At this point, your baby bump is roughly 2.5-3 inches above your umbilicus and is increasing at a rate of about a centimeter every week. Learn about what to expect during the 26th week of pregnancy and how you can plan ahead.
What is baby development at 26 weeks?
- Growth: Your baby has likely reached a length of 13.7 inches and weighs about 1.98 pounds. Wrinkles in the skin start to disappear because fat accumulates below the skin and muscles start to develop.
- Lungs: Your baby swallows amniotic fluid, which helps with lung development. Your baby starts to develop surfactants in the lungs that allow them to breathe and survive outside your womb.
- Heart: Your baby’s blood vessels and circulatory system are not completely functional, meaning the heart is beating and blood is pumping throughout the body.
- Skin: Your baby’s skin starts to produce melanin, a pigment that protects the skin from sunlight after birth.
- Eyes: Up until this point, your baby’s eyes have closed to allow time for the retina to develop. At 26 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s eyes will begin to open. The irises still lack pigmentation, which will develop over the following month or two.
- Hair: Hair on the head and lashes around the eyes start to develop.
- Nervous system: Your baby’s brain wave activity increases, and the nerves in the ears begin to mature. Your baby may respond to loud sounds and light and may move in response to stimuli.
- Movements: Your baby may kick, poke, and flip throughout the day. It is important to pay attention to the frequency of fetal movements in the following weeks.
What pregnancy symptoms can you expect at 26 weeks?
- Pain: Pain in your pelvis, lower back, ribs, legs, and knees is common when your body weight increases. The ligaments in your pelvis may become more flexible in preparation for labor and delivery. This can result in pain in the pelvic area and lower back when you sit, stand, or go up or down the stairs.
- Swelling: Your ankles and knees may begin to swell.
- Urinary tract infections (UTI): UTIs are fairly common during pregnancy. If left untreated, UTIs can progress to a more serious bladder or kidney infection. Notify your doctor right away if you experience painful urination, urgency, or fever. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.
- Headaches: At this point, headaches and migraines are quite common. Headaches may also cause poor sleep quality.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Some pregnant women experience contractions in the second trimester, although they are more common during the third trimester. Braxton Hicks contractions feel like a tightening in your stomach, and they can be painful. They are more likely to occur later in the day and after exercise or sexual activity. Staying hydrated is one method to avoid Braxton Hicks contractions. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions or actual labor contractions, talk to your doctor right away.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are common during pregnancy as you begin to prepare for childbirth. If you have a history of depression or are feeling more nervous than usual, talk to your doctor.
Other symptoms you may experience during week 26 of pregnancy include:
What are potential pregnancy complications at 26 weeks?
- Gestational diabetes: Since there are chances of developing gestational diabetes, you need to get tested.
- Anemia: Anemia is common during pregnancy. It is recommended to get your iron levels checked and take supplements accordingly.
- Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a dangerous pregnancy complication in which blood pressure elevates. It usually begins after 20 weeks and warning signs include water retention in the legs. Immediate management of preeclampsia is necessary to protect both mother and baby.
How can you plan ahead at 26 weeks of pregnancy?
With each passing week, you come closer to the delivery, and that means it is time to start thinking about your birth plan. You can start outlining how you want each stage of labor to be handled and what to do in the event of an emergency.
It is also important to be on the lookout for symptoms that could indicate preterm labor and birth such as:
- 5 or more contractions in an hour that are similar to menstrual pain
- Water breaking
- Pelvic breasure
- Vaginal bleeding
If you experience persistent contractions or your water breaks, contact your doctor immediately.
American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 26. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/week-by-week/26-weeks-pregnant/
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/how-your-fetus-grows-during-pregnancy
Birth Injury Help Center. Risks of Complication at Every Stage of Pregnancy. https://www.birthinjuryhelpcenter.org/complication-pregnant.html
Top Is Week 26 the Third Trimester Related Articles
Fetal DevelopmentTake a peek inside the womb to see the stages of fetal development. Learn how embryos develop and grow during pregnancy. See week after week ultrasound images of your baby in the womb.
Is It Normal to Have Headaches in Second Trimester Pregnancy?Many women experience headaches during pregnancy. Headaches tend to be worse during the first trimester and they get better in the second and third trimesters although some women still experience headaches during the second trimester.
Is It Normal to Lose Appetite in 2nd Trimester Pregnancy?What to know about losing your appetite in pregnancy. Learn about the risks and how you can make sure you're eating a healthy diet.
Second Trimester (16 Weeks) PictureThe Baby at 16 Weeks. Muscle tissue and bone continue to form, creating a more complete skeleton. See a picture of Second Trimester (16 Weeks) and learn more about the health topic.
What Are the Dos and Don'ts During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy?2nd trimester pregnancy - Learn what you should and shouldn't do during the second trimester of pregnancy to protect you and your baby's health. Prenatal vitamins, exercise, sleep, no alcohol or smoking and more.
Stages of Pregnancy: Week by WeekSee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Pregnancy: 7 Common Third Trimester TestsTesting is often recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy. These tests are designed to ensure the health and safety of both the child and mother. Common tests during the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy include:
- group B streptococcus screening,
- electronic fetal heart monitoring,
- nonstress test,
- contraction stress test, and
- a biophysical profile.
What Exercise Can I Do in 2nd Trimester?Women without any form of medical complications can safely start or keep on exercising during a second-trimester pregnancy. Exercises a woman can do in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy include walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and yoga and Pilates.
What Happens in the 2nd Trimester Pregnancy?The second trimester of pregnancy is often the most comfortable for women. In the second trimester of pregnancy, a woman experiences a growing belly, body pains, melasma, bleeding gums, dizziness, carpel tunnel syndrome, swelling and other changes.
Which Fruit is Best in the Second Trimester?When you are pregnant, it is important to have a well-balanced diet, with variable nutritious foods that include fruit and vegetables. Fruits that are the most important to eat during the second trimester include bananas, apples, berries and other fruits.