Week 28 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Welcome to week 28 of your pregnancy and the first week of your third—and final—trimester. Just 12 more weeks until you meet your baby. (As a reminder, not all experts agree when each trimester begins and ends. We follow the guide set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.)

week 28 pregnancy highlights
Illustration by Verywell

Your Trimester: Third trimester

Weeks to Go: 12

You This Week

At 28 weeks pregnant, you’ve likely gained between 17 and 24 pounds. The weight coupled with your hormones might be amping up your back pain. At the same time, your ever-growing baby might very well be putting more pressure than usual on your sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body, causing a namesake condition called sciatica.

Sciatica feels different than run-of-the-mill late-pregnancy back pain because it radiates down your rear end, leg, knee, foot, and toes, causes tingling along the way. (Pain is generally one-sided; two-sided pain is possible, but less common. Severe sciatica can cause pain in your groin area, too.) 

Other not-so-pleasant side effects that keep on coming in the third trimester include leg cramps, constipation, and insomnia.

Your Baby This Week

Your growing 2½-pound baby-to-be is filling out due to the steady development of fat storage beneath his or her skin. Also plumping up: baby’s brain. Up until week 28, the surface of your baby’s brain was relatively smooth. Now, however, grooves and folds are forming thanks to an upgrowth in brain tissue. At the same time, your baby is already experiencing sleep cycles and can now enjoy deeper sleep, complete with dreams.

In more week-28 news: Baby’s eyelids can open and close. The umbilical cord, which has been growing since week 5, has finally reached its peak length, between 22 to 24 inches. By week’s end, your baby will be roughly 14¼ inches long.

At Your Doctor’s Office

The first prenatal visit of your third trimester often occurs on week 28 of pregnancy. From now until week 36, you’ll see your healthcare provider every two weeks. After that, you’ll have weekly office visits until your baby arrives. This appointment will be much like the rest unless you tested Rh negative at a prior visit.

Early in your pregnancy, you had a blood test to measure your Rh factor, a protein found in most people’s red blood cells. If you don’t have it, but your baby does, that means you (Rh negative) and your baby (Rh positive) are incompatible. While Rh incompatibility in and of itself is not a problem, it becomes one if your baby’s Rh-positive blood mixes with your Rh-negative blood, which can happen during delivery.

Rh-incompatibility can result in anemia and jaundice; in extreme cases, when there has been no medical intervention, it can also cause brain damage.

However, your healthcare provider can help prevent these issues by giving you an Rh immune globulin shot at week 28, and then again within 73 hours after delivery. These shots make your immune system less able to recognize—and attack—Rh-positive blood from your baby that has entered your bloodstream.

Upcoming Doctor's Visits

At your next prenatal appointment, your healthcare provider may feel around your abdomen to see if your baby is in the head-, feet-, or rear-first position. There’s no need to panic if your baby isn’t already head-down, which is the preferred birthing position. He or she still has 12 weeks to get it right.

Taking Care

Sciatica pain shoots down your back, rear, legs, and sometimes all the way to your feet and toes, and can be quite debilitating. If you suspect sciatica, visit your healthcare provider for confirmation. From there, he or she may recommend a variety of options to help ease your pain including:

  • Laying on the side of your body opposite to where you feel discomfort
  • Abstaining from any heavy lifting
  • Taking breaks from standing for extended periods of time
  • Taking warm showers
  • Looking into acupuncture: Here, hair-thin needles are inserted to specific points in the body that are thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  • Seeking prenatal massage therapy: When massage therapy targets your lower back, pelvis, thigh, and legs, it can increase your range of motion and lessen pain.
  • Visiting a chiropractor
  • Going to physical therapy for an evaluation and to learn stretching and strengthening exercises.

(It’s always best to ask any practitioner you are working with if they are comfortable treating women who are pregnant.)

As you get closer and closer to week 40, your baby-to-be will shift his or her position, which can reduce your discomfort as well. Know that pregnancy-related sciatica almost always fades after birth.

For Partners

Reality might be very much kicking in right about now. Why? Because of actual baby kicks. For many partners, pregnancy can feel abstract until they see or feel movements from the outside, and that starts around week 28.

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.
  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.
  • Continue doing your Kegel exercises daily.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you suspect sciatica.
Overview of Pregnancy Week 29
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