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Pregnancy health centre

26 weeks pregnant

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks


How is your baby growing at 26 weeks?

Your baby should be about 36cm long from head to heel and weigh around 760g. His or her feet may be about 5cm long. Your baby will continue to put on weight, and his or her brain will be taking great steps in development. After being fused together for so long, your baby may finally be able to open his or her eyelids. If you saw the eyes now, they are likely to have blue irises, but it may be some time after birth – maybe even months – before the baby's true eye colour emerges.

Hand coordination continues to improve, and your baby may enjoy sucking his or her thumb, which not only calms your baby but also strengthens both cheek and jaw muscles.

The lungs will be developing "breathing" movements by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, an important precursor to breathing in air.

If your baby is a boy, his testes will be descending from the abdomen – this normally takes 2–3 days. He won't have any sperm yet – they don't form until he reaches puberty.

With your baby's hearing fully developed, you may feel him or her suddenly jump if there is a loud noise. Weeks 24–28 are normally the most active weeks for a baby in the womb, so expect more kicks, rolls and pushes.

How are you changing in week 26?

You may feel muscles inside your abdomen tighten and then relax. While this may be a bit scary, these are harmless Braxton Hicks contractions. Much like your baby is practising breathing fluid before the real event of breathing air, your body is preparing you for childbirth. You may feel the contractions a few times during the day. Each contraction lasts for only about half a minute, and there may be one or two in an hour.

The strain of carrying the baby might be making standing, walking or sitting for long periods more difficult. Your blood pressure may now start to go up slightly, though it’s usually not as high as it is in your non- pregnancy state.

You may find that you have a craving for a certain food. Experts aren't sure why this happens, but as long as you don't over-indulge, there's normally not anything wrong with trying to satisfy your craving. There is an exception: some women crave items not normally destined for consumption such as earth or soap. If you have such a craving, or really fancy something you shouldn't eat such as blue cheese or liver pâté, talk to your midwife or doctor.

From mid-pregnancy onwards, your body will need to make extra insulin. You need this hormone so your body can use blood sugar to provide energy to your muscles and tissues and to help store any extra blood sugar. If you are not making enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise – this is known as gestational diabetes. Unlike other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes disappears after your baby is born. However, during the pregnancy it can affect both the mum-to-be and baby. You may feel tired, have a dry mouth and be very thirsty yet wee often, and you may get a recurring infection such as thrush, or have blurred vision. If untreated, you may have a large baby, which can make giving birth difficult, and in rare cases the baby could be stillborn.

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