Welcome to pregnancy week 26! This is an exciting time as you and your baby reach new milestones and prepare for the journey ahead.
From feeling your baby’s kicks and movements to watching your baby bump grow, there’s so much to celebrate during this stage of pregnancy.
In this article, we’ll dive into all the exciting things happening during week 26 of pregnancy, including what to expect regarding your baby’s development, changes in your body, and tips for taking care of yourself and your growing little one.
How much has baby developed at 26 weeks pregnant?
At 26 weeks pregnant, your baby continues to grow and develop rapidly. Here are some critical fetal development developments to expect at pregnancy week 26:
- Size and weight: Your baby is now about the size of an eggplant, measuring around 14 inches long and weighing about 1.7 pounds.
- Brain development: Your baby’s brain is developing rapidly and is beginning to develop more advanced cognitive and sensory abilities.
- Lung development: Your baby’s lungs continue to mature and develop, and they practice breathing movements in preparation for life outside the womb.
- Sleep-wake cycles: Your baby is developing more regular sleep-wake cycles, and you may notice them being more active at certain times of the day.
- Senses: Your baby’s senses continue developing, and they can now hear and respond to sounds outside the womb. Your baby’s eyes have fully developed by week 26.
- Body fat: Your baby is beginning to develop more body fat, which will help regulate its body temperature and provide energy after birth.
As your baby grows and develops, it’s important to prioritize your health and well-being.
Make sure to attend regular prenatal appointments, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and exercise as your healthcare provider recommends.
Managing symptoms at 26 weeks pregnant
At week 26 of pregnancy, some pregnant women may experience new symptoms in addition to the ones they may have already been experiencing.
Here are some possible symptoms that may occur at this stage of pregnancy:
1. Braxton Hicks contractions
These are sporadic contractions of the uterus that can start around week 26.
They are a normal part of pregnancy, and they can be managed by staying hydrated, changing positions, and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or taking a warm bath.
2. Increased vaginal discharge
As the pregnancy progresses, vaginal discharge may increase due to hormonal changes. However, if the discharge is accompanied by itching, burning, or a foul smell, it may be a sign of infection and should be checked by a healthcare provider.
- Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight clothing.
- Avoid douching or using scented products.
- Practice good hygiene by wiping from front to back after using the toilet to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
- Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet, as dehydration and poor nutrition can increase the risk of infection.
Some women may experience swelling in their hands, feet, and ankles, especially in hot weather. This is caused by the extra fluid in the body that is necessary to support the pregnancy.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which can help flush out excess fluid from the body.
- Avoid standing or sitting in the same position for long periods.
- Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible to promote blood flow and reduce swelling.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid tight socks or stockings restricting circulation.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t constrict circulation.
- Speak to your healthcare provider about using compression stockings or other interventions if the swelling is severe or persistent.
4. Shortness of breath
As the uterus expands, it can push up against the diaphragm, making breathing difficult. Practice good posture, sleep on pillows, avoid overexertion, and speak to your healthcare provider if you experience sudden or severe shortness of breath.
Self-Care at 26 Weeks pregnant
Self-care is crucial during pregnancy.
At 26 weeks pregnant, several practices can help you care for yourself and your growing baby.
Here are some important self-care practices to consider:
1. Get enough rest
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and take naps as needed during the day. Resting your body and mind can help you manage pregnancy’s physical and emotional demands.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Focus on a balanced and nourishing diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
Talk to your healthcare provider about any specific dietary needs or restrictions. Drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and support your body’s functions.
3. Exercise regularly
Engage in moderate exercise such as walking, prenatal yoga, or swimming to help you stay active and reduce stress. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting or changing your exercise routine.
Consider incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or prenatal massage into your routine to help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
5. Take breaks
Make time for breaks throughout the day to rest, stretch, or do something enjoyable. This can help you recharge and feel more energized.
Remember, caring for yourself is integral to caring for your growing baby. By prioritizing self-care practices like these, you can help promote a healthy pregnancy and prepare for the exciting journey ahead.
6. Treat your skin
To minimize stretch marks, moisturize regularly, eat a healthy diet, and gain weight gradually.
7. Keep up with prenatal appointments
Prenatal appointments can help identify and address any health issues or risk factors that may arise during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or undetected congenital disabilities.
How to prepare for the third trimester
You’re almost at the end of your second trimester and approaching your third. The third trimester of pregnancy is an exciting and challenging time as you prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for this critical stage:
- Plan for your baby’s arrival.
- Attend prenatal classes to learn about labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and newborn care.
- Stay active
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Discuss the birth plan with your healthcare provider.
- Pack your hospital bag.
Preparing for the third trimester can help ensure a smoother transition as you prepare to welcome your little one into the world.
FAQs at 26 Weeks pregnant
Pregnancy can be a time of significant change and uncertainty, and it’s natural to have questions about your body, your baby, and what to expect in the coming weeks and months.
Whether you’re a first-time mom or have been through pregnancy, there is always something new to learn and discover.
From questions about prenatal care and nutrition to concerns about labor and delivery, there is a wealth of information to help you navigate this exciting time in your life.
Is my baby fully developed at 26 weeks?
At 26 weeks, your baby is not fully developed but continues to grow and mature while immersed in the amniotic fluid.
Remember that every baby develops at their own pace, and some babies may need additional support or intervention if they are born prematurely or have other medical conditions.
Your healthcare provider can monitor your baby’s development and guide you in supporting your baby’s growth and well-being.
When does 3rd trimester start?
The third trimester of pregnancy starts at the beginning of the 28th week of gestation. This means the third trimester lasts from week 28 through week 40, the typical length of a full-term pregnancy.
However, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is unique, and some women may deliver earlier or later than 40 weeks. Your healthcare provider can guide you on what to expect during the third trimester and how to prepare for labor and delivery.
Can my baby feel my touch at 26 weeks?
Yes, at 26 weeks, your baby can feel your touch through the uterine wall.
Studies have shown that babies in the womb respond to touch and may even move away from or toward a source of pressure or communication.
Your baby’s sense of touch develops and becomes more refined as its nervous system matures.
You can also enhance your bond with your baby by gently stroking your pregnant belly, talking or singing, and playing music for them.
Can my baby feel when I’m sad?
While it’s unclear whether or how much babies in the womb can sense or respond to their mother’s emotions, some evidence suggests they can pick up on specific signals.
For example, studies have shown that babies in the womb may be able to detect changes in their mother’s heart rate and breathing patterns, which can be influenced by emotional states such as stress or anxiety.
These changes can indirectly affect the baby’s development and well-being.
However, it’s important to remember that the mother’s emotional health during pregnancy is vital for many reasons, including reducing the risk of complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight.
If you are feeling sad or anxious during pregnancy, it’s essential to seek support from your healthcare provider, a therapist, or other resources in your community.
Taking care of your emotional well-being can also benefit your baby’s development and future health.
What should I avoid at 26 weeks pregnant?
At 26 weeks pregnant, there are several things you should avoid to help ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. Here are some examples:
- Smoking: Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, and respiratory problems.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause physical and cognitive impairments in the baby.
- Certain foods: You should avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish, and eggs, as well as unpasteurized dairy products, which can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
- Certain medications: Some medications, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements, can harm the developing fetus. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any medicines during pregnancy.
- Heavy lifting or strenuous exercise: Avoid lifting heavy objects or doing a strenuous activity that can strain your body excessively or increase your risk of injury.
- Hot tubs and saunas: Exposing your body to high temperatures can increase the risk of congenital disabilities and other complications.
It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions you have with your healthcare provider, who can guide you on how to have a healthy and safe pregnancy.
Remember to take time for yourself and prioritize self-care during this time.
Get plenty of rest, eat nourishing foods, and stay active in comfortable ways. Surround yourself with supportive people who can offer encouragement and help you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy.
For parents-to-be, there may be moments of uncertainty or anxiety but know that you are not alone. Your healthcare provider supports you every step of the way, and many resources are available to help you have a healthy and positive pregnancy experience.
You are doing a fantastic job; your baby is lucky to have you as their mom.
Take care of yourself and your little one, and remember to celebrate the joys of this particular time as your little baby grows. You’ve got this!