At 26 weeks pregnant, or 24 weeks from conception, your pregnancy is the second half of the second trimester. From now the physical changes are impossible to hide.
During this period, the uterus is at a few centimeters from the navel and the stomach will be visibly swollen. Also, the future mother will be able to experience the Braxton Hicks contractions. However, this type of contractions is normal for this period and they are pretty similar to menstrual contractions. In general, Braxton Hicks contractions are painless and they prepare the body for birth and the pains that are yet to come at that moment. It`s possible for the future mother to not feel herself due to the weight gain, burning, cramps and muscle tensions. If you feel the discomfort or pain is persistent or unusual, it`s best to get in touch with your doctor immediately.
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26 Weeks Fetus
Now your baby has his fingers already developed and his eyes start to open, if they aren`t open already. Towards the end of the 7th month of pregnancy, the response to sounds is developed as a result of the almost complete formation of the network of nerves that work for his ears. Therefore, the baby will be able to hear, both you as well as your partner when you speak to him. If you have a boy, his testicles start to descend to the scrotum, a journey which will last 2 or 3 days.
Also, he continues to inhale and exhale small amounts of amniotic liquid. These so called breathing movements are essential for the lung development, the baby exercising for the moment when he`ll be born and will breath for the first time.
At the end of this week, the baby measures 35.6cm and weighs almost 760g.
The Mother`s Body
You are probably very busy attending at childbirth courses, arranging the baby`s room or buying him a car seat, while you are trying to accomplish your daily activities. Make sure you are eating healthy and you get plenty of sleep because it`s very important to take care of yourself.
Now the blood pressure might be a bit high, although it`s a bit under the values that you used to have before pregnancy. Normally, your blood pressure will decrease towards the end of the first trimester of pregnancy and tends to reach its lowest value around weeks 22 – 26.
Preeclampsia – a condition characterized by high blood pressure and present in urine – manifests frequently after the week 37, but can be diagnosed earlier, after the week 20, so it`s essential to be aware of the signs of this condition.
Call your obstetrician if you notice a swelling on your face or around your eyes, if the edema is more than discrete around your hands, if you notice that your legs and ankles are excessively swollen, your edema has suddenly appeared or if you gain weight rapidly – more than 2kg in one week.
If preeclampsia is severe, you can experience other symptoms as well. Go to the hospital immediately if you have headache, visual disturbances (blurred or double vision), sensibility to light, temporary loss of sight, if you feel an intense pain, if you have a sensibility in the upper abdomen or if you throw up.
What You Should Do this Week?
Discuss with your life partner all the important personal aspects. If you`ll have a boy, will you want to do circumcision? Will you hold a religious ceremony after your baby`s birth? Will you want to stay home or will you continue to work full-time or part-time? These are only a few of the important decisions that you should discuss with your partner. Even if you think you both have the same opinions, it`s best if you still discuss openly and share your thoughts to avoid any possible misunderstandings.
Advices for an Easier Pregnancy
Stretching exercises will help you be more flexible and more relaxed, and prevent muscle contracture. During their practice, make sure you are breathing regularly and deeply.
Improving Energy & Posture
Stand up with your feet spread at your shoulder`s area and your arms around your body. Inhale deeply and raise your arms in front of you and above your head as high as you can. Turn your palms up, inhaling, bend your elbows and let them gently towards your back and to the sides. Maintain this position for 10 seconds and try to 10 repetitions.
Preventing & Alleviating Muscle Cramping
Stand up at an arm`s length from a wall, supporting yourself with your hands in front of you. Place your left foot in front of the right one and let yourself down gently with your left foot bend from your knee. Maintain your right knee stretched and your right heel to the ground. Maintain this position for around 30 seconds, making sure your back is straight and your hips forward. Don`t rotate your feet inside or outside and don`t get up on your toes. Then repeat the same exercise with your other foot. Try to do 10 repetitions with each foot. Do stretching exercises for your calf muscles before going to bed.
Strengthen your Arms, Legs & Abdomen
It would be good to practice maintaining your balance before trying this exercise. Stand on your knees and support with your palms. Keep your knees at the distance of your waist and your palms at the distance of your shoulders. Pull your navel back. Carefully, lift your left arm and right foot to your torso. Maintain this position for 5 seconds then repeat it with your right arms and left foot. Try to do 10 repetitions of each.
Alleviating Back Pain & Removing Tension
Stand on your knees and place them slightly to the side. Stretch toward the front until your abdomen will be between your legs and stretch your arms forward. Keep your neck in line with your body. If the abdomen touches the floor, lift your basin gently and help yourself with your arms. Repeat this exercise a few times.
Can I Stay Around Smokers?
It`s almost common knowledge that smoking during pregnancy causes problems with the placenta or low weight at birth. That`s why, even though you aren`t the one smoking, it`s best if you`ll avoid passive smoking as well. When you stay near someone who smokes, by inhaling the smoke, the harmful substances from it will reach in your blood circulation. The more time you spend around smokers, the higher chances are for these substances to be absorbed in your blood.
Advices for the Father
While your partner reaches the end of the second trimester of pregnancy, it`s possible to feel less attractive with all the changes happening with her body. It`s important to tell her how beautiful she is and how much you appreciate the mother of your child.