26 Weeks Pregnant
26 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development
At 26 weeks, your baby’s lungs are hard at work, getting ready to take those first breaths once he’s born. The lungs are now starting to produce surfactant, which is a substance that helps the lungs inflate properly with each breath.
By now, your baby's sucking reflex is so strong that if his hand floats by his face, he might suck on his thumb or fingers. Ultrasounds often show babies sucking their thumbs.
Your baby’s skin is starting to take on a reddish color, though it’s still slightly translucent. Hair continues to grow on his head, and eyelashes are also starting to sprout.
If you’re eagerly awaiting the day when you can look into your newborn’s eyes, you’re a little more than halfway there. Although your baby’s eyes have been sealed shut up to this point, they’ll soon open, and he can practice blinking.
When you're 26 weeks pregnant, you may want to start tracking your baby’s movements, if your healthcare provider approves. Download our fetal movement tracker to keep a count of all those little kicks, flips, and pokes. Your baby’s position may change from time to time, and in the coming weeks, it will be important to pay attention to the frequency of his movements. Your healthcare provider will let you know more about how to do this.
How Big Is Your Baby at 26 Weeks?
Your baby is about the size of a zucchini at 26 weeks pregnant. He could measure about 9 inches, from crown to rump, and may weigh nearly 2 pounds.
Mom’s Body at 26 Weeks Pregnant
The end of your second trimester is quickly approaching! In just two weeks, or from 28 weeks onward, you’ll begin your third trimester. Your belly and breasts are continuing to grow, so you’ll want to make sure you’re dressing comfortably and wearing a well-fitting, supportive bra with wide straps and ample cup coverage. A department store or specialty lingerie shop may stock a variety of maternity bras as well as provide professional fittings to make sure you’re wearing the right size.
You may notice stretch marks appearing on your belly, breasts, and thighs around 26 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, these can’t be prevented, but you can take some comfort in the fact that they usually fade after you give birth. If your expanding skin is itchy, make sure you’re moisturizing often.
If you experience any abdominal pain or discomfort around 26 weeks pregnant, your healthcare provider may suggest an ultrasound to check the amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
Pelvic pain. At 26 weeks pregnant, the ligaments in your pelvis may be loosening and becoming more flexible in preparation for labor and delivery. This can cause pain in your pelvic area and lower back that you may feel when you sit down or stand up from a chair, or when you walk up or down stairs. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage and alleviate back pain using exercise, stretches, and other methods.
Braxton Hicks contractions. Some moms-to-be experience these so-called practice contractions in the second trimester, though the third trimester is a more likely time for these to occur. Braxton Hicks contractions may feel like a tightness in your abdomen, or they can be a bit more painful. Be aware that they’re more likely to strike later in the day and after exercise or sexual activity. Staying hydrated is one way you can help ward off Braxton Hicks contractions. If you are unsure if you’re feeling Braxton Hicks or true labor contractions, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can crop up during your pregnancy as you start preparing for your baby’s arrival, and it’s normal to feel a bit anxious about the life changes that lie ahead. If you have a history of depression, or if you find yourself more worried or anxious than usual, talk to your healthcare provider about stress during pregnancy. Keeping up a moderate exercise routine can also help you manage stress, as can getting together with friends. Give yourself a break from time to time, too, and remember that you’re not alone.
Urinary tract infections. During pregnancy, these infections are not uncommon, as bacteria can sometimes make its way into the body through the urethra. Urinary tract infections can lead to more serious bladder or kidney infections if not treated, so let your healthcare provider know right away if you experience painful urination, a strong urge to urinate, or a fever. Your provider may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider
Some moms-to-be enlist the help of a doula, who can act as a professional assistant during labor and delivery and can help out during the postpartum period. Though not a substitute for doctors, nurses, and other providers with medical training, doulas can offer emotional support, help you communicate effectively with hospital staff, and can even help get you started with breastfeeding after delivery. If having a doula is something that interests you, ask your healthcare provider or your childbirth class instructor (and classmates) for recommendations.
You may wish to create a birth plan to help define what you might like to happen during your labor and delivery and to share your preferences with your birth partner and the hospital staff. What you choose to include is up to you, but it's a good idea to consult your healthcare provider while writing it, as she will have valuable recommendations and know more about what is available and appropriate for your specific situation. Having a birth plan is certainly not required, and, even if you do have one, it’s important to be flexible. The birth of your baby may not go exactly according to plan. If you’re interested and would like some inspiration on what you could include, download our birth plan guide. Once your plan is finalized, print several copies for hospital staff and your birth partner.
Keep an eye on your fluids and your fiber intake. Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day helps you stay hydrated, improves digestion, and helps prevent urinary and bladder infections. It also helps ensure your growing baby gets the nutrients he needs. Meanwhile, consuming enough fiber (25 grams daily) can help you avoid constipation while also reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease. If you need to ramp up your fiber consumption, add foods like bananas, whole-wheat pastas, lentils, and apples to your diet. One banana contains about three grams of fiber, and a cup of whole-wheat pasta gives you about six grams, making them great fiber sources.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor
What is cord blood banking, and is this something I should consider?
Do I need the Tdap vaccination to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and if so, when?
What should I do if I’m not sure whether I’m feeling Braxton Hicks or true labor contractions? Who can I call if I’m in doubt and it’s after-hours?
How can I be sure I’m getting enough vitamin D in my diet?
What happens if my blood pressure gets too high?
How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.