By the 26th week, you only have two more weeks to complete the second trimester and start on the final phase. Because the baby bump has grown so much, workplace colleagues and friends will now start guessing whether it is a boy or a girl. While the baby’s genitals were developed and could be identified by the 18th week, many medical practitioners recommend that you wait until the last three weeks of the second trimester. Therefore, if you had not taken a scan to check whether you are carrying a boy or a girl, this is a great moment.
By the 26th week, the baby is maturing up and preparing for the final phase before entry into the world. He/she has reached about 1.7 lb in weight and 14 inches in length.
Baby’s face: The baby’s face has snow taken shape with the eyes in position (but closed), eyelashes easily visible, nasal bridge extending, and nostrils partially open. A layer of fat keeps growing under the skin so that the appearance is more rounded.
Brain development: Inside the head, the brain keeps growing and maturing. Though the brain has all the nerve cells, they still lack neural connections to each other. With time, the nerves will connect and make coordination easier. By the close of the 26th week, the brain still looks very smooth without the wrinkled outlook of an adult brain that we know today.
Baby’s movements: The movement of the feet and hands is more coordinated by the 26th week. Your baby will bring the legs and hands to the mouth and suck the thumb and toes. Though the baby has grown so much, there is still enough room in the uterus and will make all types of movements from kicks, stretches, and full summersaults.
As the baby keeps growing, your uterus expands to provide additional room for extra comfort and progressive development. Note that the size and shape of the bump are dependent on muscle tone, uterine tone, and position of the baby. Here are the changes that a mom should expect in her body.
Rib pain: With the expanding uterus, the baby continues adding more layers of fat and you may start experiencing some rib pain. The growing uterus pushes the rib cage and you will get a lot of discomforts especially if the body is petite. This can be more if the baby is very active and keeps kicking with force or is in breech position. To address the problem, make sure to shift positions until you get what is more comfortable.
Headache: Though many pregnant women will have experienced headache at some point in the first trimester because of changing hormones, it is different in the second trimester. Headache from weeks 26 will be caused by aching muscles as you carry the additional weight. To get relief from headaches, consider using the following methods;
Weight changes: You are gaining about 1 pound every week in the second trimester and by the 26th week you have reached about 18.5-19 lbs. Note that you should not measure the weight daily because it keeps fluctuating because of water retention.
Through headache is a common symptom during pregnancy, it could be an indicator of other serious problems like Preeclampsia. This is a complication during pregnancy that is characterized by elevated blood pressure and proteins presence in the urine. About 10% of pregnant mothers experience the problem close to the end of the 2nd trimester. Problems associated with Preeclampsia include possible damage to mother’s organs such as liver and kidney, poor blood flow to the baby, stunted fetal growth, and low amniotic fluid.
Key symptoms of Preeclampsia include;
It is advisable that you call a doctor if any of the above symptoms are noted so that blood pressure is carefully monitored and you are put on bed rest. This will help to keep you and the baby protected for normal growth.