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.
Baby’s growth and development in week twenty six
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.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during week 26
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;
- Keep off triggers like wearing high heeled shoes and some types of food.
- Keep stress levels as low as possible
- Apply a warm or cold press
- Discuss with the doctor whether it is safe to take some pain relievers like Tylenol
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.
Preeclampsia and headaches
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;
- Elevated blood pressure
- Edema on the face and ankles
- Sudden gain in weight
- Temporary loss of vision
- Presence of protein in the urine
- Mental confusion
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.
Things to do during the 26th week
- Talk to the baby more during this week and the remaining period of pregnancy for stronger bonds. Make sure to also involve your partner for a greater thrill of pregnancy.
- Continue shopping for your baby’s clothes and other items. This is an ideal moment because the coming weeks will be more difficult to keep moving around.
- Discuss with the doctor about your diet especially if you are gaining a lot of weight or less than average. The doctor will suggest you take healthier selections that have more fiber, essential proteins, minerals, a lot of vitamins and sufficient calories.
- Do mild fitness practices that do not cause you a lot of stress. Good examples include walking, swimming, light home chores, and basketball.
- Treat yourself to a professional spa to feel good and enjoy every minute of the pregnancy. A pregnancy massage will be ideal as masseurs gently rub your leg, hands, head, and other muscles to facilitate better blood flow.
- Share your personal experiences with other pregnant moms in the same trimester or week.
- Recheck the preparations for your baby shower. If you want to make all preparations on your own, this is the best time to piece everything together because you will be very tired in the coming weeks. However, if you selected an event planner, he/she will do most of the things and only provide an update.
- Keep reviewing the expectations of the next trimester so that you are prepared for everything. You should know the symptoms to anticipate, when to expect labor, and understand the process of childbirth more.