Pregnancy Week 26
Hearing Baby's Heartbeat
Baby is busy doing what babies do in the womb-he's growing. This week sees more weight gain as baby approaches nearly two pounds and is now about a foot long! Your baby's heart is still growing and maturing during this week and, because the beats are louder and stronger, you may be able to hear them with a conventional stethoscope. Your doctor will use The Doppler, which pretty much guarantees hearing the heartbeat. A stethoscope may or may not afford you the pleasure. If you do not manage to hear the baby's heartbeat, don't be worried. Many people are not able to find the heartbeat outside of using The Doppler.
I Hear You, Mommy And Daddy
On top of organ maturation, the baby's hearing is improving. Nerve pathways in the ears are more developed this week and your baby will be able to respond to sounds consistently. You might notice the baby jump when a loud or sudden noise occurs. This could be a good time to introduce periods of listening to relaxing music throughout the day. Reading and softly talking to baby, by either you or your partner, will help baby become more familiar with the sound of your voices.
Your baby continues to breathe amniotic fluid and, if the baby is a boy, his testicles will begin to drop down into the scrotum this week. The process only takes between two and three days to complete.
Baby Isn't The Only One Growing!
Now that baby is growing bigger and your uterus is growing along with him, you may begin to experience more physiological discomforts than earlier in the second trimester. Your uterus should now be about 2.5 inches above your navel and will continue to grow at the rate of about one centimeter per week. You will have gained weight. Try not to jump on the scale every day. Your weight will vary with water retention and weighing yourself daily can be a frustrating experience. As long as you are taking good care to eat well and exercise, your weight gain should be within very safe and healthy limits.
Pregnancy Aches, Pains And Headaches...
Along with the leg cramps, which may have started a couple of weeks ago, you may also begin to have headaches. These can happen because of rapid hormonal changes at this stage of your pregnancy. Unless your headaches are severe, Tylenol is a good way to deal with them. As baby continues to grow, you may have some discomfort around your ribs. That is because your uterus is compressing some organs. It may be helpful to switch positions, perhaps lie down for a while, or stand up if you are sitting.
Your blood pressure may fluctuate during this time. From weeks 22 to 24, it may drop and then rise slightly again after week 24 through week 26. Be aware of any signs that would indicate your blood pressure is rising too fast. Swelling in your hands and face, blurry vision, severe headaches, pain high in the abdomen or sudden weight gain in a very short space of time, are all indicators of a problem. Consult your physician immediately to rule out pre-eclampsia. Your health care provider will monitor your weight and blood pressure to ensure both you and baby are doing well.