Week 26 of pregnancy! The baby bump is now very visible and everyone will know you are pregnant. If you haven’t yet found out the sex of your baby, you might just find out this week! This is a week of rapid growth – parts that will eventually become the internal organs are developing quickly in the fetus’ body. What exactly is growing in baby’s body? Do you have any growing concerns about anything in Week 26? Let’s find out!
Belly at 26 Weeks: Getting bigger
When it’s Week 26 of pregnancy, the fundal height, the distance from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, is 9.4–11.8 in (24–30 cm). The area below your stomach and around your waist start to swell. Compression of the heart and diaphragm by the expanded uterus, and the increase in blood volume both put stress on your heart, causing you to experience palpitations or shortness of breath.
From the third trimester of pregnancy to the last month of pregnancy, symptoms like palpitations and shortness of breath can become more severe, and in the worst-case scenario, you might even lose consciousness. As this is extremely dangerous, find a spot to rest when you feel a little out of breath, and put a stop to all activities until you feel better.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Controlling weight gain
The little things around you could cause stress to build up, and that might be the reason why you are eating more. Savoring cakes or sweet food is not a problem, but treats like these contain high sugar levels and eating too much of these snacks increases the risk of gestational diabetes. By Week 26 of pregnancy, you should ideally have put on 15–17 lbs (6.8–7.7 kg), but if you have already put on way more than the recommended weight, it is important that you regain control of your weight and not let your weight skyrocket.
Symptoms: Itchy, painful, darker nipples
When the end of the second trimester approaches, some moms notice that their nipples have become darker, and the skin in that area is both itchy and painful at the same time. This is a physiological phenomenon caused by the changes in the hormone levels in moms’ bodies.
You might be worried because the skin around the nipples is sensitive and delicate, but if you have a good skincare routine, your skin will most likely gradually return to its pre-pregnancy state after delivery. If you’re experiencing extremely bad skin problems, have a talk with your OB-GYN to see if anything can be done about it.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly
Fetus: Weight gain and length
In Week 26 of pregnancy, the fetus is 13.8–15.0 in (35–38 cm) and weighs 1.7–2.6 lbs (0.75–1.2 kg). The developing parts that eventually become the organs in the body continue to form, and from Month 6 of pregnancy onward, these parts will reach a state of near completion. Most fetuses gain about 1 pound over the next one month, but your baby’s weight might differ because of individual factors. As this is a period of rapid growth, your baby will grow at an astounding pace in the next one month.
- The frontal lobe becomes bigger and the brain experiences a growth spurt.
Brain waves that process visual and auditory information start working.
The fetus changes position, stretches, and curls their fingers up.
Nostrils and lungs continue to develop. The fetus is progressing toward the state of being able to breathe completely on their own.
The nerves in the lips, which control actions necessary for breastfeeding, develop.
Sense of sight, hearing and taste develop and fetus can respond to stimulus from the outside world.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes refers to the condition of contracting diabetes while pregnant. Even healthy moms might contract diabetes during pregnancy – this is because the hormones secreted during pregnancy suppress the effects of insulin and prevent it from breaking sugar down. As a result, the glucose level in blood increases. If you contract gestational diabetes, there is an increased risk that you might be at risk of preeclampsia, polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid), miscarriage, macrosomia (big infant) or preterm birth.
Even if you had a relatively healthy glucose level, it’s still too early to rest on your laurels. Since your body will need a huge amount of insulin in the second or third trimester, you are still at risk. Work hard to protect yourself from gestational diabetes: Pursue a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy diet!
26 Weeks Pregnant: Signs of a preterm labor
Irregular contractions in your belly, lower abdominal pains and backaches are signs of a preterm labor. Some moms might mistake these pains for Braxton Hicks contractions – ineffective contractions of the uterus before the beginning of true labor. However, Braxton Hicks contractions usually occur in the last trimester of pregnancy.
If your checkup results reveal that the strong and irregular contractions are actually signs of a preterm labor, the doctor might order you to be hospitalized or to rest at home quietly. If you feel that something is amiss, contact your hospital immediately. When contractions continue to occur at intervals shorter than 10 minutes even while you are at rest, that is a signal for you to all the more be on the alert and contact the hospital when you think it’s better not to tarry any further.
Get yourself checked!
Usually, the visit to the OB-GYN takes place once a month, but from the third trimester onward, this will increase to once every two weeks. You will be able to meet your baby every time you do an ultrasound scan. Make sure you go for your checkups religiously so as to be able to keep tabs on both you and your baby, and be on the alert for preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
If there are signs telling you that not all may be as right as rain, don’t take a rain check with your OB-GYN! If you feel that something is amiss, be proactive and schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN. Think of the very precious life growing inside of you, and you won’t regret going that extra mile.