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26 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development

 

You are cruising through your second trimester, mama! Chances are you’ve experienced an uncomfortable moment or three – maybe difficulty sleeping, or increasingly irritating back pain – that has given you a hint of what’s could be in store in the final months of your pregnancy. As your belly gets bigger, basic tasks can become more difficult. Remember, it’s all going to be worth it when you get to meet that beautiful baby!

Here are some other things to expect at 26 weeks pregnant. 

Baby at 26 weeks pregnant

Would you believe your baby is almost two whole pounds and nearly a foot long? That’s the size of a roast in your grocery store’s meat department (huh!).

Growing isn't the only thing your baby is busy doing. His or her hand-eye coordination is improving and if you were to have an ultrasound, you might see your baby’s hands up around the face exploring the nose, eyes, and mouth. At 26 weeks babies could be feeling their eyebrows and eyelashes, which are well-formed, or the hair on their heads.

The really big news this week is all about the eyes, which are beginning to open after all this time of being fused shut to allow the retinas to develop. Not only are they open, but drum roll: those little peepers can see (not that’s there’s much to look at in that dark uterus of yours). The iris, which is the colored part, has very little pigmentation at this point so it’s too early to predict your baby’s eye color.

pregnancy week 26 embryo
Weekly development of a human fetus at 26 weeks pregnant.

Your body at 26 weeks pregnant

Put a hand on your belly and you should be able to feel the top of your uterus three inches above your belly button. Here’s a wild thought: your uterus is the size of a basketball now (no wonder your belly is so round!).

You might be feeling overheated or suffering from hot flashes. The hormone progesterone moving through your body is causing your core temperature to rise dramatically. Increasing your fluid intake and wearing layers of loose clothing can help you stay hydrated and comfortable.

When you're 26 weeks pregnant, you might notice a dark line running down the middle of your belly. This is called the linea nigra. You might also see some skin pigmentation on your face and in your armpits and thighs like the linea nigrea. All of these darkened marks and spots  will fade and most will eventually completely disappear after pregnancy.

Along with the linea nigra, many women develop stretch marks in pregnancy. Some moms (and advertisements!) swear that applying generous amounts of cocoa butter or other lotions can reduce or eliminate stretch marks. Unfortunately, because stretch marks are tears within the tissue itself, there’s no way to prevent them. That said, a moisturizer rich in cocoa butter can help reduce itchy skin and feel good on your belly, hips, and thighs!

26 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Novelty 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are popular among expecting parents, who delight in getting a detailed look at their developing babies. They are best done between weeks 26-30. Although 3-D ultrasounds are legal, you should know that the Food and Drug Administration cautions against them. Inexperienced technicians and unnecessary exposure to ultrasound equipment are two of their primary concerns when it comes to 3-D ultrasounds; educate yourself before making a decision.

How big is my baby at 26 weeks?

a bunch of kale, a bunch of kale is roughly the size of a week 26 human embryo

At 26 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a bunch of kale, measuring at 14 inches long and weighing nearly 2 pounds on average.

26 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're six months 2 weeks (6m2w) pregnant. 

Common symptoms at 26 weeks pregnant

These are some commonly reported symptoms from moms at 26 weeks pregnant.

  • Obvious baby movements: Your baby’s activity will be increasing in the next handful of weeks, so get ready to feel those kicks, punches, and jabs!
  • Achiness in abdomen: With your ligaments stretching to accommodate your uterus, your uterus crowding your internal organs, and your pelvis loosening in preparation for childbirth, there are a lot of reasons you might be noticing some achiness in your abdomen.
  • Rising blood pressure: After months of lowered blood pressure, yours is likely now beginning to increase and will gradually return to where it was before you were pregnant.
  • Heart palpitations: Your growing uterus isn’t just crowding your internal organs, it’s also impeding the return of blood to your heart. As a result, you might experience some flutterings in your chest. It doesn’t signify anything serious and it usually eases up later in pregnancy, but let your doctor know anyway.
  • Continued breathlessness and shortness of breath: Stimulated by the hormone progesterone, your lung capacity continues to expand, leading to deeper breathing. But it’s likely that you’re still breathing faster and continuing to experience shortness of breath.
  • Bumps on your breasts: Now happening on your areolas: the development of tiny skin glands. These bump-like glands will secrete oils to keep your nipples moisturized and soft during breastfeeding.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: These false labor contractions feel like a squeezing sensation at the top of your uterus, or down in your lower abdomen or groin, as your uterus exercises its muscle and building strength in anticipation of labor. Braxton-Hicks contractions are different from true labor because they are irregular in their frequency and vary in length and intensity.
  • Clumsiness: As your body prepares for childbirth, it’s loosening up the ligaments supporting your pelvic bones. While this is beneficial for helping your baby squeeze out of a tight spot, all these relaxed ligaments can leave you feeling a bit clumsy.
  • Leg cramps: Commonly occurring at night, spasms in the leg muscles can wake you up with their painful, annoying cramping. When leg cramps happen, try gently flexing your foot or leg, and massaging the area. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and prevent leg cramps as much as possible.
  • Wild dreams: Pregnant women often report having vivid, frequent dreams, another symptom courtesy of hormonal changes. Experts believe they occur because increased estrogen causes longer periods of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the phase of sleep when dreams most often occur.
  • More stable emotions: Now that your hormones are finally evening out, you might notice you’re no longer riding an emotional roller coaster.
  • Feeling worried about labor: As your due date approaches, you might feel scared or worried about having the baby. Share your fears with your partner, and also your care provider, who can help you get a handle on what to expect and how you can best prepare for labor and delivery. 
  • Nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums
  • Sluggish digestion: Pregnancy hormones may continue to wreak havoc on your digestive system, resulting in constipation, heartburn, and indigestion.
  • Waddling posture: By now your weight gain has changed your center of gravity. To help your posture, consider getting some gentle exercise, such as swimming or walking.
  • Backaches
  • Skin pigmentation: Skin pigmentation, such as the linea nigra on your belly, is a common side effect of pregnancy. Any pigmentation will fade and most likely completely disappear after pregnancy.
  • Increased libido: Many women notice they feel “in the mood” more often during the second trimester. Unless your doctor says otherwise, sex is safe during pregnancy. 
  • Increased appetite

Pregnancy checklist at 26 weeks pregnant 

Add these to your list of things to do at 26 weeks pregnant.

  • Know the Signs of Preterm Labor: It’s good for all women to know what the signs of early labor are, just in case. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these:
  • - Persistent cramps with or without diarrhea, nausea, or indigestion
    - Consistent contractions every 10 minutes or sooner
    - Constant lower back pain
    - A change in vaginal discharge, whether it’s becoming watery, or tinged or streaked with pinkish/brownish blood
    - Achiness or feeling of pressure in pelvic floor
    - Fluid leaking from your vagina
  • Take a Hospital Tour: Your baby’s birth is quickly approaching, so it’s essential that you know where you will deliver and to set some expectations about how you envision it going by drafting a birth plan if you like. Some hospitals offer tours to prospective parents, which is an ideal way to see if the environment is the right one for your family. If you're having twins, it's even more important to get your birth plan decided since twins can arrive earlier than single babies.
  • Enroll in a Class: Childbirth classes are also important and tend to fill up quickly. If you haven't signed up for childbirth classes or thought about hiring a doula, now's the time to do it! These classes can teach you breathing and relaxation techniques that can help you work through the pain of labor.

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