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28 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 28 Weeks

In week 28, your baby’s skin is getting closer and closer to the flesh colour it will have after birth. The lanugo (downy protective hair covering your baby) is beginning to fall away and baby’s bones are hardening too.

Your little one’s brain is developing rapidly and grooves are beginning to appear on its surface. Baby should be experiencing regular sleep patterns around now, and some experts even believe she will be dreaming!

It’s time for another antenatal appointment. Your midwife will ask you about swelling in feet, ankles and hands. She will also check your blood pressure (to make sure there’s no pre-eclampsia). If you have Rhesus-negative blood (about 15% of people do) then your blood will be screened for antibodies and treatment (for example an injection of anti-D) may be necessary.

You’re now coming to the end of your second trimester! Doesn’t time fly? Speaking of flying, remember that flying may be somewhat restricted in your third trimester so if in doubt, check with your airline and GP. Not that you’re likely to want to go far anyway.

Keep thinking about your birth plan and making arrangements. Have you decided who your birth partner(s) will be? Do you want to have the baby at home or in hospital? Would you like to use a birthing pool? What are your thoughts on pain relief? Although bear in mind that you never know – your baby may have other ideas on the day!

Interestingly, studies have demonstrated that a mother’s breastfeeding success is often associated with the attitude of her partner. Be sure to tell Dad he has to do plenty around the house to help with meals and cleaning up, especially in the first few weeks – and even more so if you have a caesarean.
I’m itching all over. Is this normal?
It’s normal to itch rather a lot during pregnancy. Much of it is probably because your skin is stretching – so you may find it affects you most on your breasts and bump. Hormones are also a factor. For example itchiness and redness on the palms and soles of your feet is thought to be due to increased oestrogen levels. It should disappear after delivery.

If you have eczema, then it may get better or worse during pregnancy. Some women develop it for the first time during pregnancy. Some women also experience scabies or thrush during pregnancy. Scabies is caused by tiny mites that can be incredibly itchy.

Any skin irritation is worth talking to your medical professional about. It’s probably normal but it’s always good to check, especially if it’s concentrated in one area or accompanied by a rash.

What can I do to soothe itching in pregnancy?
Try to reduce warm baths or showers. Keep your skin well-moisturised but avoid strong or heavily perfumed soaps and moisturisers as they can make your skin dry and irritated.

Calamine lotion can be very soothing and some women have found adding oatmeal to a warm bath to be helpful, although there’s no evidence for the effectiveness of these remedies. If you have eczema, seek advice from your GP about which creams to use.

Try to keep yourself cool, as getting too hot can worsen itching. In any case, overheating can be unhealthy for your baby. So wear loose-fitting cotton clothes and avoid too much time in the sun.
Can itching harm my baby?
The itching in your skin in itself won’t affect your baby. However, in very rare cases, severe itching of the hands and feet in the third trimester can be a symptom of a liver problem called obstetric cholestasis (OC).
OC has some distinctive symptoms including:

  • Itching is often felt in the palm of a woman’s hands and the soles of her feet
  • Itching is not accompanied by a rash
  • The itching is often more severe at night
  • You may also pass pale-coloured stools and dark urine.

If you have severe itching, you should see your doctor. He or she will rule out all other likely causes before screening you for OC. The exact cause of it is unclear and it goes away after your baby is born. You’ll probably be given creams to help with the itching.

However, having OC increases the risk of premature labour. In cases of OC your doctor may even advise you to have labour induced for early birth. In any case, you and your baby will be provided with extra monitoring to make sure all is progressing well.

Possible Scan at Week 28
A 3D Ultrasound is a special scan that shows the baby in three dimensions. This forms part of a 4D Scan. The 4D Scan has the additional dimension of time so that you see a moving image.

Many parents choose to have a scan in 3/4D because they’re curious to see their baby’s face and find that it really enhances the bond with their little one. Parents often find it reassuring, not to mention exciting – especially the prospect of showing their child a moving image of themselves in the womb in later years.

Possible Scan at Week 28
The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall).

A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy. This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.

Possible Scan at Week 28
A Sexing Scan (also sometimes called a Gender Identification Scan) can be performed to find out the sex of your baby at this stage.

The baby will also be measured and your medical professional will assess his or her wellbeing. Sexing scans are highly reliable but can be more difficult if a woman is very overweight, or if the baby is in an unfavourable position.

Gender Scan or Sexing Scan

Gender Scan (Boy) Picture (Click image to enlarge)

Generally, if a healthcare professional is unsure about the sex of your baby they won’t guess. But thankfully it’s very unusual to be unable to determine the sex of the baby.