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26 Weeks Pregnant

By 26 weeks pregnancy, you should make sure that you continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around 26 weeks pregnant, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it’s probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)

Preeclampsia — a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine — most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week). With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting.

If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you’re carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.

Your baby has put on quite a bit of weight by week 26 and is now a whopping 1.7 pounds. Your baby’s total length is about 14 inches. Your baby is now starting to add a little fat to her bones, though she won’t start accumulating too much fat until the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Your baby’s heart continues to grow and develop at 26 weeks pregnancy. You may even be able to hear your baby’s heart beat through a traditional stethoscope placed on your stomach. Don’t get too excited though, some women can go their entire pregnancy without being able to locate their baby’s heartbeat using a stethoscope. The Doppler ultrasound is a much more effective and efficient way of measuring your baby’s heartbeat throughout pregnancy.

In addition to organ maturation the nerve pathways in your baby’s ears continue to develop and this will allow your baby to respond to sounds more consistently. You might notice your baby jumping more often now to loud noises. This is a good time to start playing some relaxing music to your little one. Some parents even enjoy reading to their babies during 26 weeks pregnancy.

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