Your guide to being 26 weeks pregnant:
How are you feeling in week 26 of your pregnancy?
Your baby’s nostrils are opening up, so she’ll be able to practise breathing through her nose as well as her mouth. Her eyes are developing the ability to focus, although she’ll only be able to see objects 15-20cm away at birth. Her lungs are maturing and she’d have an 80 per cent chance of survival if she was born now.
Lengthwise, your baby’s growth has slowed down now, but she’s still gaining lots of fat. Her movements are likely to be strong enough to be seen from the outside, and you may be able to make out the rough shape of a protruding foot, elbow or bottom. The network of nerves to her ears are now fully developed, and she’ll noticeably react to external noises. She’s also likely to have a burst of activity just after you’ve eaten.
What’s happening to you
At the end of the second trimester, the top of your uterus should measure 26cm above your pubic bone. If yours measures significantly bigger or smaller than this, your midwife may advise a growth scan to establish whether there are any underlying problems with your baby’s size.
You’re carrying a litre more blood than you were pre-pregnancy, and your blood pressure will rise slightly throughout the third trimester to allow for this. However, sharp rises may be a sign of pre-eclampsia, so your midwife will check it at every antenatal appointment. You may be feeling hotter than usual, and your breasts might have started leaking drops of colostrum (pre-milk).
Water retention is common in late pregnancy and you may notice your ankles swelling, in particular. Keeping your feet elevated slightly when you’re sitting may help. And make sure you’re drinking around eight glasses of water a day – if you’re dehydrated, your body will try even harder to retain water.
When to check it out
Sudden swelling, particularly of the face, fingers or legs, can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, so make sure you see your midwife or GP urgently, or contact the maternity unit for advice.
‘To do’ this week
If you haven’t managed a pre-baby holiday yet, grab a last-minute break around now. Your travel options are restricted, as most airlines won’t routinely carry pregnant women after 27 weeks, but there are plenty of bump-friendly destinations nearer home, from city breaks to relaxing country hideaways.
Wow! Did you know…
Your baby will be born with over 70 reflexes that develop in the womb. One of the strongest is sucking – some babies are even born with sucking blisters on their thumbs or fingers, because the urge to latch on is so strong.