As you near the end of your second trimester, your body will have made some pretty dramatic changes. In the weeks to come, your belly will continue to grow, as your baby does. The same old nagging troubles from your first trimester may return to some degree over the coming weeks as the second trimester energy burst leads to the third trimester drain. But take heart—each day is necessary for your baby’s development and there are sure to be plenty of great days ahead.
Doctor’s visits are still monthly, but will soon change to every other week. Do your best to keep each appointment to make sure you and your baby are growing and changing safely. Most new moms at this stage are preparing their nurseries and narrowing down baby names, but remember that there are still many details that need to be considered surrounding your baby’s birth. If you haven’t given much thought to developing a birth plan this is a good time to think about your wishes for delivery and write those down. Whether short, or very lengthy a birth plan can help you open up a method of communication for parents as well as with their physician. Make sure to let your doctor know what you have in mind and discuss the likelihood of following the plan.
The baby’s growth and development are picking up again at week twenty-six. The baby is about 10 to 11 inches in length and the baby weighs close to 2 pounds—give or take. Your baby will soon start to open their eyes and blink, he or she can hear sounds more clearly at this point as well. Eye color is a pre-determined blue-gray right now, and may take up to one year after birth to change completely to a permanent color.
Your baby is beginning to take tiny breaths in preparation for their birth day. These tiny lung movements will not move air as of yet, and baby takes in all of his oxygen needs via the umbilical cord and mom’s circulation. Speaking of which, the placenta is now the size of the baby and works very hard to provide nutrients, remove wastes and protect baby from any dangerous substances mom may be taking in.
Your tiny miracle is continuing to pack on body fat which will be essential for temperature and blood sugar regulation after birth.
Changes With Your Body
Ideally, your weight gain at this stage should be about 20 to 23 pounds. Of course there are certainly plenty of exceptions to this rule, but remember that packing on the pounds could mean a more difficult labor and delivery. Too little weight gain and you could be raising the stakes for a preterm or low birth weight baby. The top of your uterus (also called the fundus) should be easy to pick out—about 2 to 3 inches above the belly button.
Remember to keep all scheduled appointments with your doctor as blood pressure complications may begin around this time. Most women have a drop in blood pressure during the first half of their pregnancy and then see a rise later. While a mild elevation in pressure isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can lead to a very serious medical complication known as preeclampsia. Your doctor will be monitoring your pressures closely and will talk with you if the need arises. So for now, do your best to maintain a healthy weight, control your blood sugar if you have gestational diabetes, exercise and get plenty of rest.
What To Expect
Coming weeks may bring more fatigue than the previous few. Your growing belly may also make it more difficult to sleep comfortably, so do whatever is necessary to get some rest. While it may not be time for sleeping in the recliner yet, a few pillows positioned just-so may make all the difference.
If you are having trouble with lower back aches, leg cramps or swelling at the end of the day, you may consider trying a maternity belt. Maternity belts can help support the lower portion of the back and your growing belly—taking off some of the strain and the ache that comes with it. They can be purchased at many chain or specialty stores across the country and are well worth the investment.
Each day of your pregnancy is essential to your baby’s growth and development. Because too much stress or over-activity can sometimes trigger complications (like preterm labor) make sure to pace yourself and not get in over your head. As the uterus grows, you may also experience more Braxton-Hicks contractions from dehydration. Remember that the uterus is a muscle, and more water will be required to keep it hydrated.