Your baby is the size of a zucchini

26 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

More of your little one’s reflexes are coming online. At 26 weeks pregnant, you may notice that the little gymnast inside your bump is not only moving around a lot, but also reacting to stimuli.

You may be able to detect signs of this new kind of foetal movement for yourself. For example, you might start noticing some jumps and kicks in response to loud noises coming from outside your belly.

The eyelids will also open for the first time at some point in the weeks ahead, and your little one will start blinking. There’s still no way of knowing what colour your baby’s eyes will be once he or she is born. In fact, they won’t take on their final hue until many weeks or months after the birth.

There’s another reflex that you might be able to feel for yourself at around 26 weeks pregnant: If you experience a series of tiny jerky movements inside your bump, repeating at regular intervals, it might be that your little one’s got the hiccups.

And that’s not all – your foetus is also sipping away at the amniotic fluid that surrounds him or her. In fact, by now, almost all of the liquid in your uterus has already passed through that brand new digestive system at least once.

The thought of your little one swimming around in wee-wee might seem a bit odd at first, but it’s actually the most natural thing in the world. The action of swallowing amniotic fluid and then passing it out again is helping the digestive system and lungs to develop.

Amniotic fluid plays a very important role. It protects your foetus from bumps and injuries, and keeps his or her little body at just the right temperature.

The Size of the Foetus at 26 Weeks Pregnant

Now that you’re 26 weeks pregnant, your foetus is about the size of a courgette, measuring close to 35.6 centimetres crown to rump, and weighing in at around 760 grams.

All snuggled up and comfy, check out what your baby may look like this week:

26 weeks pregnant

Mum’s Body at 26 Weeks Pregnant

The end of your second trimester is fast approaching! If your bump is starting to really show now, people might be asking you how many months along you are.

The weeks of pregnancy don’t fit neatly into months; but in a rough estimate, at 26 weeks pregnant you’re probably well into the second half of month six.

Although it’s still a few weeks away, as you enter the third trimester your belly and breasts will continue to grow, and the energy boost you may have experienced in the second trimester may start to wear off.

The extra weight you’re carrying around could now be tiring you out, and you might also start feeling a little clumsy and uncoordinated now that you’re 26 weeks pregnant. This might be caused by the change in your centre of gravity as your bump grows.

You’ll want to make sure you’re dressing comfortably and wearing a well-fitting, supportive bra. You may also need to go up a size if your existing bras aren’t fitting so well anymore.

A professional fitting is often the best way to ensure a great fit. You can get this done either at a specialist lingerie shop or some of the large high-street department stores. The expertise of fitting staff may vary from shop to shop, so it’s worth asking around your friends or maybe checking some online forums to find out who offers the best service in your local area.

Whether you decide to get help or choose the right bra yourself, here are some ways to check if your bra fits properly:

  • Your breasts should fill the cups completely, without bulging out at the top, bottom or sides. There also shouldn’t be any loose or baggy material.

  • The strap that goes around your back shouldn’t cut in.

  • The back strap and the band running under your breasts should be flush with your body, and be at the same height at the front and back.

  • Underwired bras are OK to wear if you prefer that style, as long as the wire is flat against your body and supports your breasts from underneath and at the sides. The wire should not dig into you or stick out.

  • You may find maternity or soft-cup bras more comfortable at 26 weeks pregnant. An added advantage of these is that they’re designed specifically for mums-to-be like you, and that you can also wear them in bed for extra support while you’re sleeping.

26 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing at 26 weeks pregnant:

  • Pelvic pain. You could be experiencing pelvic pain at around 26 weeks pregnant, although it can strike at any time during your pregnancy. You might feel this as a pain in the area just above the pubic bone, between your hips, or perhaps in one or both sides of your lower back. It can also hurt in your perineum (the place between your vagina and anus). The pain can also spread to your thighs. Walking or using stairs can make it worse, and you might also feel a clicking or grinding sensation when you move your legs. Pelvic pain at 26 weeks pregnant and onwards can be caused by a combination of factors, such as weight gain, a change in your posture as your growing bump changes your centre of gravity, and the softening of ligaments in your pelvis thanks to hormonal changes. Pelvic pain doesn’t harm your foetus, and it won’t usually prevent you from having a vaginal birth if that’s your choice, but it can make you feel uncomfortable if it’s not managed properly and in good time. This is why it’s important to ask your doctor or midwife to look at what might be causing your pelvic pain, and to find out about your treatment options as soon as possible.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions. At 26 weeks pregnant you may already have felt your belly tightening from time to time. These ‘practice’ or Braxton Hicks contractions can occur any time during your pregnancy, although they are more common in the later stages. They may feel a little strange or uncomfortable, but shouldn’t be painful. Braxton Hicks contractions are perfectly normal, and they don’t mean you’re about to give birth – it’s just your uterus getting in some practice ahead of the real thing! If you experience painful, regular or rhythmic contracts or tightening of the belly, call your midwife or maternity unit immediately as this could be a symptom of premature labour.

  • Frequent urination. You may find that you’ve been peeing more often since getting pregnant. Your trips to the loo may start to become even more frequent at around 26 weeks pregnant as your little one grows and presses down harder onto your bladder. If it hurts when you pee, or if you see traces of blood in your urine, call your doctor as these can be symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are quite common, and happen when bacteria get into the body through the urethra. UTIs can lead to more serious bladder or kidney infections if left untreated. If you are diagnosed with this infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear it up.

26 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Some mums-to-be enlist the help of a doula, to support them during labour and delivery, as well as after the birth. Keep in mind that doulas do not replace the role of those with medical training like doctors, nurses and midwives. Instead, a doula can offer emotional support, help you communicate effectively with hospital staff and even help get you started with breastfeeding if that is something you’d like to try. If having a doula is something that interests you, ask your midwife or your antenatal class instructor (or other mums-to-be) for recommendations.

  • If you’re feeling hungrier than usual at around 26 weeks pregnant, keep your weight gain on track by avoiding fatty or sweet snacks between meals. Try to curb hunger pangs with healthy alternatives, such as pitta bread with lean ham or tuna, crunchy vegetables like carrot or celery, hummus, porridge or low-fat, sugar-free yoghurt. The possibilities are almost endless – here are some more pointers on how to enjoy a healthy diet while you’re pregnant.

  • Now that you’re 26 weeks pregnant, this might be a good time to draw up a birth plan, if this is something you’d like to do. A birth plan could help you focus your mind on the options available to you for your labour and delivery, and might help you share your preferences with your midwife and birth partner in a clearer way. Not all mums-to-be would like a birth plan, but, if you do, you can include things like where you’d like to give birth and what pain relief or other comfort measures you’d prefer. Your midwife can help you decide what to cover in your plan, depending on your own needs and situation. If you do create a plan, it’s important to still be flexible. Labour and childbirth are unpredictable and the birth may not go exactly as intended, plus your preferences may change when the time comes. Once your plan is ready, print several copies for hospital staff and your birth partner (if you have one). Don’t forget to put a few copies in your hospital bag.

  • As your bump grows, you and your partner may be wondering whether sex during pregnancy is safe. It’s always safest to double check with your doctor or midwife for advice based on your specific situation, but generally speaking if your pregnancy is progressing normally and both you and your partner feel up for it, having sex while pregnant is generally considered safe. It can also still be enjoyable and comfortable for the both of you – though you may need to experiment with different positions if your growing bump is getting in the way.

  • Although some parents-to-be might be starting to narrow down their list of favourite baby names, if you’re still in the browsing phase check out our curated and thematic lists for some added inspiration:

26 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • What is cord blood banking? Is this something you should consider?

  • How can you be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D in my diet? Are supplements a good idea?

  • Is your weight gain on target at 26 weeks pregnant?

  • How can you maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy, while still getting all the nourishment you and your baby need?

  • Do you need to monitor your own blood pressure during pregnancy? What should you do if it’s too high or low?

26 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • At 26 weeks pregnant it’s worth getting to know the signs of premature labour Your little one will be considered a premature baby, or ‘preemie’, if he or she’s born before you’re 37 weeks along. If you do go into labour before your pregnancy is full term, the sooner you get help the more your doctor and midwife can do to either stop the labour or give your preemie (or preemies if you’re pregnant with twins or triplets) the best possible care once they’re born.

  • Check whether you’re entitled to any benefits. Prescriptions and NHS dental treatment are free while you’re pregnant and until 12 months after your baby is due, but there are many other forms of assistance available depending on your circumstances. For example, you may be eligible to receive statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. Your partner may also be entitled to paternity leave. Ask your midwife where to find information on what you might be able to claim, and how to go about it.

  • If you’ve decided to have a birth plan, go over it with your midwife and ask for their input and advice.

  • Enjoy a little ‘me time’ and take our fun baby arrival quiz to see just how prepared you are for your new arrival.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.