Your baby at 26 weeks is the size of a zucchini. They are roughly 33.3cm from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length) and they weigh approximately 902g. 

Your second trimester is nearly over and you’ve probably noticed lots of physical changes in your body. Your baby is also going through physical changes that will prepare them for their big arrival. 

pregnancy week 26 fetus weight and size compared to vegetable

Your baby at 26 weeks

Babies at 26 weeks are very active in the womb. Their eyes are beginning to open and their ears are able to pick up on more sounds. If you have a dog, you may notice that your baby will start kicking when it begins barking. 

Eyes

A 26-week fetus has fully developed eyes that are starting to open. They also have some newly sprouted eyelashes and eyebrows to go with them. 

It’s still undecided what color they will be. The iris needs another month or so to fill out with pigment. Even then, the color might not be their permanent shade until about 6 to 12 months after birth. 

Movement 

As your baby grows, it might seem to feel as if they’re getting a bit cramped in your womb. Don’t worry, they still have lots of space to grow. Their movement just might start to feel a bit tighter and pronounced.

You may begin to feel an occasional pedaling motion against your stomach. This is your baby practicing their pre-walking skills.  

Male reproductive system

If you’re having a boy, their testicles usually start their descent into the scrotum during week 26. This process will slowly carry on, and they will only finish their descent between weeks 33 and 35. 

Premature birth

A baby born at 26 weeks has a very good chance of survival outside of the womb. A 2016 cohort study placed their survival rate at 86 percent. Although, they will still be extremely premature and have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

Your body at 26 weeks pregnant

week 26 pregnant belly
Image from Leah Kelley on Pexels

At 26 weeks pregnant, your symptoms are becoming increasingly noticeable as your body continues to accommodate your growing fetus. Here are some common changes you may notice around this time. 

  • Clumsiness. If you’re feeling a bit clumsy these days, you’re not alone. Fatigue, a growing baby bump, and the loosening of your ligaments due to pregnancy hormones can all play a role in making you feel a bit less coordinated. 
  • Back pain. An aching back is a pregnancy symptom that most people experience at some point. This can be caused by many things: putting on weight, your growing uterus weakening your abdominal muscles, a shift in your center of gravity, and your hormones relaxing the joints of your pelvis.

To help with back pain, stick with comfortable shoes, and avoid lifting heavy objects. You can also consider booking a prenatal massage with a certified therapist. 

  • Leg cramps. Another not-so-great pregnancy symptom is leg cramps. They are most common at night, and can even strike when you’re fast asleep. It’s not entirely clear what causes them, but keeping hydrated, regular exercise, and stretching before bed can help prevent them. 
  • Insomnia. As the weeks pass by, you may start to experience trouble sleeping. Several factors can play a role in pregnancy insomnia, like anxiety and stress, uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, and a change in hormones. 

To ensure a good night’s rest, keep a regular exercise routine, stay hydrated throughout the day, and pay attention to your mental health. 

Taking care of yourself when pregnant at 26 weeks

vegetables as a rich source of fibre
Image from Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

Your baby at 26 weeks isn’t the only one who needs TLC. Focusing on your wellbeing during pregnancy is very important and can help boost your mood. Here are some tips and advice that will benefit both you and your baby. 

  • Remember, fiber is fuel. Eating a diet high in fiber during pregnancy comes with so many health benefits. It keeps your digestive tract running smoothly, which will help ward off pregnancy symptoms, like constipation and hemorrhoids. 

Fiber also makes you feel full for longer, which can help you control your appetite and manage your weight. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are all excellent – and easy to find, sources of fiber. 

  • Pay attention to posture. Keeping a good posture when pregnant can help manage back and neck pain. It can also help ward off fatigue. 

When sitting and standing, hold your head up straight and try not to lean forward. Your shoulder blades should be slightly back and in line with your ear lobes. 

As far as your sleeping posture goes, make sure to avoid laying on your back. This places too much pressure on the inferior vena cava, a major vein that transfers blood to your heart. 

Starting at around week 20 of pregnancy, it’s recommended to only sleep on your sides. 

  • Look into getting a doula. Hiring a doula might just be one of the best decisions you make during pregnancy. These trained individuals provide health-related care during labor and delivery. However, unlike a midwife, they are not medically trained. 

They are there to offer emotional and physical support, which can help manage stress and reduce anxiety. It’s important that you meet with a doula beforehand to discuss your birth plan, so it’s best to start the searching process as early as possible. 

  • Take a walk. Walking is a great exercise that can be done throughout your whole pregnancy. It’s easy on your joints and suits all fitness levels. Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. 

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