What To Expect In Twenty Six Weeks Pregnant
You are twenty-six weeks pregnant now. Next week you will start your third trimester You may have most of your baby’s items purchased or you may still be scrambling to purchase everything. Many moms will have a baby shower before baby’s arrival. Customarily, baby showers are hosted by a good friend or a coworker of the mom to be, but having a family member host your baby shower is okay too. Most baby showers are given a month or two before baby’s birth, however, it is not uncommon to have a baby shower after the baby is born. Traditions for baby showers vary from place to place. In this week’s newsletter we are going to talk about baby showers and baby shower etiquette. We will try to answer your baby shower questions and also give you some fun ideas for things to do at your baby shower.
The baby’s growth and development are picking up again at week twenty-six. The baby is about 9 to 10 inches in length and the baby weighs about 2 pounds by now. The baby is measured from crown to rump (head to bottom). The baby will soon start to open their eyes and they can even blink too. The eye development at this stage is now complete. The eye color is a pre-determined blue but after the baby is born the eye color can change.
If you have another sonogram at this stage of pregnancy, you will see that your baby actually looks like a baby. The baby’s development that is taking place this week is sense of touch and reacting to touch. The heart has started to pump blood and a more prominent heartbeat can be heard. The lungs are starting to develop blood vessels and the baby is making breathing movements like the chest moving up and down.
The circulation system of the baby is 100% fully functional. The umbilical cord has grown in size and is circulating blood to the baby. The placenta has become the size of the baby now. If the baby is a boy, the testicles will drop down to the scrotum down.
Changes In Your Body
During 26 weeks pregnancy you continue to grow and blossom. By now you may have gained as much as 20-23 pounds during pregnancy. Many women find their weight continues to fluctuate on a daily basis during pregnancy. This is pretty normal. I found within the course of any given day my weight may fluctuate by as much as 6 pounds. I was usually heavier in the afternoon, largely the result of excess bloating and water retention. This is one of many reasons I preferred to schedule my doctor visits in the early morning, when I was least likely to be retaining extra fluid.
There are many ways you can help alleviate pregnancy bloating and fluid retention naturally. Some good ways include prenatal yoga and stretching. Believe it or not, regular exercise is a wonderful way to keep things flowing and get your blood circulating throughout your body.
Stretching will also help you feel better in general, and reduce your risk of injury. As your pregnancy progresses your body releases a substance called relaxin. This helps loosen your ligaments and tendons in the pelvis so you can accommodate your baby during labor and delivery. This substance however, also makes pregnant women more prone to injury during pregnancy, so when exercising be sure to take enough time to warm up and cool down, decreasing your overall risk of injury.
Aches And Pains Of Pregnancy
Pregnant women are subject to many unusual aches and pains. Some women for example complain of pain around or right under their ribs during pregnancy. This can occur as your little baby gets stronger and sticks a foot or hand under your rib. Simply changing positions may relieve this pain. Other women find light exercise or yoga helps calm their baby and move them into a more comfortable position. A maternity support belt will help support your growing tummy and easy the strain placed on your lower back.
Other women experience on and off pain in their lower back, buttocks or legs during pregnancy. This may simply be the result of cramping, the stress of added weight, round ligament pain or pain associated with sciatica during pregnancy. There are various steps you can take to reduce pain. I always found a monthly visit to the chiropractor extremely beneficial for combating the minor aches and pains of pregnancy.
Still other women combat frequent or chronic headaches during pregnancy. This is another normal side effect of pregnancy. What can you do about pregnancy induced headaches? Most doctors will recommend rest, stress reduction and a little Tylenol. A bag of frozen peas on your head may also help constrict dilated blood vessels. If nothing else it is fun to try. Frozen corn works just as well (take this coming from a women who experienced a lot of pregnancy related headaches).
When you nurse or feed your baby, you often place strain on your neck and shoulders. For many women, this strain results in daily headaches, which, if not treated, can become debilitating. One of the best suggestions my doctor offered during my pregnancy, because I already suffered from headaches, was to use a pregnancy full body pillow as a nursing pillow. This alleviates most of the strain in your neck and shoulders as you lean forward to feed your baby. You may also find reducing stress improves your mood and this can lead to fewer tension headaches if you are prone to them. So why not try a full body pregnancy pillow? It certainly can’t hurt, and if nothing else, you will find they are tremendously helpful if you are having a hard time sleeping.
Of course, any pain that you consider unusual or out of the ordinary you should ask your doctor about immediately. There are times when pain may be a sign something is out of order. Never hesitate to call your doctor when in doubt, or when traditional remedies don’t alleviate your pain or discomfort in any way.
What To Expect
There are so many changes to you physically in this stage of pregnancy. Some women go into a depression but keep a positive outlook. These changes are all happening because of the baby. Your body will go back to the way it was before the baby but the weight gain and all of the aches and pains are due to the baby. Remember some of this excessive weight gain is from water retention and bloating.
A few days after the baby is born, you will see some weight come off without even trying. It is important to not put any stress on your body, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. If you feel up to it, try very light exercises like walking or some yoga. You will feel much better about yourself if you move around a bit. If you notice stretch marks, try using a moisturizer or some cocoa butter. This will help reduce stretch marks as well as help keep your skin hydrated and smooth.
Now is a very critical stage in your pregnancy. If the doctor offers you advice or gives you some orders to follow, do them. You may feel like you can accomplish anything, you may feel great but the more stress that is put on the body is put on the baby. Remember you don’t have to superwoman; it is ok to rest every now and then.