What’s It Like?
Your baby is about to the size of a small pineapple, and has passed the age of viability. With every passing week, she gains strength. Your progesterone levels continue to rise (they increase throughout the pregnancy), leading to edema, headaches, heartburn, constipation, to name a few. Your uterus expands by 0.4 inches (1 cm) per week and you may have started to feel the Braxton-Hicks contractions. The 26th week is a time to take stock, and perhaps take a babymoon vacation.
Your Baby’s Growth
- Body Size
In the 26th week of your pregnancy your baby should weigh about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) and measure about 13.3 inches (340 millimeters) in length.
- Head Characteristics
Your baby is able to blink starting this week. His or her sight is still developing but about this time, your baby starts to see the light filtered through your belly. Your baby is gaining pigmentation in her irises, although this color is not definitive. Your baby’s eye color will be final only after about 6 months of extra-uterine life.
- Body Appearance
The body shape of your child is completely formed and he or she looks just like a newborn, but tinier. The fat accumulation continues until birth and the sweat glands are fully functional. To sustain your baby’s increasing weight, his or her backbone ossifies further.
- Internal Organs
Your baby’s heart continues to grow and develop. It is possible for you to hear the heartbeats of your child if you use a stethoscope. As if you’re in a quiet room, and you don’t make any noise, you may be able to hear them unaided. If you don’t, don’t worry – your baby may not be in the right position. Just try another day.
What Happens Inside Your Body?
Your progesterone levels continue to increase (they rise throughout the pregnancy), and so during this interval fatigue and the headaches may be worse than ever. If you have a headache, try massaging your neck or soaking in a warm bath. Many painkillers could potentially harm the baby so if you can eliminate the pain naturally, it is optimal. If not, studies show that Tylenol is the safest. Make sure that you get enough rest. Your body needs more sleep than regularly, and sleep is often the best (and quickest) way of easing symptoms like headaches.
There is a small risk of developing gestational diabetes about now, although it is more likely during the third trimester. This is a temporary form of diabetes that manifests through a low level of glucose in your baby’s blood. It can be serious – it can cause birth defects or chemical imbalance in your newborn. Between 3-10 % of women have it. Most women don’t have symptoms or gestational diabetes, or if they do, they are often indistinguishable from regular pregnancy symptoms. They include increased thirst, weight loss, vision problems, blurred vision, seeing dark spots and persistent, suddenly occurring headaches. For this reason, doctors recommend screening for the disease, especially mothers at risk. (Related Article: Are You Developing Gestational Diabetes?)
How Different Will You Look?
You’ve probably gained about 20 pounds (9.5 kilograms) so far and your uterus continues to enlarge by about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) per week. Your weight may fluctuate daily, so try not to worry about what you see on the scales. You may feel clumsy and wrong-footed from the edema, changing body weight, curvature of your spine, low blood pressure etc. One day your fluid retention can be high, in the next day it falls, which is why your weight may fluctuate daily. Whatever your weight and the fluctuations – try not to worry about it unless your weight gain is greatly different from the suggested amount and you’re not carrying twins or multiples.
Tips for fathers – Hear your baby’s heart beat
By now, you’ve probably heard your baby’s heart beat with a Doppler at the obstetrician – which and is always a special moment in the pregnancy. As your baby grows you may be able to hear him in the quiet of your own bedroom. If you place your head on your partners skin, at the center of her bulge, you may be able to able to hear the sound of galloping horses. If you can’t hear it right away, wait a day or two until your baby is in a different position.
Tips For Mothers – To Help You Go Through Trimester
Signs Of Premature Birth
More than a half million babies in the United States—that’s 1 in every 8—are born premature each year. Although there are certain risk factors than can cause premature birth such as genital tract infections and cervix problems, most happen for reasons that are never identified. The good news is that you’ve already made it past the age of viability. By the end of this week, you’re baby will have an 80 percent chance of survival. By the end of next, it will be 90 percent. With every passing week, your baby has a greater chance of surviving, growing and developing without any health problems.
|Length of Pregnancy||Likelihood of Survival|
|28 weeks – 31 weeks||90-95%|
|32 weeks – 33 weeks||95%|
|34 weeks – 34 + weeks||Almost as likely as a full-term baby|
|Sources: March of Dimes, Quint Boenker Preemie Survival Foundation|
If you are going to have a premature birth, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms below, you aren’t necessarily giving birth, but you should call a doctor immediately:-
- Vaginal secretions becoming watery, viscous or containing blood; even a very small amount of blood.
- Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina
- Abdominal pain and cramps similar to menstrual ones
- Contractions, with more than 5 per hour.
- The feeling that your baby is pushing down; increased pelvic pressure.
- Constant pain in your lower back.
The end of next week begins the third trimester! Congratulations – you’ve done brilliantly. If you haven’t yet had time to take a vacation, even for just a few days, now is an excellent time before you head into the third trimester. This time away is called a babymoon. It’s a time for you and your partner to relax, before your lives become dedicated to all things baby.