Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 26 of Pregnancy

You are now approaching the end of your second trimester. Your body is adjusting to its new shape. Your tummy while big is not huge and bulky, and for the most part you are probably enjoying the attention everyone is offering you during pregnancy.

A common symptom occurring somewhere around this time is “Braxton Hicks”. These are painless contractions that feel like tightening and relaxing of the uterus. It can happen throughout the day irregularly. This is the body’s way of preparing for labour.



Your body

Your uterus should be roughly 6.5 cm above your belly button and should continue growing roughly 1 cm every week from now onwards. As you continue your pregnancy you might start to become less comfortable. Common symptoms some women experience around this time include back pain and leg cramps. Apart from this, you may suffer from a condition called restless leg syndrome where you will experience restlessness and jittery legs. Do simple exercises that slowly stretch the muscles and keep you physically active.

As your bump is getting bigger, problems like backache, leg cramps, headaches, and round ligament pain may be become more frequent and pronounced. Refer to our section on second trimester symptoms to get some tips to ease your discomforts.

Even though you are probably eating well, you may still experience periodic indigestion, heart burn, bloating and intestinal gas. These problems can be expected as your muscles relax under the influence of the pregnancy hormones. Continue to eat things that are easy to digest. Mild swelling in your ankles and feet is common and expected. Elevate your legs whenever possible. Contact your doctor if you have severe swelling.  If you are gaining weight rapidly, you may have to have glucose tolerance test done to check for pregnancy diabetes. It is important to monitor your blood pressure during pregnancy for signs of elevation. Increased blood pressure that is accompanied by edema is called preeclampsia; the more severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy is called eclampsia.



Your baby


Your baby is still a lean 820 gms and measures 23 cm. Its skin is wrinkled and pink to bright red because blood is visible in the tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Your baby measures about 35 cm from the top of his head to his bottom.  He can respond to touch- remember that when you see the form of a little hand or foot poking out! By this time, eyebrows and eyelashes are usually present. Over the next couple of days, your baby’s finger nails will become noticeable.

Now that the nostrils have begun to open, your baby will make periodic muscular breathing movements as its body prepares to draw air into the lungs at birth. These breathing movements stimulate lung development and can be detected by ultrasound.  Your baby might be developing this habit of thumb sucking. While his hands remain clenched most of the time, he might unclench and stick out his thumb every now and then. It may your baby’s way of comforting himself. Your baby now has distinct sleeping and waking cycles. You may be able to notice a pattern. He may be very active during certain parts of the day, particularly after you have eaten. You will feel his kicks and somersaults, while at other times, he sleeps. You can monitor your baby on a daily basis by counting the kicks. Babies on an average make about 10 movements a day. Your baby’s eyes begin opening, and brain wave activity for the visual and auditory systems begin.

Lungs begin to develop air sacs around this time. The lungs secrete a substance called surfactant, which cover the inner lining of the air sacs in the lungs. The lungs then start to expand normally while breathing.


Remember

Pregnancy yoga is a great way of keeping yourself fit during pregnancy. Yoga during pregnancy helps stretch the ligaments around pelvis that will make your labour easier. Yoga also teaches you breathing and relaxation techniques that will benefit you immensely during labour. However, make sure that your instructor is well trained in pregnancy yoga.



FAQs

1) What is preeclampsia?

After week 20 of pregnancy, some women develop high blood pressure. This is referred to as preeclampsia. You should be on a lookout for any sudden swelling of hands and feet or rapid weight gain. Frequent headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and severe upper abdominal pain are other warning signs. You need to see your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.

High blood pressure during pregnancy needs to be controlled by bed rest and medications. The treatment needs be swift to prevent eclampsia which is a serious condition that could cause seizures. Refer to the section on complications of pregnancy to read more.



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