You are now very close to the end of your second trimester. Just this week and you’ll enter the third. It has been a long road, but soon your pregnancy will end and you’ll be holding your precious baby.
At this point, your baby is weighing somewhere between 1.7 and 2 pounds (over 760 grams). As for the size, the baby is already 14 inches long (35.5 cm). It has grown quite a bit the last few weeks and will continue to do so. What is clear, though, is that if born this early, with the right equipment and medical staff, your baby has a real chance at survival. Let’s hope this is not the case, but it’s good to know.
Fetus development at 26 weeks
Your baby’s feet are 2 inches now and the hands are very active. He or she will suck his/her thumb quite often, but this is a good thing since thumb sucking helps the baby with coordination. Not to mention that this habit will calm him/her and strengthen the cheek and jaw muscles.
One of the most important aspects this week is that your baby is starting to practice breathing movements for the day of birth. The lungs start to prepare for the actual breathing, although there isn’t any air involved in this process.
Another one is that the eyes start to open. I said before that this will happen around week 26 and here you have it. As a part of brain growth, the visual and auditory systems start to develop furthermore. Your baby could hear you until now, but from this point on he or she will be able to distinguish and process sounds better.
As the brain keeps developing, your baby will become more aware and responsive to outside stimuli. How can you know this? If you are having a 26-week ultrasound and your baby is awake, you’ll notice that his/her heart rate will increase when hearing loud noises. Fetal brain scans show that your baby is also highly responsive to touch. So, basically you are now able to play with your baby.
If you are having a baby boy, the testicles start to descend into the scrotum, but the entire process will last 2/3 months.
As for you, new things will happen to you too. As the space in your belly is getting crowded by the week, you may be able to see a foot or an elbow shape poking out. Don’t freak out! It’s normal. And no, your baby will not be able to come out ripping your uterus wall. He or she is just playing or stretching.
You can now anticipate (fairly accurate) your baby’s program when it’s playtime or nap time. If you are having twins….their programs may differ. In such a case I feel for you. Useful fact: tell your midwife if you haven’t felt the baby in a while.
Pregnancy Symptoms at week 26
As your bump is growing bigger and bigger you may sometimes find yourself hot and bothered. Make sure to always wear loose clothes and drink cool beverages. A cooling spray is extremely useful in these situations. Your skin may too bother you. Dry and stretchy, the skin will start to itch. Be sure not to use all sorts of chemicals to calm it down. Natural body butter will suffice.
Let’s talk a little about Braxton Hicks contractions. They are frequent and harmless. It’s the panic that gets to most women. That is because they do not know the difference between these contractions and the real ones. In reality, the difference is one and big: PAIN. Braxton Hicks contractions are a sensation of tightening and relaxing of your belly at odd moments or irregular moments, BUT they are painless and they are meant to just prepare the uterus for birth. Real contractions, however, hurt….like really hurt. So make sure to read more about these contractions in order to avoid useless panic. You can also talk to your midwife about this.
As your uterus gets closer and closer to your rib cage, you may experience shortness of breath, but try to stay calm and get plenty of air. Other than that, you will be just fine.
As always, take care!