Week 26 of Your Pregnancy
Your baby opens its eyes for the first time in the 26th week.
Don’t be alarmed when you step on the scale in the 26th week. In the next few weeks, your weight will increase significantly due to water retention and your belly will visibly grow. Maybe you treat yourself to massages with nourishing oils to prepare the skin for the growth spurt? What else is going on with you and your baby – and what is important in the 26th week.
Here you can find all of our 2nd trimester articles:
26th week: This is what happens to you
During this week, you will develop a very secure feeling for your baby’s movements and well-being. If you are worried because your baby hasn’t moved for a while or doesn’t respond to your touch, you should listen to your gut feeling. It is usually advised to wait for 24 hours and then contact your doctor if the baby does not move. If your gut tells you something different, you should follow it. It is better to go to the doctor once too often than once too little and endanger your baby.
On average, most pregnant women gain between 15 and 24 lbs by the 26th week of pregnancy. However, the weight develops very individually. In addition, weight fluctuations can occur due to water retention, which is quite normal during pregnancy. If you are worried about your weight, talk to your gynecologist or midwife about your concerns. If you want to prevent unnecessary pregnancy weight, a healthy diet and physical activity are the best measures to take.
Your uterus grows along with your baby for a week to provide it with enough space. The fundus of the uterus is now about 2.36″ above your belly button. The weight of the uterus causes the organs to shift a little. This is not a cause for concern, because they will all be back in their original places after the birth.
During the 26th week of pregnancy, pregnancy discomforts increase again due to the increasing stress on the body.
Exercise contractions increase
With the 26th week, the exercise contractions increase increasingly and the body prepares itself for birth. The exercise contractions are also called Braxton-Hicks contractions. You will notice them by a slight pulling in your abdomen, but they can also occur with almost no noticeable discomfort. During an exercise contraction, your abdomen becomes hard because the muscles of the uterus contract and practice contractions for the birth. Practice contractions do not pose any danger to your baby. On the contrary, your body is practicing the processes of birth so that your baby can be delivered without complications.
In the 26th week of pregnancy, all women have practice contractions. It is possible that you do not perceive them as such, but think they are abdominal pain.
Real contractions make themselves felt with severe pain, several times a day and usually for hours. The pain and frequency of real contractions become progressively more severe. This may be accompanied by a dull ache in the lower back, as well as discharge and cramping in the bowels, and diarrhea. Listen to your body’s signals and contact your midwife or doctor immediately if you notice irregularities in your exercise contractions and feel that something is wrong.
Due to the increasing weight of the baby and uterus, you may experience severe back pain, sciatic nerve discomfort, and heavy legs.
You can relieve your back and prevent discomfort by adopting the correct posture when walking and lifting. The more you arch your back, the more problems your back will experience. Try to keep yourself as straight as possible to relieve pressure on your spine.
Avoid standing for long periods of time as much as possible, and take regular breaks.
Against heavy legs, it helps to put your legs up at every opportunity and to shower your calves hot and cold alternately. Massages also relieve your discomfort.
Long walks, gentle yoga, or swimming can provide you with additional relief from discomfort and keep you fit for birth. Have a look at the service program of your midwife. Many offer various treatments for pregnancy discomforts and there is one that can help you.
Due to the pressure of the uterus on the organs, there is increasing irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to a feeling of fullness after eating, heartburn and nausea may occur. This is due to the reduced amount of food absorbed by the stomach.
Pregnant women have a limited immune system because the organism is highly stressed with the processes of pregnancy. Therefore, always pay attention to fresh food and hygienic preparation of food to avoid infections. Keep in mind the “forbidden foods”.
In principle, it is not possible to completely avoid stretch marks. During pregnancy, the connective tissue is over stressed, as in no other condition in a woman’s life. Depending on the genetic constellation and the size of the belly, stretch marks and cracks in the skin tissue occur to a greater or lesser extent due to the state of tension in the skin layer. The preventive measure is regular massage with an oil or a care lotion – this way you positively support the elasticity of your skin.
Therefore, put cream on your skin every day. Create a ritual of putting on the cream and feeling good, this is the best way to prevent itching of the skin and stretch marks.
The baby at 26 weeks gestation
At 26 weeks of pregnancy, the baby now weighs between 1 ¾ and 2 pounds and measures 14-plus inches long (about the size of a scallion).
It is still very mobile. It often stretches to its full length. The ultrasound image often shows a small thumb-sucker – the baby continues to form its reflexes. Thumb sucking is all about the sucking reflex. By playing extensively with its fingers, toes as well as umbilical cord, the baby trains its grasping reflex. Drinking the amniotic fluid “perfects” the swallowing reflex, and at the same time prepares the urinary and digestive systems for their functions. The baby can also react to pain at this stage. At the time of birth, it has a total of more than 70 innate reflexes.
In the 26th week of gestation, the nostrils open. Breathing function is also trained from now on by inhaling amniotic fluid. The baby’s eyes are now open. Their color initially varies between different shades of blue in all children. The individual pigmentation of the iris will only emerge after birth.
Due to the formation of the corresponding nerve pathways, the eyes are already well-connected with the cerebral cortex in the 26th week of pregnancy: The child can see and thereby distinguish the change of colors and shapes. The nerve plexus of the ears is now also largely developed. The baby can distinguish sounds and also voices with increasing differentiation, enjoys music, and responds to its parents’ voices.
The baby has been aware of external touches for a few weeks and is now reaching more and more strongly to them. It may respond immediately to the stroking of its belly with an extra boxer.
From now on, its movements can considerably disturb its mother’s sleep rhythm, with hormonal factors also playing a role. At rest, the mother’s body now begins to release labor hormones that are supposed to prepare the uterus for the birth of the baby. At the same time, these hormones stimulate the baby’s activity and urge to move. By the 26th week of gestation, most mothers have a confident sense of their baby’s movements and, therefore, well-being. If an active baby suddenly moves less and this condition persists for hours, a visit to the doctor or midwife provides reassurance. In some cases, it is recommended to wait 24 hours – but it makes sense to listen to your own feelings. In most cases, ultrasound and measurement of the baby’s heart rate will show that everything is fine, and it is just a slightly longer period of rest.
Even while you are pregnant, you may not be spared from illness. Especially in the cold season, for example, a cold threatens, which can sometimes be really annoying.
Since the immune system is heavily stressed during pregnancy, women in other circumstances catch colds more often.
Many medications are now taboo for you. Your doctor will explain this to you. However, you can still take action for a common cold. Many commonly known home remedies help to alleviate the symptoms. For example, drink plenty of tea (chamomile tea, elderflower tea, lime blossom tea) and eat hot chicken soup. Onion juice with a little honey or rock candy is also said to be good for the cough. Inhaling with hot water vapor helps with a stuffy nose. Fresh chamomile tea or chamomile flowers are suitable additives. From the second trimester onwards – in which you have long been in the 26th week – certain pregnancy-compatible essential oils (e.g. lavender oil) can even be added to the water bath. Consult your midwife about this. Of course, illnesses cannot always be avoided.
Nevertheless, try to keep your immune system fit with light exercise, plenty of fresh air and a healthy diet. Prevent cold feet with warm wool socks, and make sure – especially during a cold wave – to wash your hands often and thoroughly.
Why is it so important to exercise the pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder, and bowels during pregnancy. However, the increasing weight of the baby exerts great pressure on them and thus stretches them greatly. Giving birth then puts another enormous strain on the pelvic floor muscles.
That’s why you should exercise your pelvic floor muscles regularly so that they have normal tension again afterward. If the muscles remain slack in the long term, there is a risk of bladder weakness, for example. Yoga tailored to the spherical period is also good for many pregnant women.
FAQ - Twenty Sixth week of Pregnancy
In the 26th week of gestation, the fundal position (the upper edge of the uterus) is usually well above the navel, but below the costal arch. The baby still likes to turn around often. Exactly how and where it lies will only become important for your doctor in the last weeks before the birth.
Your baby’s nostrils are opening now, in the 26th week of gestation. The unborn baby now starts a kind of provisional breathing, which still has to be trained vigorously until the birth. Your baby inhales the amniotic fluid by sucking it in through the nostrils.
The chances of survival of premature babies have increased to 95 percent this week. The risk of serious complications and late effects due to premature birth is now gradually decreasing.