You and Your Baby at Week 26 of Your Pregnancy

(10 minute read)

You and Your Baby at Week 26 of Your Pregnancy

Week 26

At week 26, you are now in your last week of the 2nd trimester, with the 3rd trimester beginning at 27 weeks. Here we will explain what's happening in your body as well as with the growth of your baby, including common symptoms experienced during week 26.

How Big is Baby at 26 Weeks?

At 26 weeks, your baby will typically measure about 35.6cm from head to heel and weigh approximately 1.75 pounds or 800g, about the size of a cucumber.

Your baby's eyes, which have been closed for the past few months, will begin to open around this time. The development of the eyes is crucial for light perception, a significant milestone in sensory development. Your baby will then need to learn how to blink.

What colour will your baby's eyes be? No, not all babies are born with blue eyes as the old wives' tale goes - the colour of your baby's eyes depends on the genetics of you and your partner.

It is also a myth that two blue-eyed parents can't produce a child with brown eyes. It can happen, although it is rare. Likewise, if both parents have brown eyes, babies can be born with blue eyes. Brown eyes are more common than blue or green, as the allele (gene variant) for brown eyes is dominant over the other colours.

Physical Changes in Your Body

During the 26th week, your uterus is about the size of a football, leading to a more prominent baby bump. You will also be experiencing breast enlargement and more visible veins due to increased blood flow.

You will probably be feeling very tired by now, and your growing bump will be making you clumsy and uncoordinated. This is due to the extra weight as well as the change in your centre of gravity which will be affecting your sense of balance. Things that you used to do without thinking like walking to the bus stop will now be more taxing and will need extra time to complete.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy. By this week, the average weight gain is typically between 16 and 22 pounds. However, this can vary based on your body type and the progression of your pregnancy, which is very individual.

 


Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 26 Weeks

Braxton Hicks Contractions: These are "practise" contractions that can start around this time. They are usually painless and irregular, helping the body prepare for labour.

Backaches: As the baby grows, the added weight can put extra strain on your back, leading to discomfort. (Hint: ask your partner to give you a nice massage!)

Swelling: Fluid retention can lead to swelling in the feet, ankles, and hands.

Heartburn and Indigestion: Hormonal changes and the pressure from the growing uterus can cause digestive issues.

Sleep Challenges: Comfortable sleep can become difficult due to your growing bump and other symptoms like leg cramps or frequent urination, as well as baby randomly kicking or punching.

Forgetfulness: Known as "baby brain", becoming more forgetful is one of the many frustrating side effects of pregnancy! Losing your keys or forgetting why you entered a room will become commonplace.

Emotional Changes

Emotional fluctuations are common during this stage of pregnancy. Hormonal changes can contribute to mood swings, anxiety, and excitement about the arrival of your little one. Seek support from your loved ones or even a professional if needed.

Diet

A healthy, balanced diet is crucial for your baby's growth and for your own well-being. It should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Iron, calcium, and folic acid are especially important during this stage.

Exercise

Light to moderate exercise, such as walking, prenatal yoga, or swimming, is beneficial unless contraindicated by your doctor or midwife. Exercise can help with mood regulation, improve sleep, and increase stamina for labour and delivery. Be patient with yourself however, as activities will not be as easy as they once were.

Prenatal Care

Regular prenatal check-ups are essential. These appointments monitor your baby's growth and development as well as your own health, and can help detect any potential issues early on.

Tips to Help You Through Your Pregnancy

Rest and Relaxation: Listen to your body and take breaks and naps when needed to help manage tiredness and counteract any loss of sleep during the night.

Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial for both your health and that of your baby. Tea and coffee doesn't count! And alcohol is obviously out.

Preparing for Parenthood: This can be an excellent time to start preparing for the baby's arrival, including learning about childbirth and parenting. Consider joining a class, which will also be a good opportunity to socialise and meet other new mums.

Support Network: Building a support network, including family, friends, and healthcare professionals, can provide emotional and practical support.

 

Week 26 of pregnancy is a time of growing anticipation and adjustment, as you get ever closer to the time when you will finally meet the new member of your family. Keep going, you're doing great!

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