Pregnancy Week 26
At 26 weeks, you have almost completed two third of pregnancy journey. You must be going for your regular ante-natal checkups which were monthly till now. Soon, your doctor would call you fortnightly and then you will have to make weekly visit in your last month.
You are growing along with your baby. There must be many internal and external changes you are facing. Let us read further to know more about this week.
Growth and Development of Baby
The baby development at this stage is small, gradual and insignificant but this is quite crucial phase as the baby is gearing up himself to enter in this world. Weighing around two pounds and about 14 inches in length, your baby will soon start feeling cramped in the uterus. However, still, he would be left with plenty of space to make free movements. The only thing is that there will be lesser space for his Olympic feats.
The major development in the 26th week is the opening of baby’s eyes. The eyelids which were closed for last so many weeks are finally open and now your baby can look around in the womb. As the retina part is developing, he could form the images of the object but iris still lacks enough pigment to decide the color of the eye. With this development, you can try shining a flashlight at your stomach. There are high chances that your baby will kick in response to the bright light. In the remaining months, he or she will practice blinking eyes.
The baby’s brain-wave activity is getting more efficient and mature. The nerves in the ears are developing so that he can respond to the sounds he hears outside or inside your body.
With every passing day, your baby is laying down more fat in the skin and thus developing effective means of insulation. This will also add significantly to the baby’s birth weight. Generally, the average birth weight is around 3 kg which is influenced by pregnancy factors, genetics and individual DNA influences.
Now, your baby does not have too much of amniotic fluid around as it is becoming bigger and bigger day by day. With big baby in less fluid, you will notice kicks and movements more clearly. Your baby is continuously taking in amniotic fluid and thus practicing and preparing lungs to breathe air at the time of birth.
Apart from the breathing practice, he is also flexing some of his feeding muscles by sucking his thumb and fingers. This can be even noticed in the ultrasound scan.
The umbilical cord continues to grow bigger and stronger and thus providing required nutrition for the growth and development of baby. The reproductive organs are also matching the pace with other organs. The testicles will down to scrotum in this week.
All five senses of baby are fully developed now. The baby has distinct pattern of waking and sleeping, if carefully observes, you can track his activities. You will notice that baby mostly sleeps when you are awake and prefers to kick around while you are sleeping.
At this stage, if the baby undergoes preterm delivery, there are fair chances of survival with specialist care.
As we are suggesting you right from the first day that you must do some mild exercise to be healthy and ease some of your pregnancy symptoms. However, this is not the right time to begin a rigorous exercise regime. Keep it simple and mild.
How you will be benefitted with these exercises:
- Simple walking or prenatal yoga would improve your posture which is suffered due to weight of expanding belly.
- With exercise, circulation of body enhances which helps you in getting relief from edema or body swelling.
- Pregnancy puts you in lot of stress which can be cleared with the brisk walk. It also pumps you up with energy.
- Getting indulged in regular exercise will strengthen and tone your muscles thus preparing you for labor and delivery.
Before taking up any exercise routine, you must talk to your health care provider. It is good if you join any prenatal exercise in hospital or health clubs because there you will be exercising with women with similar condition.
Stay away from strenuous physical activities like skiing, tennis and sports. If you are interested in any sport, it is always advisable to take suggestions from your doctor.
Changes in Mother Body
At 26 weeks, you are at the end of your second trimester or we can say you are two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy. Your belly balloon is quite big by now making you look easily noticeable pregnant.
Uncomfortable fetal movements
The baby is getting bigger and stronger and thus his fetal movements too. Your baby is busy in practicing all kinds of movements’ right in the womb only including pre walking, pedaling etc. Some of your baby’s movements might even hurt you. Consider changing positions or do some stretches. At times, your baby might kick with his leg too hard. You may try gently pushing him back; he will slip into the fluid back.
As pregnancy progresses, getting rest and sleep becomes difficult. There are several reasons for the same like baby bump, breathing issues, washroom breaks, indigestion, heartburn, stress and weird dreams. With all these symptoms hanging around you, it becomes difficult in calming down and drifting off. Try to follow some smart tactics to get good night sleep. Investing in comfortable maternity pillows, relaxation strategies like breathing, massaging or bathing, or reading some books can induce some sleep in you.
By this week, your enlarging uterus must have exerted enough pressure to cause your navel protrude out (don’t panic, if it’s not there yet, you will get it sooner or later but for sure) don’t worry, it will get back to normal position after baby birth. Till then, you have got a chance to clean the lint accumulating in it.
Braxton Hicks contractions which are bothering you since last two weeks will become more prominent now. This is due to occasional hardening of uterus. You need not panic until they are painless and irregular. You will notice an increased frequency in them after bending, standing up, and sex or after climbing stairs.
Are your swelled fingers, ankles and toes causing trouble in daily routine? Well, you have to bear with it for some more time as your blood volume has increased by about 25 % which is causing this problem.
Your months old friend-constipation would not leave you for few more weeks. Spending much of your time in toilets seems to be quite daunting. Well, there is nothing much you can do except drinking lots of water, eating high fiber food and doing some mild exercise daily.
At this stage when you are quite big and having so many internal changes, you must be cautious while standing up. Many pregnant women experience lightheaded or may faint when stand up after lying down or sitting for long. This occurs due to sudden drop in blood pressure. Try to keep it slow. Before getting up from the bed, sit on the edge for a minute or two and then stand slowly. If you feel like fainting, sit at the ground or any place available and be there for a while. Call for help if needed.
Some other common problems which linger with you are:
- Foggy brain
- Blurred vision
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Bloating and gas
Some Important Tips to Consider
- A healthy pregnancy may bring an increase of 16-24 pounds of weight in a healthy mom-to-be by now. If you are falling out of this limit, talk to your health care provider for the reasons.
- In last few weeks, you will have flagging energy and you may not like to do any task. So, if you are thinking of buying or borrowing baby furniture, go for it now. Borrowing furniture now is more important as it may need some repainting or repairing damage which may need time. Don’t leave tasks until last weeks.
- At this time, your body is demanding lots of healthy red blood cells for your baby. Chances are that you may fall short of the same if not taking enough iron. Though your doctor would keep a regular check on your hemoglobin level with the blood test, you must ensure on your own that you are taking in lots of iron rich foods like red meat, eggs, cereals, green leafy vegetables, etc.
- Do you know that your uterus is actually a muscle and it needs more and more water to keep it hydrated? So make sure that you are drinking lot of clean fluids all through the day. Drinking more does not mean having regular tea, coffee, cold drinks, etc by drinking, we clearly mean healthy and safe juices or plain water.
- You have already passed the mid way mark. Now, you are quite close to your delivery date. You are left with small time before the endless feeding sessions and midnight wake up calls bother you. So, enjoy this time by pampering yourself. Try to relax, take a break (not necessarily expensive and time consuming of course), go for a nice massage, shopping or do whatever you like. Only three months are left when you can consider doing desired task alone. After baby, he or she will accompany you every time everywhere, at times even in toilets too if you are alone.
Tips for your Partner
As the pregnancy progress, apart from the undesirable changes in the figure, pregnancy hormones cause lots of external changes which may make your partner feel less attractive. As she can’t do of the same, it’s your duty to communicate with her and divert any of these thoughts in her. Make her believe that she is beautiful, attractive and charming as before. Make her feel special by taking her to a date or planning an outing.
This is a small reward for a woman who will soon bring a child in this world after undergoing so much of pain and changes. Am I right?
One more week to go and you will be entering in your third trimester, the last and final. This trimester would bring you more close to your baby. Hurray! You will be just few weeks away from meeting your baby. Hurry up and make preparations to welcome your little bundle of joy.