YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Ready for the final stretch
Welcome to week 28 of your pregnancy. Over the last few weeks, you duked it out with uncontrollable flatulence, stretch marks and pregnancy brain and lived to tell the tale. But this week, you're finally out of that second trimester slump and ready for the final stretch – the third trimester!
Right about now, you may feel like throwing a party for yourself – after all, you're almost done! Chances are, with your baby shower just around the corner, you'll get the opportunity to celebrate sooner than you think. Yet even though you've officially hit the third trimester, your body isn't done changing to accommodate your growing baby – in fact, it's still hard at work!
By now, your uterus is about 3 inches above your navel and is putting pressure on your kidneys and bladder. This can affect the frequency of your bathroom visits. Your body is producing progesterone in high amounts, and this can make it tough for your urinary system to filter out harmful bacteria. The result – urinary tract infections – can make your last few months of pregnancy difficult to endure.
If you haven't already, you should be scheduling regular appointments with your healthcare provider to test for possible medical conditions, screen your glucose levels and determine whether you're Rh negative, which would require an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to keep your antibodies from targeting your little one's blood. Around week 28, many women also start to experience restless leg syndrome, which can make it hard to gain a restful night's sleep.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From cauliflower to Chinese cabbage
Last week, your bun in the oven was the size of a full-fledged cauliflower and tipped the scales at a little over 2 pounds.
By week 28, your little one has added more weight to his or her developing body. At 2 1/4 pounds, your baby is as heavy as a Chinese cabbage and is almost 15 inches from head to heel.
His or her eyes have sprouted full, beautiful lashes now – they'll definitely come in handy a few years from now, when your baby is batting those lashes in order to get his or her way. Your baby's hair and eyebrows are also getting thicker.
But the real transformation this week is happening in your baby's brain. During week 28, the delicate tissue is starting to change, and grooves and indentations along the once-smooth surface of your baby's brain are becoming more prominent.
As the exterior of the brain undergoes some cosmetic work, billions of neurons in your baby's head are firing away at light speed, helping ensure that your little one's cognitive function will be in great shape come the delivery.
Determine feeding options for the baby
With the kickoff of the third trimester, the countdown to your delivery is likely growing more intense. Throughout the next few weeks, you may find that each new kick or movement from the baby leaves you more excited than ever to welcome your little guy or girl into the world. And what better way to spend the remaining weeks of your pregnancy than by deciding on a feeding plan for the baby?
Many mothers struggle to figure out which option is best for a newborn – breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, it's up to each mother to determine which is best for her lifestyle.
Breastfeeding can be an excellent way to bond with a baby immediately after birth and can help little ones gain the right balance of nutrients for their growing bodies. Breast milk is easy to digest for infants and can be absorbed without problems, making it the perfect food for wee ones with sensitive bellies and digestive systems.
Best of all, women can produce exactly as much milk as babies need and no preparation is needed – mothers can feed their children whenever and for as long as necessary.
However, breastfeeding can be problematic if women lead very active lifestyles – babies often need to be fed on a set schedule and mothers who work outside the home may have trouble keeping pace with the demands of feeding their newborns. If women miss a feeding, they still have to remove the milk, which can require the use of breast pumps at inopportune times.
Conversely, bottle-feeding can be done by anyone, including a father or caregiver without adding extra physical stress to mothers. Certain types of medication that may be essential for women may introduce unwanted chemical components to breast milk, making bottle-feeding an excellent option for some.
Cost is one of the leading disadvantages of bottle-feeding. Women who choose this route typically have to factor in up to $200 each month in additional expenses for the care of the baby. The nutrients that are readily available in breast milk may not be present in formula, and some babies can be intolerant of certain blends, making feeding problematic.