Your pregnancy week-by-week: week 26

Week 26

Your baby weighs around 760 grams. She’s still a compact little package and spends a lot of her time curled up with her legs and feet tucked up against her bottom. She’s the size of a red cabbage, measuring 35.6cm.

Your baby

You’ll feel lots of baby movements from now on until your 30th week. The amniotic fluid isn’t being produced in the same volumes as it was a couple of weeks ago. With less fluid to buffer her movements, you’ll notice those kicks more. Your baby’s heart rate will have slowed down considerably by this week too, from 180 beats per minute to 140 to 150 beats per minute.

Your baby is growing longer and laying down more fat. An average birth weight is around 3.5kg but genetics and individual DNA will determine the size.

If you’re having a boy, his testicles will soon begin to descend into his scrotum, a process that can take up to three months.

You

You’re a pro at this pregnancy business now. You’re entering into your sixth month of pregnancy and you’re probably having monthly antenatal checks so you know what to expect each time. They will be monthly until 30/32 weeks then move to fortnightly until 36 weeks, then weekly until your due date. You may need to be monitored more frequently if you are at high risk or you’ve had complications.

Your baby is relying on your body’s iron stores, so fill up on iron-rich foods, such as lentils and spinach. Your doctor might suggest taking iron pills to supplement your diet. We’ve talked before about how a healthy, balanced diet is important throughout your pregnancy, but it is more important than ever at this stage as good nutrition will help your baby through the massive growth spurt and surge in brain development that is taking place now, and over the coming weeks.

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, or sit on the floor until you return to feeling normal.

A slight increase in blood pressure is normal at 26 weeks pregnant. If it’s quite an increase your doctor might monitor you more closely. That’s because hypertension could be a sign of preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, a rare liver and blood clotting disorder that can affect pregnant women. These potentially dangerous pregnancy complications would need to be treated right away.

Notice your tummy occasionally feeling really tight? That’s a contraction! They’re called Braxton Hicks and might be more noticeable for women who are 26 weeks pregnant with twins. As long as the contractions aren’t steady or severe, they’re perfectly normal. Tell your doctor if the contractions are painful or don’t stop – it could be signs of preterm labour.

At week 26, your shape is changing quickly as your baby grows, and this can have an impact on how you move about. If you have a toddler to lift, bend your knees and lift and use your muscles in your legs to lift them up.

Have you thought about getting a car seat yet to take your little one home from the hospital? Choosing the right car seat is an important decision and it can be a confusing business. Group 0 car seat is your entry point, you need one of these comfy, rear-facing car seats for your baby’s first journey home. Group 0 seats offer good protection for a tiny baby and it is essential you use one every time you go out in the car.

If you haven’t yet, it’s a good idea to meet and make friends with other mums-to-be through antenatal classes or other means, e.g. online. It’s a nice idea to make contact with those who are at the same stage of pregnancy as you and might like to chat, and it’ll most likely prove to be an invaluable support after birth.

Your partner

Start thinking about childcare options for your older children when your partner goes into labour. Having a plan will free you up mentally to focus on having your new baby. Have a back-up plan as well in case Plan A falls through.

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