Week 26

Your baby this week

875

GRAMS IN WEIGHT

He has more or less reached the proportions of a newborn.

He will be practising his breathing for after the birth.

Your baby will finally open his eyes this week.

How big is your baby?

He measures 35cm (14in) from head to heel and weighs a princely 875g.

How big is your baby?

He measures 35cm (14in) from head to heel and weighs a princely 875g.

What does your baby look like?

Your baby has more or less reached the proportions of the newborn he will soon become. He’s busy laying down lots of fat stores underneath his paper thin skin. If he were to be born this early, the chances are that medical professionals would cocoon him in conventional bubble wrap to keep him warm and protect his delicate skin.

Changes in your body this week

By week 26 of pregnancy, your uterus has grown to 2 ½ inches above your belly button. The same belly button which has probably changed from an ‘innie’ to an ‘outie’. If you have a navel piercing then this is the time to remove it as your uterus has enlarged enough to push your abdomen outwards. But don’t worry, it should soon revert back a few weeks after the birth.

How your baby is developing

It’s around this week when your baby will finally open his eyes. His retina has developed to a point where he’s ready to see what’s going on around him. It’s obviously not a terribly exciting view in your uterus, but that isn’t the point.

He will also be practising his breathing for after the birth by taking in small quantities of amniotic fluid. This is vital preparation to enable his lungs to mature.

How your baby is developing

It’s around this week when your baby will finally open his eyes. His retina has developed to a point where he’s ready to see what’s going on around him. It’s obviously not a terribly exciting view in your uterus, but that isn’t the point. He will also be practising his breathing for after the birth by taking in small quantities of amniotic fluid. This is vital preparation to enable his lungs to mature.

By week 26, your baby will probably start feeling a bit cramped inside you as he continues to grow steadily, but this doesn’t mean that he can’t enjoy his twists and twirls for a little while longer.

Health concerns

As your uterus grows, it can make your back feel particularly achy. Your baby bump stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles and the pregnancy hormones relax your ligaments and joints. The combination of these changes can put new stresses on your spine and the muscles in your back. You can try to combat this by aiming to keep reasonably active during the day, interspersed with periods of rest when you should get your feet up if you can. You should also avoid bending and lifting as this places even more strain on your back.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

It’s more common after 37 weeks of pregnancy, but you should make sure you are completely familiar with the symptoms of pre-eclampsia from this point onwards as it can happen earlier in pregnancy as well. Pre-eclampsia is a very serious condition for both mother and baby. Early warning signs include:

  • Facial swelling or puffiness around the eyes
  • Sudden or excessive swelling of hands and/or feet
  • Sudden, rapid gaining of weight (more than 5lb per week)

The most serious symptoms, which require IMMEDIATE medical attention are:

  • Abdominal signs such as vomiting or severe tenderness
  • Severe headaches
  • visual disturbances characterised by light sensitivity, seeing flashes or spots or suffering blurred/double vision. There can also be a temporary loss of vision

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms later on in your pregnancy, then it’s more about a trip to A&E than your GP.

Safety first

You might find that your skin is starting to dry out and be slightly itchy as it stretches around your uterus; it’s also not unusual to suffer the odd hormonal break out of spots. Try not to use harsh, chemical products to treat skin problems as they can cause damage to delicate skin. Instead use natural products if you need them. Wear looser clothes so they don’t irritate your skin and make sure you stay properly hydrated.

Important issues this week

You might be experiencing round ligament pain, commonly referred to as ‘growing pains’, more acutely now. To minimise the discomfort, get off your feet when you can and change position slowly to avoid aggravating your muscles too much.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

To avoid straining any of your muscles, try to maintain good posture during the day, keeping your back straight with your shoulders back and up. Having a cushion placed in the small of your back can help, if your job allows, and you should definitely avoid bending and lifting at the same time. Try to take frequent breaks if you are on your feet a lot.

Looking forward; planning ahead

You’re almost at the end of your second trimester. With each week that passes you are getting closer and closer to the birth – and that means that it’s time to start thinking about your birth plan, if you want to set down some ideas about how you would like labour to progress. By its very nature, labour is unpredictable, but many women like the security of having made a plan in advance. The sort of thing you could include is how you would like various stages of your labour handled and whether there’s anything you definitely would or wouldn’t want to happen.

If nothing else, it’s an excellent chance for research and learning about what’s likely to happen if an emergency situation arises. However, you should bear in mind that your plan will need to be flexible; firstly in case something happens that means you need to divert from it, and secondly in case YOU feel differently on the day. After all, you’ll be doing the hard stuff during labour, so, if you change your mind and decide you want some pain relief, for example, there’s no harm in deviating a little from what you wrote down at 26 weeks.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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