You are 26 weeks pregnant or in your 27th week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period). This is the start of your third trimester or the “home stretch”.
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- All organs of the baby are in place and some like the lungs and liver continue to mature. The brain continues to grow rapidly and is developing the capability to operate bodily functions.
- The baby's eyelids which were shut for a long time, begin to open.
- The baby may even be able to respond to your touch.
- The baby’s skin is still wrinkled because of the baby being immersed in amniotic fluid in the uterus. That is why premature babies have more wrinkles than regular babies.
- Your baby is about 36 centimetres long (Crown to heel length) and weighs about 800 grams.
- You may have noticed that Parentree's article on Week 26 listed the baby's length as 22 cm, while this week it is 36 centimetres. Don't be shocked. The baby did not grow 14 centimetres in a week. The measurement till last week was the crown-to-rump length. Crown to rump length measures the length of the baby from the top of the head to the bottom of the buttocks. From this week, the start of the third trimester, we are using crown-to-heel length. Crown to heel length measures the length of the baby from the top of the baby to the bottom of the heel. This explains the big jump between the measurements.
What’s happening to mom?
- The baby is very active and you can feel the baby’s movements very distinctly. In fact this is probably the peak time of feeling the baby’s kicks and movements because the baby is not too big yet and can still move about freely in your uterus. If you do not feel the baby’s movements, please call your doctor.
- You can also detect the baby’s sleep patterns. The baby will sleep more when you are active (your movements lull the baby to sleep) and are more active when you lie down.
- The slight repetitive movement in your abdomen might be the baby hiccuping.
- During your doctor’s visits, you will notice an increase in your blood pressure. But call your doctor immediately if you have a sudden increase in blood pressure, excessive swelling in your hands and legs or your vision gets blurred. It could be signs of preclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension).
- The third trimester is a period of rapid growth in your baby. You will notice many pregnancy woes again. Your uterus is bulging and putting pressure on many body organs - your kidneys, urinary bladder, your diaphragm, stomach, lungs etc. Your pregnancy hormones are “acting up”. Your body has to work extra hard to support your growing baby. All these result in many discomforts like:
- Frequent urination and even urine leakage. Tips to minimise leakage: Strengthen your pelvic muscles by general exercise and doing Kegel exercises.
- Heartburn - Eat small meals often, avoid a big meal before lying down or sleeping, avoid very oily or very sour and spicy food. A glass of milk is supposed to soothe heartburn. Talk to your doctor for a good antacid.
- Constipation - Eat foods with fibre and drink lots of water and fluids. Get plenty of exercise. Sometimes the iron in your iron supplement can increase constipation. Do NOT stop taking your iron supplements but discuss this with your doctor.
- Swelling - Reduce salt intake. Do not sit or stand in one position for a long time. Move around. Be active. Keep your feet up and nap frequently. Stay hydrated and have lots of water. If you see excessive, sudden swelling, call your doctor immediately, it could be signs of preclampsia (or pregnancy induced hypertension).
- Insomnia - Do not have coffee/tea in the afternoon. Exercise well. Have a glass of warm milk before sleeping. Practice meditation. Read a good book before sleeping. Put on some relaxing music before sleeping. Make sure that you go to the bathroom before sleeping.
Checklist for mom
- Remember to make the baby listen to soothing music. It is good for you both. Experiment with different kinds of music that you fancy. Also try Indian classical (any that appeals to you or there are many made specially for pregnant women and their babies) or western classical (Mozart and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons are hot favourites of pregnant moms).
- If you have not already, you might need to take the glucose tolerance test if you get an abnormal result in the glucose screening test. The glucose tolerance test is more advanced and can help your doctor to diagnose whether you have gestational diabetes.
- See a dietician if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You will be put on special diet (low carbohydrate and sugar). Most cases can be managed by diet but in some cases, there might be a need to take insulin.
Ideas for dad
- Because of bloating, weight gain and other pregnancy symptoms, your wife might be feeling unattractive. Help her realise that this is a passing phase and that you are there for her unconditionally. Be romantic and a small special gesture (a dinner date, a walk together, flowers etc.) can come a long way in pepping her up and making her feel special.
- Are you making mom and the baby listen to soothing music? It is good for mom, baby and even you. Experiment with different kinds of music that you fancy. Also try Indian classical (any that appeals to you or there are many made specially for pregnant women and their babies) or western classical (Mozart and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons are hot favourites of pregnant moms).
- Tips for swelling:
- Reduce salt intake in food.
- Drink adequate (8 to 10 glasses) water every day. Swelling can be more in warm weather and later in the day. So be mindful of this and keep yourself cool and take extra care later in the day.
- Try and keep your feet up as much as possible.
- Do not sit or stand for a long time. Even if you have a desk job, get up and walk around once every hour.
- Avoid crossing your legs for a long time.
- Do simple stretching exercises. Rotate your ankles, wiggle your toes, stretch your legs and flex your calf muscles. You can do these even if you have a desk job.
- Guessing the baby’s gender might have become a fun topic in your and other people’s discussions. There are different notions in different cultures. Some common ones are:
- If the baby’s heart beat is on the higher side, the baby is a girl…
- If you are carrying low the baby is a boy…
- If your weight is concentrated in your belly, it is a boy and if your weight is distributed all over your body, it is a girl…
- If you have a glow on your face, the baby is a boy or a girl…
- There is no scientific evidence backing up these observations. These are simply “old wives tales”. Have fun with them but do not take them very seriously. After all, the odds of having a baby with a certain gender are pretty high.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy