During week 26, your baby is continuing to develop and grow, and your body may be hard at work preparing for labor. Keep eating well, keeping those prenatal care appointments, and getting plenty of rest to give your baby the head start he deserves.
Your Baby's Development
Now measuring about 14 inches from crown to toe, your little one is growing longer. He also weighs about 1.7 pounds by week 26 of your pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, your baby is also making a few other major developments.
Your baby has started growing fingernails. It will still be several weeks before his nails reach the end of the fingertips.
Lungs Begin to Mature
Your little one's lungs are now forming air sacs. The lungs are also starting to make something called surfactant. This allows the air sacs to inflate fully and prevents them from adhering to each other when they are inflated.
Your Changing Body
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you are growing at a rate of approximately half an inch every week, although it may feel like more sometimes. Keep eating well and gaining weight steadily. You should have gained about 16 to 22 pounds by now.
Beginning Braxton Hicks Contractions
At this point in your pregnancy, you may notice that you are experiencing mild cramping or tightness in your groin or abdomen. Your uterus is getting in a little practice in the form of Braxton Hicks contractions, which can happen anytime from about this point through the end of your pregnancy. Typically, these contractions are very mild and occur at sporadic individuals. The American Pregnancy Association reports that the contractions can last anywhere from 30 seconds to about two minutes. The contractions will usually taper off on their own.
Help for Braxton Hicks Contractions
In most women, Braxton Hicks contractions are painless, but some women do find them a bit painful. Either way, they can be uncomfortable. To ease the discomfort and stop the contractions if they are bothering you, you can try these tricks:
- Take a warm (not hot) bath.
- Drink water or herbal tea.
- Change positions or activities.
Identifying Pre-Term Labor
- Pre-term labor contractions are often more painful.
- Pre-term labor often involves regular, rather than sporadic, contractions.
- In pre-term labor, contractions will not cease if you change positions, take a warm bath, or drink liquids.
It's important that you contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience the above signs or if you notice any of the following:
- Leaking of fluid
- Pressure in your vagina or pelvis
- More than five contractions in one hour
More to Know About Week 26 of Your Pregnancy
Diet continues to play an important role in your pregnancy, even late in the second trimester. In addition to taking prenatal vitamins, eating a balanced diet, and monitoring your weight, it's important to understand a bit about fish consumption.
Fish to Avoid
According to the FDA, it's a good idea to eat fish during pregnancy, but you should avoid certain types of fish because of the high mercury content in these species. In addition to checking local recommendations about species that live in lakes and rivers near you, you should always avoid the following fish when pregnant or breastfeeding:
- King Mackerel
- Orange Roughy
Fish to Eat in Limited Quantities
The FDA recommends that you eat no more than two meals each week that contain the following fish:
- Canned light tuna (not albacore)
If you need help downloading the pregnancy calendar, check out these helpful tips.
Your body may be preparing for labor in the form of Braxton Hicks contractions, but you still have a few months to go. Keep taking great care of yourself and your little one in the weeks to come.