Week 26 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 26 of Pregnancy
What’s up with your baby? She now weighs a full two pounds and measures nine-plus inches. And this week, her eyes, which until now were developing under fused eyelids, start to open. Of course, there’s not much to see in there, but if your baby spots a bright light (or hears a loud noise) near your belly, you may notice an increase in fetal activity. (“Hey, I’m in here, Mommy! Where’s the party!”) What accounts for that response? Her brain is more developed and sophisticated.
Learn more about your baby in week 26 and a baby’s eye development.
Your Body in Week 26 of Pregnancy
If a full night’s rest has become elusive, welcome to the (sleepless) world of pregnancy insomnia. Between heartburn and leg cramps, bathroom runs and that big beach ball (with its protruding navel!) beneath your nightie, it’s no wonder your body’s having trouble calming down and drifting off. But there are lots of tactics to try that should help keep you in bed (and asleep!) instead of pacing the floor; these include daytime exercise, a daily dose of fresh air, and limiting fluids before you hit the hay.
Learn more about your body in week 26 and your protruding belly button during pregnancy.
Week 26 Pregnancy Tip: Baby’s Movements in the Womb
Feel like you’re carrying the Karate Kid with all the kicking going on? Your baby is actually practicing all kinds of movements that will eventually be used in life on the outside — including pedaling against your belly, a sort of prewalking skill. As your baby’s nervous system becomes more developed, the movements will become much more coordinated. And as the baby gets bigger and stronger, the movements will become much more powerful…and occasionally, even painful to you. If your baby lands a good one, that tiny left hook might hurt — a lot. Another trick she may try — stretching that leg out so far that the foot becomes lodged between your ribs (ouch). Next time you come under attack, try changing positions or doing some stretches of your own. You can also gently push your baby back with your hand when your knee-jerker jerks a little too hard. You just might be able to send your slugger back into the corner of the ring!
Learn more about fetal movement during pregnancy.
Week 26 Pregnancy Symptoms
Bloating: Your expanding uterus continues to put more and more pressure on your stomach and intestines, resulting in the bloating you probably feel. Minimize the problem by eating several small meals a day instead of three large ones so that you don’t overload your digestive system.
Increased vaginal discharge: If you’re tempted to use special washes and wipes marketed to keep the vagina clean or odor-free, don’t bother. They can be irritating and change the pH in your genital tract. Instead, bathe frequently and wear panty liners (if you like) to stay clean and dry.
Occasional headaches: Some women who have a history of migraines have them more often when they’re pregnant (some lucky ducks experience fewer of them), so don’t be surprised if yours flare up more these days. Since strong migraine medications are probably off-limits for you now, consider holistic therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, meditation, and yoga (these techniques can also help reduce stress, which is a migraine trigger).
Forgetfulness: Has “pregnancy brain” caused you to forget some crucial meetings or bits of information lately? While this decrease in memory is temporary and totally normal, try writing key things down in a trusty notepad or your PDA to help you stay organized for the rest of your pregnancy.
Clumsiness: Your loosened joints, shifted center of gravity, and added weight are just a few of the factors that cause you to slip, trip, and fall more often than usual. This clumsiness is temporary, but for now, be extra careful in the tub, shower, and on other slippery surfaces.
Lower abdominal achiness: If the “growing pains” caused by your expanding uterus (technically called round ligament pain) are feeling particularly achy lately, get off your feet when you can and get as comfortable as possible. Also, remember to shift positions slowly so as not to aggravate the pain.
Vision changes: If your eyes are feeling irritated, that’s probably because pregnancy hormones decrease tear production, which leads to dry eyes. Use eye drops to ease the discomfort, and be sure to tell your practitioner if you develop serious vision problems since this could be a sign of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.