Pregnancy and birth

26 weeks

In twelve weeks’ time, one way or another, the babies will be making their appearance (if they haven’t done so earlier).  Holy gacamole, that’s a sobering thought.  We have a hard deadline, people: the countdown has begun.  I feel like I should have a big clock in the living room, ticking down the minutes…

Here’s what OHBaby wants me to know this week:

Although your baby’s eyes have been sealed shut for the last few months to allow the retinas to develop, they are now opening and beginning to blink. Depending on ethnicity, some babies will be born with blue or gray-blue eyes (which may change color in the first 6 months of life) and some will be born with brown or dark eyes. Eyelashes are growing, as is more hair on the head.

Your baby weighs approximately 2 pounds (850 grams) and is about 23 cm long from the head to bottom. Your baby will still look wrinkly, but he or she will continue to gain weight steadily over the next 14 weeks until birth.

I’ve got hazel eyes, and Tristan’s eyes are blue, so it will be interesting to see what eye colour the babies are given.  Actually, the whole issue of colouring will be fascinating: I’m very pale, whereas Tristan has olive skin and tans really easily.  Looking at our parents, we each come from combined pale/olive stock (both mothers are olive skinned, and both fathers are reasonably pale).  And then there’s hair colour: Tristan was very blond as a child, and still goes blond easily in the sun, whereas I’m light brown with a tinge of ginge – my share of the strong redheaded gene in my father’s side of the family.  I’ve met some gorgeous redheaded twins recently – they’re absolutely adorable.  I like red hair.

Huggies adds:

Your baby is just less than 1 kilogram in weight this week and weighs around 900 grams.  It’s still a compact little package and although it stretches out its arms and legs, it still spends a lot of its time curled up with its legs and feet tucked up against its bottom.

Your baby’s eyes are starting to open and their eyelids are no longer fused together.  It will learn to open and close its eyes, blink and practice focusing in the remaining few months of your pregnancy. Many parents are amazed by their baby’s wide open gaze when they are first born.  Some babies don’t seem to blink at all and just stare endlessly at their parent’s faces.  Make sure you have the camera ready for this special time.

Lots of baby movements from now until your 30th week.  The amniotic fluid isn’t being produced in the same volumes as it was a couple of weeks ago. Because your baby is bigger, with less fluid to buffer its movements, you’ll be more aware of those kicks and stretches.

Your baby is growing longer and laying down more fat. This will serve as an effective means of insulation for when it is born. An average birth weight for a baby at birth is around 3.5 kilograms with pregnancy factors, genetics and individual DNA major influences on its size.

Your baby is having regular periods of rest and activity and its patterns of movement are becoming more familiar to you. Some pregnant women find their baby is very active in the middle of the night – enough to wake them from a deep sleep. After a sweet snack, on hearing  the sound of your partner’s voice or when there is a sudden noise can all prompt a series of movements as well.

I’m definitely noticing that our girl, in particular, is a bit of a night owl – whenever I wake up to heave myself around the bed during the night, I’m usually rewarded with a kick or two from her.  I can’t really say that I’m noticing a distinctive pattern in the babies’ movements yet, though – basically, if I stay still for a while (when I’m in the bath, for example), at least one of them will make their presence felt.  Yesterday, I watched my bump pulsate in the bath as our boy had the hiccups.

I also don’t think I’ve felt the two of them move at the same time yet – that will be quite weird.  Because they’ve maintained their ‘top bunk/bottom bunk’ positions, it’s been fairly easy to know who is doing what, so far.

About me, Huggies says:

Your tummy is getting bigger with each passing week and by now, you are probably having trouble seeing your knees when you’re standing up.  Some women find their body changes alarming and unattractive and others see it for what it is. Pregnancy is nothing if not biological.  How a mother feels about it all doesn’t really make much difference to the ongoing changes her body is going through. There is usually a reason why pregnancy changes occur.

Is it just me, or is that a fairly pointless comment?  Of course a mother’s feelings don’t make a difference to the on-going changes her body is going through!

Personally, I don’t find my pregnant body attractive or unattractive – it just is what it is.  I mean, it’s so freakish to be this shape (and I don’t mean that in a prejorative sense) that I can’t associate how my body looks with any standards of attractiveness.  I think I’ve accepted the fact that my body has a definite role at the moment, so considering it from the perspective of attractiveness is a total waste of time.

Your total blood volume has increased by around 25% since the start of your pregnancy.  But it won’t peak until closer to 35 weeks. All that extra circulating blood will mean you may notice your fingers and ankles swelling by the end of the day.

I’ve had to take off my wedding ring, after waking up one morning last week and finding that it was really tight.  I can still wear it during the day, as long as I take it off again before bedtime, but to be honest I rarely remember to put it on unless I’m putting on my watch and other jewellery as well.

I haven’t had swollen ankles yet, which is good.  A girl I know from my antenatal class has had problems with this for ages, and can’t wear anything but jandals (flip-flops).

More Braxton Hicks contractions this week, which are making your uterus harden at irregular intervals.  Don’t worry unless they become painful and regular, or you start having lower back pain as well.  You will find they are more frequent after bending over, standing up, after having sex and if you climb a flight of stairs.

I haven’t noticed any Braxton Hicks contractions, but this is one of those times when I’m aware that I wouldn’t know whether I was experiencing them, even if I was!  Actually, one fear that I haven’t talked about here before is the worry that I will go into premature labour and not even recognise it for what it is – not uncommon, apparently.  Being this heavily pregnant is pretty uncomfortable a lot of the time: if I eat slightly too much, for example, or if I walk a bit too much and get an achy bump for my trouble.  I guess the clue to early labour will be if those kind of symptoms come on and don’t go away after a while?  I suspect we’ll have my obstetrician on speed dial towards the end, just to check in…

More gut changes for you this week unfortunately.  Constipation, your old friend continues to overstay its welcome and you may feel you’re investing more thought into your toilet activities than you really want to.  Remember to drink lots of water, eat lots of fibre rich foods and try to exercise everyday.  White, processed foods won’t help so avoid these in favour of wholegrains.

Yes.  Boo.

Take it slowly when you’re standing up from now on.  Many pregnant women experience pronounced postural hypotension (drop in blood pressure) when they go from a sitting or lying position to standing. When you’re getting out of bed, sit on the edge for a minute or two and then stand up.  If you feel lightheaded or as if you are going to faint, put your head between your legs and call out to someone to stand near you. If you have no choice, then sit on the floor until you return to feeling normal. You won’t be the first pregnant woman to do this and you won’t be the last.

I haven’t really noticed this either, but this might be because it takes me so flipping long to drag myself out of bed, or stand up when I’ve been sitting down, that my blood pressure has plenty of time to stabilise.

We’re seeing the obstetrician later this morning for a check-up and I want to ask about blood pressure, because two people I know who have given birth recently (one with one baby, and one with twins), have ended up with hypertension (dangerously high blood pressure) and have had to stay in hospital for several days because of it.  I want to know whether this something that happens often, or whether it’s more likely in people who have high blood pressure beforehand (my blood pressure has always been normal).

I promise to write a few more blog updates this week – I have a variety of things to talk about, but for now I need to have some breakfast!

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8 thoughts on “26 weeks

  1. I am SO glad I am going to be heavily pregnant in summer – imagine being stuck with jandals (or maybe crocs if you’ve got no shame) in the middle of winter. Brrrr. Even if I avoid major ankle swelling I am loving the slip on and off factor of jandals. If my sausage fingers are a sign I can expect fat ankles – not that I can see them of course.
    I’m hoping she gets hiccups at least once, that must be funny to watch. And only fair cos she gives me hiccups constantly.

    1. The hiccups were hilarious – my bump was jumping around!

      And yes, thank goodness Auckland has a fairly mild climate: my jandals are already getting a decent workout. Putting on socks and tying shoelaces is such a hassle!

  2. It sounds like it is all going swimmingly Jacq – which is fabulous! Loving to hear they are both doing well weight wise too. Now you just need to lower everything to Gas Mark 1 and keep the baking nice and gentle for the next 12 weeks 🙂

    As to the Braxton’s, I think you are right to just go with how you feel and call someone if not sure. When we met our Doula last week, she said that one of the symptoms of being about to go into labour was ‘feeling odd’ (?!). She totally agreed that this was about as non-specific as you can get, its just that apparently a lot of pregnant women find themselves feeling differently just prior to labour starting, which I guess translates to feeling something other than large, breathless and grumpy in the final stages! (Beware sudden euphoria and an urge to tap dance methinks….)

    Other weird moment during the 20 week scan, one of the sonographers suddenly said something about my uterus on the screen. Me “What?! What is it?!”; Him “See there – that’s your uterus contracting – it’s just practising”. Didn’t feel a thing. Weird to think it’s already at it though and play-labouring… wibble.

    1. Maybe you have the equivalent of a marathon-running uterus, so it’s putting in the long, slow training now to enable it to perform at maximum efficiency on race day!

      Yes, ‘feeling odd’ isn’t very scientific, is it? This whole blimmin experience feels odd!!

  3. I can’t imagine how anyone would not know that they’re properly in labour – it’s very painful, as opposed to just a contracting of the uterus with Braxton Hicks. As the pregnancy progresses you’ll probably notice your stomach contracting and getting very hard – they’re the practice contractions, the real ones are properly painful.

    Gabriella used to get the hiccups all the time, I used to imagine she must have had her mouth open gulping down amniotic fluid all day every day. It’s a cool feeling, like an unobstrusive little reminder that there’s a little person inside you.

    1. Oh – I have had a bit of that ‘stomach contracting and getting hard’ thing, particularly when I’ve overdone it and am tired – so maybe I’m having BH contractions already, and was just too dim to realise! Heh!

  4. Yeah, like Vickie, I don’t really see how it would be hard to tell you’re in labour. Also, you’ll know when you have BH contractions, they are just as Vickie said, and pretty easy to identify. They tend to happen later in first time mothers, I got them a lot earlier with subsequent pregnancies. I never had any issues with BP in any of my pregnancies – twin pregnancies can be just as ‘normal’ as singleton pregnancies! 🙂

    1. Excellent to hear it, Pip – and after all, you’ve had a few singleton pregnancies against which to compare your twin pregnancy! The obstetrician said that, given that my blood pressure has always been fine so far, I’d be pretty unlikely to have any problems. So that’s good news!

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