Where are we up to?
At 26 weeks, you’re now approaching the end of your second trimester. Almost two thirds of the way through your pregnancy, it is likely that you feel tired and a bit more lazy than usual. A while ago, around the start of this trimester, you probably felt full of life and ready to take on this wonderful journey. But, now that you’ve gone through most of it, it’s understandable that you want to relax and take a break.
As always, it’s a good idea to stay active rather than lying around like a couch potato. It’s still important to have some time to yourself to relax and feel close to the baby, but without activity you can get even more aches and pains, like those you’ve dealt with so far. Staying physically active keeps your mind active too, and for some reason women tend to struggle with this around about now.
The phenomena of ‘baby brain’ seems real, and you may have started to experience it already. At around this stage in their pregnancy, many women find that they are more forgetful and more clumsy. Things like losing your keys happen more frequently, but there’s really no scientific reason why. It is not proven that ‘baby brain’ is an actual thing, but many women think they have it. Most likely, it is just a result of your tiredness, so don’t panic if you get a bit more forgetful and lose your coordination.
Apart from this, you’re probably experiencing the same symptoms that have gone on for a while. Aches in your head, legs and back, and maybe bleeding gums are all common things that will happen throughout your pregnancy, and will persist through this stage too.
As you carry on, keep giving yourself time to relax, while also spending time exercising and staying healthy, and you should minimize the aches and pains along the way. At this point, it’s a good idea to start keeping lists. Writing down what you need to do can help make sure you’re ready for the baby’s arrival, as well as dealing with that strange ‘baby brain’.
After 26 weeks of pregnancy, your baby has grown a lot physically, and has also started to move around. In fact, with all the hiccuping, kicking and rolling around in your tummy, you will probably start noticing patterns in how it behaves. Not only is this a nice way of getting closer to your baby, but it can give you a good idea of what’s normal behavior too.
If you can, try to get a good understanding of the movement patterns of your baby. Whenever you get a moment alone (although you can never be truly alone at this point), massage your tummy and feel when they kick and when they move. This way, if your baby ever goes unusually quiet, or the feeling stops, you will be able to identify it and contact a medical professional if necessary.
In terms of their physical development, the baby is now about 14 inches long. That’s approximately the size of an old video tape, something that they’ll probably never see. At 1.7 pounds, they have come a long way from the kiwi fruit size they were at a couple of months ago.
As well as growing in size, your baby has started to develop routine. Considering the struggles you may have had with sorting out your own routine during pregnancy, this may come as a surprise. However, with new and regular patterns of sleeping and waking, your baby is getting ready for life on the outside world.
Although they’re technically waking up, they aren’t ready to open their eyes yet. But, they do have eyes starting to grow. Soon enough, they’ll be able to open their eyes properly, and they’re growing eyelashes to keep them safe when they do. They won’t have any particular color to their eyes until a while after birth.
The immune system is starting to develop in your baby too, thanks to the hard work of your placenta. This shows that you’re already learning how to protect your child without knowing about it. Your baby will be protected against some infections in the outside world when they are born as a result of these early developments.
Your Growing Body
Your body will have been continuing to grow in order to accommodate your child. The stress and the pain involved in some of this can be difficult, but you are probably used to dealing with the usual aches by now. One thing which does become more prominent at this stage is cramping in the legs. Everyone knows how uncomfortable and annoying cramp can be, so you’ll want to deal with it quickly. The best methods are rubbing the area which is in pain, or pulling your toes up.
Foot and ankle exercises can be useful for both relieving and preventing leg cramps too. In fact, regular, general exercise can stop a load of problems from bothering you on a day-to-day basis. As well as the usual back pain, staying active can help regulate movements in your body and prevent other unpleasant issues. For example, hemorrhoids are becoming more common at this stage in pregnancy, and you should do all you can to stop them from bothering you.
You may well have experienced hemorrhoids (or piles) before this point, but unfortunately they will continue to be a high risk problem. As a result, you can become incredibly uncomfortable in the restroom, and may find some blood in your excrement. The sight of blood can be frightening, but it’s okay. You just need to overcome the pain, by applying cold wet cloths to the area. You can also stay hydrated and eat more fiber to prevent this issue.
Finally, the concept of ‘baby brain’ might be unproven, but it is true that your brain is developing as well as your body at this point in the pregnancy. In fact, mild forgetfulness can be a good indicator that your mind is becoming more plastic. This is good, as it will allow you to develop a stronger bond with your child, and a greater understanding of how they behave and feel.
While it’s easy to catch yourself lazing around the house, it’s important to try to stay active during your pregnancy and, at this late stage, try to get as much done as possible to prepare for the birth of your child. Keeping a to-do list is a good idea, and the more you can cross off now the better you will feel later. Tidying your home and preparing for all the baby things you’ll get later on can be an enjoyable task and help build up excitement for what’s to come.
When you’re trying to prepare for the baby, it could also be a good time to start a birthing plan. This will mean that you know how your baby will be delivered, and it’s never too soon to iron out the details. It’s a good idea to keep your plan short though, as you can’t be in control of everything that may happen. A brief birth plan will act as a good guide, while allowing for any changes that need to be made.