Welcome to Week 28! If you haven’t noticed already, growth in the third trimester can be a little uneven—both for you and your baby. Some weeks it might seem like not much is changing, only to have a big growth week next week. But don’t worry! As long as you’re gaining a healthy amount of weight and your baby is healthy, every pregnancy is unique and every baby grows at a different pace. So you’re not following exactly the same plan as friends or relatives (or even previous pregnancies)? No big deal!
If you’re wondering if you’re finally in the third trimester, the answer is yes. Not everyone agrees on exactly when the trimester breaks occur—some sources say the third trimester begins in Week 27. Others in Week 28. Whatever the source, by this time there’s no question you’re in the final third of your pregnancy.
At this point, you are still likely having monthly visits with your healthcare provider. During these visits, your doctor will be testing for a number of issues, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, group-B streptococcus infection, and ABO blood type testing, among others. You will probably also be counseled to start doing kick counts, in which you count the number of kicks you feel in a certain time period.
You might have also noticed that you’re experiencing weird or very vivid dreams during pregnancy. This is common among pregnant women. There are a number of reasons pregnant women seem to report stronger and sometimes more unsettling dreams. First and most obviously, it’s harder to fall into a deep sleep, so you spend more time in REM sleep, which is when people have dreams they remember.
But the phenomenon goes deeper than that: if dreams are your mind’s way of blowing off steam and working through issues, there’s a lot of material to work with during pregnancy. As magical as pregnancy is, it comes with a lot of stress. There are questions about your health, your baby’s health, your relationship, and what’s going to happen after the baby is born. Pregnant women and their partners may find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the thought of having a baby, or wondering how their personalities will change after the baby is born. You might even find yourself dreaming about your baby, both good and bad. You might have recurrent dreams or dreams that make you very anxious.
Many moms-to-be enjoy this vivid dream life—others find it upsetting. If you’re one of the moms who isn’t liking your dreams, try keeping a dream journal and finding a trusted friend or confidant to talk to so you can work out issues the dreams are provoking.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 26 weeks. The baby is probably somewhere between 2.25 and 2.5 pounds and about 15 inches long from the tip of his or her to the tips of the toes. If your baby were a vegetable, they’d be a decent-sized eggplant, and your formerly skinny baby is starting to pack on the fat now.
Speaking of dreams, you might be interested to know that researchers believe a 28-week-old baby is fully capable of dreaming. Right around now, the brain takes a major developmental leap forward. The surface of the brain is starting to form the wrinkles and grooves on the surface, and the brain size is expanding. All of this neurological development means your baby is also probably have some active dreaming—perhaps of the only things he or she knows: your voice and heartbeat, the sound of your partner’s and siblings voices, and the hazy light that sometimes filters into their world.
It’s good that your baby’s brain is getting more interesting, because right around now movement starts to get harder. A typical baby at 28 weeks will begin to start migrating into the position he or she will be in for the duration of the pregnancy and into birth: head down, arms and legs curled up into a ball. But this doesn’t mean there’s no activity! When your baby’s not still squirming and moving around, he or she is breathing amniotic fluid, sucking, blinking, hiccupping, and making faces in response to the outside world.