Pregnancy Tracker: Week 26

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 26




You have almost reached the end of your second trimester and your baby is growing noticeably, as is your bump, which increases by about 1cm per week at this stage of development.

The weeks of pregnancy don’t fit in neatly with the months, but at 26 weeks, you are in the last bit of month six, with three months to go.

At week 26 your uterus would measure about 2.5cm above your belly button. If you do not fall into ‘the norm’ compared to your preggie friends who are at the same stage as you, there is no need to worry as each woman is unique. Your age, height, build, fitness and whether this is your first or subsequent pregnancy all affect how your tummy looks. As long as your healthcare provider is happy with your progress and baby’s development, you can rest assured that all is well.

Your baby at 26 weeks pregnant

Baby is as large as an eggplant and measures in the region of 35cm from crown to heel and could weigh 760g. By now baby is moving about constantly while awake and may have adopted a wake/sleep pattern different to yours by becoming a little night owl! Your gymnast is changing positions frequently and kicking and punching to make his presence felt!

Baby is also reacting to stimuli as the ‘startle’ reflex is developing. Baby may jump or jerk when hearing a loud noise from outside your uterus or react when a beam of light is shone on your belly. Try prodding your tummy to see if there is a reaction. Little regular jerks could mean that your baby has the hiccups!

Baby is sipping and swallowing amniotic fluid and peeing it out as the digestive system starts gearing up. He is also inhaling and exhaling small amounts of the fluid in preparation for breathing after birth.

Boy babies’ testicles will soon begin the slow journey of descending into the scrotum, which could take up to 8 weeks. The eyelids have been fused for the last few months but may start to open soon. Tiny fingernails are beginning to grow, and teeth have started developing in the gums.

Symptoms you may experience at 26 weeks pregnant

Lower back pain

You are not alone in experiencing this uncomfortable symptom as about 60% of preggie mums complain of lower backache. It can be quite debilitating as it could prevent you from sleeping or going about your daily life. Your expanding uterus can be thanked for this, as well as changing hormones which loosen ligaments.

  • Lumber pain occurs in the lower vertebrae, above the pelvic area and around the back of the waist. This pain can travel down your legs. Sitting or standing in one position for extended periods exacerbates the pain.
  • Posterior pelvic pain, as its name suggests, is pain towards the back of the pelvis and it is possible to feel it on one or both sides of the buttocks or the back of the thighs. This is the most common type of back pain and can be felt while walking, climbing stairs, or rising from a sitting or lying down position.
  • Sciatica is not as common as the above-mentioned conditions and is caused when a slipped or bulging disk in the lower spine presses on the nerve endings. Sciatica causes pain down the legs and sometimes can even be felt in the feet as a tingling or numbing sensation. If you feel weakness in the legs or in the groin area, let your healthcare provider know urgently.

It isn’t easy to maintain a good posture when supporting a growing belly but is key to managing back pain. Try not to ‘waddle’ with hips forward and shoulders back as this puts a lot of strain on the back. Endeavour to keep your shoulders and hips aligned when walking and use a pillow behind your back for support when sitting. Likewise, a pillow between your knees will assist with a comfortable sleeping position.

Stretch marks

Your whole body grows and swells during pregnancy; your abdomen is stretching quickly to keep up with the growing baby; your breasts are increasing in size as they prepare to produce milk, and your thighs and buttocks are becoming larger and sturdier to support the extra weight. All these areas can develop stretch marks as the skin expands to accommodate the swellings.

Not every woman will be affected by these reddish marks, which are caused by the underlying tissue tearing as the skin stretches. Genetics plays a part, and if your mum experienced stretch marks, the likelihood of you getting them is good.

Bottom line is, if you are prone to stretch marks, you will get them, and there is not much you can do to prevent them. But controlling weight gain, and not gaining too rapidly, is definitely a help in reducing the severity of them. Massaging in oil or lotion can help to keep the skin supple, and even if it doesn’t prevent stretch marks, it is a relaxing way to end the day and put you in the right mood for sleep.


If you suffer from the odd mild headache, there is nothing to be concerned about, as it is quite normal to experience them. Tiredness, hunger, and dehydration could be contributing factors, and are easy to remedy. Eating regularly, drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest should be the answer to alleviating these headaches.

But occasionally sever headaches can occur and should be taken seriously as they could be a sign of certain complications developing. Pre-eclampsia is life-threatening for you and your little one if ignored and left untreated, so do contact your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing prolonged or bad headaches.


Your uterus is growing heavier by the week and putting more pressure on your intestines and stomach, which can cause uncomfortable bloating. The best remedy for this is to avoid overloading your digestive system by eating small, regular meals.

A word on exercise

The importance of exercise during pregnancy is undisputed. Gone are the days when a mum-to-be would take to her daybed at the first hint of pregnancy. The modern woman knows just how beneficial exercise is for both herself and her baby.

The more active and fit you are, the more easily you will adapt to your changing body and weight gain. It will also assist you in dealing with labour and childbirth and getting back into shape afterwards.

As long as your healthcare provider says it is safe for you to exercise, you should try to maintain your normal exercise routine, be it yoga, swimming, dancing or even running (with doctor’s permission). By now you should have joined an antenatal exercise group, where exercises are specifically geared to your changing body and under the supervision of a trained and experienced maternity instructor. Workouts should target strengthening muscles of the legs, stomach and back, as well as including pelvic floor and pelvic tilt exercises.

If exercise was not part of your daily life prior to pregnancy, be cautious about starting any strenuous programme now. Start off slowly and gently and gradually build up your routine.

A few handy tips on exercising when pregnant:

  • Be sure to warm up and cool down
  • Avoid arduous exercises in hot weather
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Avoid exercises that carry a risk of falling
  • Do not lie flat on your back for prolonged periods
  • Avoid contact sports
  • Refrain from scuba diving

When you exercise in pregnancy, your baby exercises too.

Your baby will reap the benefits of exercise, as will you!

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