At 26 weeks pregnant your body is changing to accommodate the baby growing inside. Your physical size will be growing and back pain, headaches and leg cramps may occur. Back pain increases at this time as the ligaments are softening preparing the body for the birth. You will also feel pressure in the pelvis and high blood pressure may develop. These conditions are to be expected and are normal. Another normal symptom at 26 weeks is restless legs and to help prevent this reduce your intake of caffeine and do exercises which stretch the muscles. You may even want to consider a deep muscle massage. When pregnant the body creates more progesterone which makes the muscle tissue in the body and causes the gastrointestinal tract to relax. Your digestive system is affected by the hormone increase which means the ability to digest your food takes longer. Physical activity, swimming or walking, helps to alleviate problems with constipation and you will not have to use suppositories. Ensure your diet is rich in fiber and eat more fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and whole grains. Increase your diet by 300 calories at this time to assist with the development of your baby. Eating food high in fat will aggravate any stomach discomfort you may feel, therefore its best to leave it out of your diet.
At 26 weeks pregnant it is usual for women to feel unexpected tightening and relaxing of the uterus. The contractions are normally pain free and happen irregularly and are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. At this stage your body is getting ready for labor and Braxton Hicks contractions are seen as an aid to assist the body with this. During this time you may have a blood test to check if you are anemic.
You might want to start planning ahead to the birth of your baby and have questions on who you want to be with you at the delivery or do you want the birth filmed.
As well as the changes to your own body, the fetus is also changing at 26 weeks. Movement of the baby will occur more often and he/she will be able to move their head back and forward. If you were to shine a light on the stomach, your baby would be able respond to this and as well as responding to loud and unexpected noise, can react to touch and at this stage fingerprints are being formed. Sight and hearing is being developed by brain wave activity and the eyelids are separated. The baby’s head hair is beginning to grow and the color can be seen in a 26 week ultrasound. Your baby’s skin is beginning to change from transparent to opaque and the skin color the baby will have at birth is being developed. The fetus weighs approximately 1lb 12oz to 2lb 3oz and is round about 14 inches in length. Brain tissues and organs are forming very fast and the area of the cortex which helps to determine personality and attention is being shaped. Fat is being collected beneath the loose skin of your baby and air sacs will be forming in the lungs. There will be more secretion of surfactant which allows the lungs to expand the way they should during breathing.
It is not the best time, when 26 weeks pregnant, to have a vacation especially travelling by air as there is the risk you could go into labor so contact your practitioner. If you have no alternative but to travel by air try to reduce the fat content you eat and take your meals little and often. Dehydration is very common when travelling by air and being dehydrated can cause contractions, so ensure you drink plenty of fluids. Expect to experience motion sickness and prior to boarding visit the bathroom. When fastening your seat belt, make sure you fasten below your belly.