fact, if a bright light were placed on your belly, your baby would turn his head towards the light. Neurons in his little brain are continuing to develop by the billions as the brain’s centres are defined. Your baby’s body is now rapidly creating fat that will keep him warm and fill out all those wrinkles in his skin. He currently has about 2 or 3 percent body fat.


Your baby’s muscles are constantly working now and muscle tone is increasing. Every movement is like exercise to your baby as he prepares for life outside the womb. He can hold his head up straight now as the neck muscles are more developed. These muscles will continue to develop after birth until at a couple of months old he will finally be able to lift his head.


Your baby’s lungs are still immature, but even at this early stage in your pregnancy, his lungs are developed enough that if he were born now, he could survive with medical help.



Your Body this Week

During week 28 of your pregnancy you may notice that you have to urinate much more frequently than you did in previous weeks. This is because your baby is so much larger now and is pressing against your bladder constantly. Even if your bladder contains a small amount of urine, with the added weight, it may feel like it is about to burst.


At 28 weeks of pregnancy, many doctors will want to see you at least every other week. The visits are pretty standard and include the routine tests that you are already familiar with; weight, blood pressure, urine, the size of your uterus, the baby’s heartbeat, and a test for RH factor.


So, what is RH factor? Most doctors will test for RH factor and talk to you about it around now. RH factor (Rhesus factor) is a part of the normal blood testing that you received earlier in your pregnancy. About 85 percent of all women are RH positive, which is indicated by a positive sign (+) and means that their blood type is either a+, B+, or AB+. When a woman is positive (+), or if both the mum and dad are negative (-), there will not be any problems.


Problems can occur when there is RH incompatibility; if the mum is RH negative and the dad is RH positive. If the baby is RH positive, his blood can mix with yours during delivery and causing you to develop antibodies to protect you. For a first pregnancy, RH incompatibility is not dangerous. However, once a mum develops RH antibodies, future pregnancies are at risk as the RH antibodies can attack the red bloods cells of the baby and cause severe anaemia.


If you are at risk, you will be given an RH-immune globulin around the 28 week stage and shortly after you deliver your baby. If you have RH antibodies, you will be monitored closely and your doctor will probably recommend that you have an amniocentesis to test the baby’s blood. The condition is easily treatable if caught early advance.



Pregnancy Tip


You will most likely have your partner with you in the delivery room. You’ve started your childbirth classes and know what to do. But, you may also want to consider the services of a doula. What is a doula?


A doula is a labour assistant who is trained to give the mum and dad support during labour. Even if you and your partner were the top students in your childbirth classes, it’s real easy to forget what you have learned when you are in the throes of labour.


Studies have shown that women who use the services of a doula have shorter labour and are less likely to use pain medication or need a forceps delivery or caesarean section. (Note that not all hospitals in Ireland are open to having a second birth partner present at delivery – contact your maternity unit to check.)