Understanding your pregnancy: Week 26

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 26

A quick snapshot

You've probably been having monthly prenatal checks throughout your second trimester and are getting used to what's involved each time. They are likely to continue at monthly intervals until around 30-32 weeks, then become fortnightly until 36 weeks; and weekly until your due date. If you are having a high risk pregnancy or you've had complications, you will need to be monitored more frequently.

What’s changing in your body

  • Your tummy is getting bigger with each passing week and by now, you are probably having trouble seeing your knees when you're standing up.
  • Your total blood volume has increased by around 25% since the start of your pregnancy. But it won't peak until closer to 35 weeks. All that extra circulating blood will mean you may notice your fingers and ankles swelling by the end of the day.
  • More Braxton Hicks contractions are making your uterus harden at irregular intervals. Don't worry unless they become painful and regular, or you start having lower back pain as well. You will find that they are more frequent after bending over, standing up, having sex and climbing a flight of stairs.
  • Constipation, your old friend continues to overstay its welcome and you may feel you're investing more thought into your toilet activities than you really want to. Remember to drink lots of water, eat lots of fibre rich foods and try to exercise every day. White, processed foods won't help so avoid these in favour of whole grains.
  • Take it slowly when you're standing up from now on. Many pregnant women experience a drop in blood pressure when they go from a sitting or lying position to standing. When you're getting out of bed, sit on the edge for a minute or two and then stand up. If you feel lightheaded or as if you are going to faint, put your head between your legs and call out to someone to stand near you. If you have no choice, then sit on the floor until you return to feeling normal.

How your emotions are affected

  • By now, you have probably formed a definite opinion about whether you like or loathe being pregnant. Most women sway between the two states, though by the time they reach their due date, they've had enough. How you view your pregnancy will have an effect on how long your remaining weeks seem to stretch before you.

How your baby is growing

Second Trimester: Week 2629

  • Your baby weighs just less than 1kg this week. They’re still a compact little package and although they stretch out their arms and legs, they still spend a lot of their time curled up with their legs and feet tucked up against their bottom.
  • Your baby's eyes are starting to open and their eyelids are no longer fused together. They will learn to open and close their eyes, blink and practice focusing in the remaining few months of your pregnancy.
  • Lots of baby movements from now until week 30. The amniotic fluid isn't being produced in the same volumes as it was a couple of weeks ago. As your baby is bigger, with less fluid to buffer its movements, you'll be more aware of those kicks and stretches.
  • Your baby is growing longer and laying down more fat to serve as insulation for when they’re born.
  • Your baby is having regular periods of rest and activity and their patterns of movement are becoming more familiar to you. Some pregnant women find their baby very active in the middle of the night, enough to wake them from a deep sleep. A sweet snack, your partner's voice or a sudden noise can all prompt a series of movements as well.

Tips for the week

  • If you're planning on borrowing baby furniture, start organising this now. Repainting and preparing used equipment can take longer than you expect. Don't leave doing these jobs until your last weeks, when your energy may be flagging and you would prefer just to rest.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia is common in pregnancy. Ensure you are eating lots of iron rich foods such as red meat, eggs, good quality cereals and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli. If your iron count is too low, you may need to start taking iron tablets. They tend to exacerbate constipation though.