26 Weeks Pregnant
Your Pregnancy Week by Week
Your Baby at 26 WeeksSize: 14.02 inches (35.6cm) - crown to heel
Weight: 1.68 pound (760 grams)
About the size of an english cucumber, your baby's focus during this week will be centered around growth - packing on those vital ounces that will be necessary for daily life outside of your body. While we have talked a lot about your baby's sense of hearing, and soon to be added, he or she will soon start to open their eyes and blink - giving them the ability to take in bits and pieces of their surroundings. Eye color is a pre-determined blue-gray right now and will be the same at birth. Despite the amazement everyone will have at your baby's blue eyes, remember that it may take up to one year after birth for a permanent eye color to develop.
Practice, practice, practice makes perfect. Your baby is beginning to take tiny breaths in preparation for their birth day - working out those tiny muscles now will help your baby breathe independently later. These tiny lung movements will not move air as of yet, as your baby still takes in all of his oxygen needs via the umbilical cord and through your circulation. Speaking of which, the placenta is now about the same size as your baby and works very hard to provide nutrients, remove wastes and protect baby from any dangerous substances mom may be taking in.
Mom at 26 Weeks PregnantAt the end of this week, you will be saying goodbye to your second trimester, and what little of your feet you could see. The top of your uterus (also called the fundus) should be easy to pick out - about 2 to 3 inches above your belly button.
Remember to keep all scheduled appointments with your doctor as blood pressure complications may begin around this time. Most women have a drop in blood pressure during the first half of their pregnancy and then see a rise later. While a mild elevation in pressure isn't necessarily dangerous, it can lead to a very serious medical complication known as preeclampsia. Your doctor will be monitoring your pressures closely and will talk with you if the need arises. You would also want to notify your doctor if you should begin to experience headaches, abdominal pain, nose bleeds, or chest pain.
So for now, do your best to maintain a healthy weight, control your blood sugar if you have gestational diabetes, exercise and get plenty of rest.
Coming weeks may bring more fatigue than the previous few. Your growing belly may also make it more difficult to sleep comfortably, so do whatever is necessary to get some rest. While it may not be time for sleeping in the recliner yet, a few pillows positioned just-so may make all the difference.
If you are having trouble with an aching back, leg cramps or swelling at the end of the day, you may consider trying a maternity belt. Maternity belts can help support the lower portion of the back and your growing belly - taking off some of the strain and the ache that comes with it. They can be purchased at many chain or specialty stores across the country and are well worth the investment.
Ideally, your weight gain at this stage should be about 20 to 23 pounds. Of course there are certainly plenty of exceptions to this rule, but remember that packing on the pounds could mean a more difficult labor and delivery. Too little weight gain and you could be raising the stakes for a preterm or low birth weight baby.
Stay hydrated. As the uterus grows, you may experience uterine irritability from dehydration. These mild, somewhat irregular contractions send many mothers to their local Labor and Delivery unit in a panic - often sure that they are having real contractions. But remember that the uterus is a muscle, and more water will be required as your pregnancy progresses to keep it hydrated. Nevertheless, you should always err on the side of caution and get checked out if you think you may be contracting just to make sure everything is okay.