26th Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development, Tips And Body Changes

26th week pregnancy

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 26 Weeks?

In the 26th week of pregnancy, you are five months and three weeks pregnant. You are just two weeks away from entering the sixth month.

By now, your baby develops a human form, and things start to move a bit faster than usual.

Here, Momjunction explains the baby’s development, changes in your body, precautions to take and the tips to follow when you enter the 26th week.

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How Big Is Your Baby At 26 Weeks?

At 26 weeks, the baby is as big as a scallion (1). The baby measures about 14.01in (35.6cm) and weighs around 1.68lb (760g) (2).

Here is a look at how your baby is developing inside the womb during the 26th week.

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Baby Development In The 26th Week

[ Read: 27th Week Pregnancy ]

In this week, the baby’s body parts are developing as follows (3):

Body partsDevelopment
EyesBegin to open and close. The iris doesn’t display its actual color yet, so the eyes are still blue.
SkinCovered by a waxy coating called vernix caseosa. Body fat starts accumulating under the skin. Melanin, which gives color to the skin, is formed.
Fingers and toesFingerprints and footprints are formed.
Auditory systemThe baby starts responding consistently to sounds.
LungsThe air sacs are formed, but lungs not fully matured. They begin production of surfactant that prepares the lungs for breathing (). The amniotic fluid swallowed by the baby also aids in lung development at this stage.
LimbsArms and legs are fully developed. Sucking movements and baby kicks are more prominent.
Digestive systemStill developing (5)
BrainDeveloping; The nervous system is somewhat developed and controls certain bodily functions.
HeartFully functional and beating at the rate of 140/minute.
MouthTooth buds and taste buds are developing (6).
HairEyelashes and eyebrows are formed while the hair on the head is growing longer.

Fetal movements at 26 weeks: The kicks and punches are more prominent by this time. The baby develops sleep patterns and is likely to be more active during the night.

As your pregnancy progresses, the level of discomfort also increases.

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What Are The Symptoms You Have In The 26th Week Of Pregnancy?

Here are a few symptoms you might have at this time:

  1. Trouble sleeping: By this time, getting a good night’s sleep becomes difficult. Gentle exercises and use of extra pillows can help you settle down at night.
  1. Swelling: Water retention in the body causes swelling of the feet, hands, and face. Severe swelling could be a sign of preeclampsia and needs medical attention.
  1. Headaches/ migraines: These could be a cause of hormonal fluctuations or stress. Meditation and yoga can relieve the stress. Acupuncture and biofeedback are other alternative therapies that are safe for treating migraine during pregnancy (7).
  1. Memory loss: Due to the hormonal fluctuations, you may experience temporary memory loss. So noting down important things on a notepad or your smartphone can help.
  1. Braxton Hicks contractions: Some pregnant women may experience irregular contractions, also called as Braxton Hicks contractions. If the contractions are continuous and painful, then consult the doctor immediately as it could be a sign of preterm labor.
  1. High blood pressure: A high blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome (8).
  1. Itching: It happens due to the stretching of the skin. Severe itching could be due to obstetric cholestasis, which is a liver disorder.
  1. Bloating and gas: The growing uterus pushes the stomach out, causing bloating. Also, the progesterone hormone relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles, which slows down the digestion process and makes you feel bloated.
  1. Clumsiness: The shift in the body’s center of gravity as well as the loosened joints make you prone to slipping or tripping. While this clumsiness is temporary, care should be taken to prevent falls or other accidents.
  1. Round ligament pain: The growing uterus stretches the ligaments of the groin causing pain.
  1. Blurred vision: The fluids filling-up behind the eyes can cause blurred vision.

With the growing baby, the body also undergoes several physical and mental changes.

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[ Read: 28th Week Pregnancy ]

Changes In The Body In The 26th Week

Physical changes:

  • Enlarged belly: At this week, the uterus is further stretched, and the belly looks bigger with a protruding navel. The top of the uterus can be felt about 2 ½ inches above the belly button.
  • Swollen breasts
  • Blue veins are more prominent as there is more blood flow towards the pelvic region and the breasts.
  • Stretch marks

Emotional changes:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety

While these are common changes that most women experience, some unusual symptoms may indicate preterm labor, which warrants immediate medical attention.

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Preterm Labor At 26 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Labor that starts too early, between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy, is termed as preterm or premature labor (9). Babies born between 24 and 28 weeks are extremely premature and weigh less than 1000g (2.2lb) (10).

The survival rate of babies born with weight ranging from 751-1000g is 82%. These babies can also develop severe disabilities like cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), blindness, deafness, and mental retardation (11), (12).

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When To Call The Doctor

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away as it may indicate preterm labor (13):

  • A contraction in every 10 minutes or more often (five or more contractions in an hour)
  • Fluid leak from your vagina (rupture of the amniotic sac)
  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Low, dull backache
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
  • An unusual or sudden increase in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding

In the absence of these, a regular OB/GYN visit is enough.

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[ Read: 25th Week Pregnancy ]

Your OB/GYN Visit

The doctor’s visit might include:

  • Physical tests including weight check, blood pressure, and fundal height measurement.
  • Screening for Rh negative (Rh factor).The Rh factor is a protein on the surface of the red blood cells. If the mother is Rh-negative (no Rh factor) and the fetus is Rh-positive (has the Rh factor), the mother’s body starts developing antibodies that work against the Rh factor, causing damages to the red blood cells of the fetus (14).
  • Glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes. This involves a preliminary glucose challenge test, where blood is drawn for testing an hour after you drink glucose water. If the test is positive, a glucose tolerance test is done.

For this, you have to fast overnight, and blood is tested before you consume anything. Then another test is carried out after you consume glucose water, followed by an hourly blood test for three hours. An abnormal glucose level indicates gestational diabetes (15).

Therefore, be careful of what you eat and what you do to keep yourself happy and energetic during this phase of pregnancy.

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Tips To Follow

Here are some tips that help you stay healthy during the pregnancy.

  • Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and eat home-cooked food. Include fish like pollock, salmon, shrimp, catfish, anchovies, and cod that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid shark, tilefish, king mackerel and swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Too much of caffeine is also bad, as it can affect the growth of the fetus.
  • Continue taking prenatal vitamin supplements like folic acid and iron.
  • Engage in moderate physical activities like walking.
  • Stay calm and keep stress at bay.
  • Your body needs enough rest, so relax as much as you can.
  • Do not take any medication without the doctor’s permission.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothes.
  • Maintain oral hygiene.
  • Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Avoid cleaning the cat litters to avoid toxoplasmosis.

You should also:

  • Engage yourself in reading books and activities that make you feel happy.
  • Carry fruits and healthy snacks with you, if you are a working woman.
  • Spend more time with family and friends.

You need all the support you can get from your partner when you are pregnant. Find out more about it next.

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[ Read: 29th Week Pregnancy ]

Tips For Dad-To-Be

Here’s what your partner can do:

  • Help with household chores
  • Create a good environment at home
  • Attend all the prenatal visits with you
  • Plan for maternal shopping and outings
  • Give you a good neck and foot massage

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There are a few more weeks left to welcome your tiny one to this world. Though the journey is not going to be really pleasant, the feeling of becoming a mom is strong and can help you to overcome any negative emotions. So, try and have a good time.

Do you have any experience to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

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