Man has his arms around his pregnant partner and is kissing her on the cheek

Pregnancy weeks

Pregnancy week 28

Preparing to breastfeed

Whichever way you calculate it, you are now in the third trimester! As already mentioned in the 26th week of pregnancy, various sources specify different weeks for when the various trimesters start and finish. But now there is no longer any doubt. Read on to find out why you might be finding it more difficult to sleep now you're 28 weeks pregnant, as well as why you get out of breath more quickly and what your baby is up to.

What's going on inside you at 28 weeks pregnant?

The size of the foetus is around 38 cm (crown - heel) and it weighs approx. 1000 grams.

Your baby is busy practising its facial expressions: it can turn up its nose, yawn, frown and smile. However, these facial expressions are not for any particular reason – your baby's movements purely serve to develop the facial muscles. It also closes its eyes when it is sleeping and opens them when it is awake. Your little one also now has its own sleep cycle.

Your baby is now roughly the size of a large aubergine!

Your baby is now roughly the size of a large aubergine!

The eyes have still not yet taken on their final colour, but other than that, they are fully developed. The lungs are producing more surfactant (a compound word made up of the individual words "surface active agent"). Without this substance, we are unable to breathe, as it ensures that the air sacs in the lungs do not collapse. The production of this essential material begins when you are around 24 weeks pregnant and continues until the 34th week of pregnancy – it is therefore a key reason why breathing poses a huge challenge to premature babies. If a premature birth is imminent, the mother will be given an injection of corticosteroids to encourage the production of surfactant.

A premature baby would now stand a very good chance of surviving outside the womb.

How do you feel at 28 weeks pregnant?

Many pregnant women now find it difficult to sleep – and this can be for various reasons:

  • Hormones
  • Anxiety due to the changing situation and impending birth
  • Back pain
  • Sleeping position: people who sleep on their fronts or backs find it more difficult
  • Pressure on the bladder

The uterus is undergoing some changes to slowly enable the baby to get into the best position for the birth: it becomes wider at the top, and longer and narrower at the bottom. However, your little one still has a few weeks to get its head down ready in its final position.

The increasing expansion of the uterus means there is less space for the rest of your organs, including your lungs. This can mean that you literally lose your breath more quickly and become short of breath.

Many pregnant women are now already starting to "leak": they may begin secreting colostrum (the first form of breast milk) from the breasts.

Gentle washing is best to prepare for breastfeeding. Avoid shower gel or soap and just wash your breasts with water, so as not to irritate the skin. If your skin is very dry, your care routine could also include putting cream on your nipples. Allowing some air to your breasts and going without a bra can help your breasts to "firm up" sufficiently. However, you should NEVER brush or scrub your nipples – this could lead to damaging them in the worst-case scenario.

If you have very flat or inverted nipples (also referred to as retracted or invaginated nipples), talk to your midwife or doctor to see if there is anything you can or should do.

Actual inverted nipples are very rare. They do not become erect when stimulated, but remain inverted. However, there is no way of knowing whether they will be a problem in breastfeeding, since much depends on how the baby gets on with them. Some babies don't have any problem creating a suction vacuum, others need the stimulus of the nipple on their gums to enable them to drink. Breastfeeding can even change the form of slightly inverted or retracted nipples. As breastfeeding is best for baby, it is always worth just trying it!

If there are breastfeeding groups or people available to give advice on breastfeeding near where you live, these are a great way of obtaining information, sharing ideas and getting some practical help. Most areas also have midwives who provide specific advice on breastfeeding.

Photo: Unsplash

You may also be interested in the following:

Pregnancy week 27

Initial provisions for your baby

Pregnancy week 29

Practice contractions or labour contractions?

The third trimester: welcoming a new life

with MAM-expert Dr. Tony (Tao) Duan