26 weeks pregnant is a milestone to celebrate and savor. Find out what to expect when you’re 26 weeks pregnant, find out whether you can feel baby yet and what your uterus looks like. What size is a 12-week-pregnant uterus? What are the 8th week symptoms? When does baby start to move?
Your baby at week 26 of pregnancy
Your baby-to-be opens her eyes for the first time during your 26th week of pregnancy. As she adjusts to her new skill, she will open and close her eyes. Your child is still on the little side. Her body may appear fully formed on the outside, but her lungs and brain are still being fine-tuned on the inside. Your unborn child is still developing!
26 weeks pregnant is how many months?
When you are 26 weeks pregnant, you are officially in 6 months of your pregnancy, just another 4 months to go! Congratulations, you’ve already made great progress!
How big is your baby at 26 weeks pregnant?
Your baby is now over 14 inches in length, she weighs a full 2 pounds. Soon, your unborn child may start to feel a bit squished in your uterus, but there is still plenty of room for development.
26 weeks pregnant baby position
26 weeks pregnant: baby’s development
21-26 weeks baby developments
By the time a woman is seven months along in her pregnancy, doctors have access to a wide range of diagnostic techniques that allow them to learn a great deal about the developing fetus. It is now possible to use neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography to detect brain activity in the fetus outside of the abdomen (MEG). These methods analyze neuronal electrical activity or blood flow to determine mental state.
Using these methods, scientists have learned that a fetus’s brain responds to sound and light at 26 weeks of gestation in a manner similar to an adult’s. Scientists studying preterm newborns at these ages might also evaluate how their brains reacted to touch and discomfort.
Ultrasound technology allows doctors to discriminate between REM sleep and non-REM sleep in fetuses as early as 26 weeks postconception. Eyelid movements are rapid during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Remembering things requires this amount of rest. As a general rule, people sleep more deeply during non-REM states. A baby’s REM sleep time increases with his gestational age.
Impressive brain growth
A fetus during 26 weeks of gestation has more neurons than he would ever have again. At this stage, the fetus is thought to have around 100 billion neurons. There are between 60 and 85 billion neurons in an adult’s brain since those that don’t make it into functional circuits die off.
Myelination starts at the seven month mark. The process of myelination encases neurons in a fatty sheath to enhance their signaling speed. Myelination improves the efficacy of each connection within a brain circuit, yet neural circuits can nonetheless function without myelination. Myelination occurs in three stages beginning around 9 months after birth, beginning with the sensory systems, progressing through the motor systems, and ending in the association areas. Before the age of 25, myelination continued.
Your body at 26 weeks pregnant
By now in your pregnancy, you should have gained between 20 and 23 pounds (9-10.5 kg). As your body adapts to the additional weight, you may find that you no longer like your appearance. The recommended weight gain for pregnant women is between 9 and 13 kilograms (20 and 30 pounds).
While pregnant, a woman needs an extra 500 to 1,000 calories each day. Breastfeeding increases daily calorie needs by 500. This means that your weight gain is not coincidental.
Attempt to keep your cool. You will notice some rapid changes in your body as your pregnancy progresses to its final stages. Since your new form is probably very different from your old one, you may be feeling down on yourself and lacking in self-assurance. Don’t stress out too much about it.
The baby will be out and you’ll be more active as you breastfeed, both of which will contribute to your progressive weight loss after delivery. There will be significant water loss. The accumulation of fluids within the body contributes significantly to the appearance of fullness and congestion in the face. This is a natural occurrence throughout pregnancy.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself when you look in the mirror; instead, try to treat your body with love and respect.
You’re almost done with your second trimester! You may have noticed swelling in your face, hands, feet, and ankles. This swelling, called edema, happens as your body retains fluid to keep your blood volume high. With more blood flowing, your vessels are forced closer to the skin’s surface. Your tender gums may bleed when you brush your teeth. Drink plenty of water and try moderate exercise such as walking to ease swelling and help your circulation. Increased blood flow may also cause swelling inside your nasal passages, leading to congestion.
You’re past the midway mark and delivery day is around the corner—it’s time for some R&R! Giving yourself a break doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. By learning how to relax now, you’ll be more likely to use those same techniques later when midnight wake-up calls and endless feedings leave you needing a recharge.
Work out your knotted muscles with a massage. If you go to a professional massage therapist, ask first if he or she has experience with pregnant clients. Certain positions and massage techniques can be uncomfortable and potentially harmful to your unborn baby. Pregnancy-trained massage therapists will know just how to make your aching back more comfortable.
If you’re not up for a full massage, try a manicure or pedicure instead. More convenient and less expensive, manicures and pedicures can help you feel more relaxed. Besides, you probably can’t reach your toes to trim and paint them anyway.
Don’t forget that your partner makes for an excellent massage therapist! Look for local couples’ massage classes or ask your pregnancy masseuse if your partner can come along and learn some techniques. Check out books or DVDs from the library to figure out some simple massages you can do in the comfort of your own home.
One hot trend in pregnancy, babymoons. A clever take on honeymoons, babymoons have the same goal—to provide you and your partner some special time together. Many hotels offer babymoon packages with activities and extras with pampering in mind. Some packages include mini-fridges stocked with pickles and ice cream, or a couple’s massage with a pregnancy-trained masseuse.
You don’t need a “babymoon” package to get pampered though. Opt for a fine hotel to get the same service, or create your own babymoon atmosphere at home with your partner. Let your partner treat you to “room service” and have breakfast in bed—maybe even lunch and dinner too!
Prenatal exercise classes
Exercise may not sound like pampering, but choosing the right fitness class can give you a boost. For example, prenatal yoga classes will teach you relaxation techniques you can use during your pregnancy, labor, even after. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by other round-tummied classmates who understand what you’re going through.
Here’s a fun pregnancy exercise you may have not considered: bellydancing. That’s right, plenty of pregnant women are baring their bellies and learning moves that help them have fun and relax.
Ask your healthcare provider about prenatal classes in your area if you haven’t found any on your own.
Cutting back on your schedule
One of the best ways to pamper yourself is to trim your schedule. Prioritize so you can get done the things you need to (don’t add anything extra!). Enlist friends and family to help you accomplish what you’d like to finish—but that you don’t have the energy for. Accept invitations for older children to play at friends’ homes so you can get some rest. You should take breaks as often as possible so you feel energized and recharged.
26 weeks pregnant tips and advice
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important. Your body uses more water during your pregnancy to fuel your increased blood supply (necessary to get your baby-to-be plenty of nutrients) and other body functions. Taken to extremes, dehydration can lead to preterm labor pains. So bring a water bottle to work with you—and drink it.
Use the bathroom—often
Drinking more water means more trips to the bathroom. Add to that, your kidneys are working overtime to filter impurities from your increased blood supply. To avoid stares from coworkers, plan discrete potty breaks. Go when you first get to the office and take a break on the way from meetings or other times when you’re already up so your trips will be less noticeable. Putting off a trip to the bathroom is a bad idea—it makes you uncomfortable and puts stress on your bladder, which can lead to bladder infections.
Bring light snacks
Food may not be appealing, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. Skip a full-blown lunch and opt for lighter fare throughout the day. Keep in mind that some pregnancy comfort foods are dead giveaways, such as crackers. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret, try less notorious foods that still comfort nausea but that don’t shout, “I’m pregnant!” Opt for foods high in protein, such as string cheese, almonds, or milk.
Wear comfortable clothes
You’ve probably packed away your tight-fitting pants already. If you haven’t, now’s probably the time to say goodbye to your hip-hugging ensembles until after your baby’s arrival. Avoiding tight clothes isn’t just about hiding your baby bump. Your body may be retaining water to fuel your increased blood supply, and constricting clothes are not only tight on your skin, but the blood that’s trying to flow underneath.
Watch your posture
Take time to get off your feet and walk around. Staying in the same position for too long allows the blood to pool in the lower part of your body, potentially making you light-headed. Put your feet up whenever possible to keep your blood flowing properly.
Having Trouble Sleeping at 26 weeks Pregnant
Having difficulties sleeping is a common pregnant symptom, and it’s especially common in the second and third trimesters, when other pregnancy symptoms peak and a growing belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
When you’re 26 weeks pregnant, it could hurt to sleep on your stomach, but studies indicates that lying on your back puts more strain on the vena cava, the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Your blood circulation will increase if you sleep on your left side, which will also be good for your uterus, kidneys, and fetus. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try placing a pillow between your knees and another under your stomach. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.
26 weeks Pregnant: Wellness and Nutrition
What should you avoid during pregnancy? Doctors agree that you should avoid the following:
- Activities that may cause you to fall, or that place pressure or force on your belly
- Intense, overly vigorous exercise – if you’re too out of breath to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard.
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, and caffeine (ask your doctor how much caffeine you should consume each day)
- Sweeteners such as saccharine and herbal sweeteners (ask your doctor if artificial sweeteners are appropriate)
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check with your doctor about what’s safe during pregnancy)
- Paint, cleaning products, and solvents can expose you to chemicals and fumes. Acrylic and latex paints are generally considered safe. However, you should consult your doctor before helping around the house or in the nursery.
- Saunas and hot tubs
- Chemical treatments for your hair, such as dye and perms
26 weeks pregnancy symptoms
Your body undergoes many changes to give your baby-to-be enough room to grow. Some of these changes are comforting—your rounded belly and your full breasts, for example—while other signs can be troubling. Keep in mind that many of these physical changes will last only until your baby arrives.
Upper abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly, putting pressure on organs like the bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause mild pain in the upper abdomen that may extend to the lower abdomen or sides of your stomach. The pressure on your abdomen can also cause pain when you cough or sneeze.
Lower abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly and putting pressure on your bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause lower abdominal pain that may feel like mild cramping or a dull ache in the pelvic region. Back pain. The growing weight of your uterus on your spine can cause back pain that typically becomes worse as pregnancy progresses.
The weight of your uterus can put pressure on your veins and cause leg cramps or swelling. You may also experience varicose veins in your legs due to increased blood flow. Neck pain. As the baby grows, it puts more pressure on the spinal cord, which runs down through your neck and back. This can cause mild pain in the neck area that may extend into your shoulders and arms.
Your growing uterus can put pressure on your spine and cause back pain. The weight of the baby can also cause sciatica, which is when pain shoots down the back of one leg due to compression in the spinal cord. Backache. Your growing uterus may cause you to experience mild to moderate lower back pain or stiffness in your lower abdomen around this time.
You may find it harder to get comfortable when you’re pregnant. Your growing abdomen can make it more difficult for you to find a position that feels good, and your joints may be sore from carrying extra weight. You might also experience restless leg syndrome, which is when you feel like your legs are moving even though they aren’t. This happens because the joints in the body release chemicals that cause itching or tingling sensations when they are irritated by things like pregnancy hormones.
You may be experiencing swollen ankles, which is common during pregnancy. This happens because the increased levels of hormones in your body cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, including those that line the walls of your veins and arteries. It’s usually not a cause for concern unless you have swelling in both legs or it lasts longer than two weeks.
Breast changes and tenderness
Tenderness and slight alterations in the shape of your breasts are common pregnancy symptoms around the 26th week. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for these alterations, which help your body get ready for breastfeeding after giving birth. You might find that your breasts are more sensitive to touch and feel fuller than usual.
Fatigue (constant tiredness or weakness)
One of the most typical symptoms of early pregnancy is fatigue, which frequently starts at this point. Although there are many causes of exhaustion during pregnancy (including changes in hormone levels), some research indicates that inadequate sleep brought on by nighttime awakenings from unpleasant sleeping positions may also be a role.
Heartburn or gas
There may be a rise in heartburn and flatulence during the 26th week of pregnancy. This is because progesterone produces a decrease in the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which typically prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This can cause heartburn and discomfort by allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Try spreading your meals out more, staying away from items that are known to cause heartburn (such spicy foods), and drinking lots of water.
Mood swings and crying spells
The 26th week of pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, when they are more likely to experience mood swings and crying spells. Until your hormone levels settle, this will have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. This is a common occurrence for pregnant women; one study indicated that 75% of women felt emotional shifts like irritability or depression in the first trimester.
Pregnant stretch marks
In the 26th week of pregnancy, stretch marks, sometimes called striae gravidarum, may occur on the belly. Stretch marks form when the skin is forced apart and then stretched beyond its natural elasticity, as happens during rapid growth or weight gain (like pregnancy)
Indigestion, or constipation
During the 26th week of pregnancy, you may suffer gastrointestinal issues like indigestion or constipation. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen might increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues including indigestion. These hormones slow down digestion by relaxing the digestive tract, preventing food from being swallowed whole. You can reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion during pregnancy by cutting out on high-fat and sugary foods and eating more often, smaller meals (like sweets or fried foods).
Your body retains water to provide the necessary fluids for your growing baby-to-be. You can prevent much of this swelling from drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your legs up. You may also want to purchase socks designed to improve the circulation in your feet.
Your blood volume has increased dramatically to provide nutrients to your baby-to-be. This increase, along with swelling caused by pregnancy hormones, might make your gums bleed.
The skin’s pigmentation may deepen around certain parts of your body during pregnancy, such as your nipples and freckles. You may also notice spots of color on your face, called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. These pigmentation changes will fade after your baby’s born.
26 weeks pregnant belly size (baby bumb)
By the 26th week of pregnancy, your uterus has expanded to the size of a soccer ball. During your pregnancy, you will gain between 15 and 18 pounds (7-8 kg) and between 25 and 40 pounds (11-18 kg). Around this period, many women begin to develop extra water weight. Those swings are to be expected as long as your weight growth is healthy.
A baby’s movements will become more consistent and robust as time goes on. You should expect a lot of flips, hops, and kicks. Your infant may also begin to respond to sounds like your voice and other people talking.
Braxton Hicks at 26 weeks Pregnant
At 26 weeks pregnant, you may find that your Braxton Hicks contractions are becoming more frequent and intense. You may feel them in your back or lower abdomen, and they may last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. If you’re having regular contractions, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any pain or discomfort you experience during them.
Braxton Hicks are common during the third trimester. You may not even notice them because they feel like mild discomfort or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. They’re also called practice contractions because they prepare your body for real labor by getting it ready to push out a baby when the time comes.
26 weeks pregnant ultrasound
Unless you’re being closely monitored by your doctor, you won’t need an ultrasound at 26 weeks pregnant. To rule out gestational diabetes, a glucose challenge screening test should be performed between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
The importance of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need a greater amount of folic acid and iron. Why? Here are some reasons:
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects
These defects affect the fetal brain and spinal cord in a significant way. Preferably, you should begin taking extra folic acid three months before you become pregnant.
The placenta and baby require iron to develop
The body uses iron to make blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Additionally, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells
It’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which are the best prenatal vitamins to take before pregnancy, and how to calculate your expected delivery date.
26 weeks pregnant hCG levels
At 26 weeks pregnant, your hCG levels can range from about 4,060 – 165,400+ mIU/m.
Explore more in your pregnancy week-by-week
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
First Trimester Weeks:
Second Trimester Weeks
Third Trimester Weeks
Pregnant Women Also Asked:
Got questions about week 6? Other ladies have wondered this…
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- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). (2018.)
- Knowing if you are pregnant. (2019).
- Navigating your pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Pregnancy. (2017).
- Pregnancy: Sensitivity and specificity. (n. d.).
- Pregnancy tests. (n.d.)
- Pregnancy week by week. Weeks 1–2. (n.d.).
- Stages of pregnancy. (n.d.).