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26 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 26 Weeks

Big changes are afoot and your baby will undergo a major surge in growth right now. She currently weighs about 2lbs and is gaining all the time. Your uterus is approximately two and a half inches above your tummy button and growing at about 1cm every week. If you’ve been eating sensibly, you’ve probably put on about 16-22 lbs.

It’s especially important to be mindful of what you eat at the moment, since baby’s brain, senses and nervous system are developing rapidly. Sensitivity to light, touch and sound increases, so try to stay away from fluorescent strip lights and be ready for a few kicks!

If you were to shine a light towards your tummy, baby would turn her head. Experts say this is evidence of optic nerve function. Baby’s eyes have been sealed shut for a month, but this week she starts to open them. And did you know that whatever their ethnicity or eventual eye colour will be, all babies have blue eyes in the womb?

Although there’s no air in her lungs yet, she’s beginning to practice breathing movements. If you’re feeling extra pain around your ribs, that’s probably because your little one has moved up a bit inside you. Shortness of breath comes from your expanded womb pressing on your lungs so don’t be surprised if going up stairs wears you out!

Remember, if you haven’t booked your antenatal classes yet, now’s the time to get going. Many of the most popular classes fill up early and start at around 7 months.
Why is my sleep so poor?
You may find that right now it’s very difficult to get to sleep. You probably also find that the sleep you’re getting isn’t such good quality if you’re having intense or scary dreams. These are common in pregnancy because sleep is the time that subconscious fears (for example about becoming a mum) often play themselves out.

Your bump and the extra weight can make finding a difficult sleep position difficult. You may find that aches in your pelvis and back can make it difficult to get to sleep.
What’s the best position for me to sleep in when I’m pregnant?
During your first trimester, your breasts were probably too sore for you to lie on your front. After 16 weeks of pregnancy, lying on your back can bring about faintness because your little one is pressing on major blood vessels. It can also bring on backache and is even associated with low blood pressure.

The best position to sleep on then is your side – preferably the left side. In this position, the flow of nutrients to the placenta is better. It also aids your kidneys in processing waste more effectively, which helps reduce swelling in your ankles, hands and feet (oedema).

Lie on your left side with your legs bent up and wedge two pillows between your knees. This relieves the pressure on your hips and pelvis. Resting a wedge-shaped pillow cushion underneath your bump can also help to relieve the strain to your back.

If sleeping on your side pressures your hips too much, you might want to invest in a piece of soft foam for the top of your mattress. This will increase air circulation and should make you more comfortable. You can find them at most department stores.

In late pregnancy, if all else fails many midwives recommend trying to get to sleep on a comfortable armchair or on the sofa propped on your side. Some women also find relaxation exercises helpful for getting to sleep – there are a lot of CDs and classes that you can check out. Fingers crossed!

Possible Scan at Week 26
A 3D Ultrasound is a special scan that shows the baby in three dimensions. This forms part of a 4D Scan. The 4D Scan has the additional dimension of time so that you see a moving image.

Many parents choose to have a scan in 3/4D because they’re curious to see their baby’s face and find that it really enhances the bond with their little one. Parents often find it reassuring, not to mention exciting – especially the prospect of showing their child a moving image of themselves in the womb in later years.

Possible Scan at week 26
The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall).

A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy. This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.

Possible Scan at Week 26
A Sexing Scan (also sometimes called a Gender Identification Scan) can be performed to find out the sex of your baby at this stage.

The baby will also be measured and your medical professional will assess his or her wellbeing. Sexing scans are highly reliable but can be more difficult if a woman is very overweight, or if the baby is in an unfavourable position.

Gender Scan or Sexing Scan

Gender Scan (Boy) Picture (Click image to enlarge)

Generally, if a healthcare professional is unsure about the sex of your baby they won’t guess. But thankfully it’s very unusual to be unable to determine the sex of the baby.