In pregnancy week 26, your little one weighs around 1.7 pounds and is 14" long. Your baby is slowly putting on layers of fat, but even more fat will build up towards the last few weeks before birth. Your baby's heartbeat can now be heard through a normal stethoscope. But if you can't hear, don't worry, as some women will not be able to hear the heartbeat throughout pregnancy.
Neural connections are being built in the ears during this period, and the ears continue their development, which lets your baby react to sound constantly. You notice that your baby makes startled movements on hearing loud noises. Your little one can now recognize your partner's voice as well, other than your voice. This is a really good time to play music and read to your baby, if you haven't so yet. Also talk to your baby and bond even more.
Male babies will have a greater spurt of growth, this pregnancy week 26, and their testes are going to totally descend into the scrotum. Meanwhile all babies continue to swallow and breathe in amniotic fluid.
Let's now focus on your body. The apex of the uterus or fundus is about 2 1/2"; above the navel. The uterus will continue growing about one centimeter per week. You are also putting on weight, and some women, in pregnancy week 26, would have put up to 23 pounds. Do not weigh every day, as your body weight will be up one day and down the next. This is due to water retention.
The growing uterus makes you experience back pain and the feeling of not being comfortable. Leg cramps also make their rounds. Do stretching exercises daily for the leg cramps and eat healthy nutritious food.
Another symptom is headaches, which come on more often than before in pregnancy week 26, and is mainly due to hormonal changes that are taking place now nearing the end of the second trimester. During this period, some women have discomfort or pain, around the lower abdomen and ribs. It is because the uterus is also pressing against many organs, and your baby is getting stronger that any movement can give you some sharp pains. Should you feel any pain or discomfort, change position or lie down.
Some women may face a slight rise in blood pressure after pregnancy week 24. Your doctor will check your blood pressure every time you make a visit. If your pressure increases suddenly, and you have blurring vision, pain or swelling, it may be a sign that you getting pregnancy hypertension or pre-eclampsia. You can watch your diet and reduce salt or sodium content in your food. Also make sure you continue to take healthy, nutritious food full of fiber, such as vegetables and fruits.