Weekly Guide to Pregnancy: Week 26
How big is my baby?
Fetal length 23 cm (9.2 inches). Fetal weight nearly 910grams (2 pounds).
Your baby's body has started to grow faster than its head. This new sense of proportion makes your baby look more like a newborn. Arms and legs are stronger and bones are hardening. Eyebrows and eyelashes are present and hair on the head is growing longer. Your baby is becoming longer, and although still red and skinny, it's body is rounding out as fat deposits start to develop under the skin. Genitals are now completely differentiated.
The lungs are growing, nostrils are open and muscles start to work to give your baby breathing practise prior to birth. Your baby has also developed patterns of sleeping and waking.
As brain cells start to mature, your baby starts learning and remembering. Your baby can also hear your voice and will start to move in rhythm with your speech. Beats such as drumbeats will also register with your baby, and he/she may move with the beat. Music that is played regularly while your baby is in utero may also be vaguely remembered after birth or later in life.
It is also important to note that your baby can distinguish its father's voice if he talks to the baby in utero. This means that your baby will also be able to recognise it's father's voice and distinguish it from others after birth.
What pregnancy symptoms will I be experiencing?
If you have been eating correctly, your weight gain up to and including week 26 will be somewhere between 5.4 and 10 kilos (12-22 pounds).
As your baby grows, your uterus continues to increase in size, pushing up and out against your ribs. This may cause pain in your ribs. The lack of space may cause indigestion and heartburn. Other discomforts such as headaches, back ache and leg pain may occur more regularly.
Varicose veins - these can be inherited, or may be caused by pregnancy hormones, or later in pregnancy, by the uterus pressing down and obstructing the flow of blood from the legs to the heart. Regular exercise, controlling weight and resting with the feet elevated help prevent varicose veins. Support stockings or tights can also help ease varicose veins.
You will probably feel your baby move every day now. This will be enjoyable and reassuring for you. Your partner should also be able to feel the baby's movement if he places his hand on your abdomen. The movements of every baby are different, and there are no hard and fast rules about how often your baby should move. It isn't unusual for your baby to have quiet times, but if your baby is quiet and not as active as normal, visit your health care practitioner so that you can listen to the baby's heartbeat.
Twins - Twins are more common when there is a family history of twins (passed down through the female), although, there is a higher incidence of twins in women who are receiving fertility treatment. There are two types of twins - identical and non-identical.
Identical twins come from one egg that splits into two separate cells. Each of these cells then grows into a baby and usually shares the same placenta. Because the twins originally come from the same cell they share the same DNA, are always the same sex and look very alike. Non-Identical, or fraternal twins, occur when two eggs are released at once and each is fertilised by two different sperm. In fraternal twins, each baby has its own placenta and they can be different sexes. Fraternal twins are more likely to look like siblings, rather than being identical.
Raspberry Leaf - recently there has been growing evidence that the use of Raspberry Leaf in the third trimester of pregnancy can assist the process of labour by ripening the cervix. It can be taken as a tea or in a tablet form. Please discuss its use with your health care professional.
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