26 weeks pregnant

26 weeks

Hey mom,

I’m about the size of a head of lettuce and looking forward to seeing you – literally. Although my eyelids have been fused shut for most of the pregnancy process, during this week my eyelashes will form and I’ll start to open my eyes a bit. Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of scenery to take in while I’m in your belly, but an increased sensitivity to light might result in some extra activity. Same goes for sounds – as the nerves in my ears get sharper and my brain becomes better developed, I’ll be able to start distinguishing the voices of you and the people you talk to. Sing me a lullaby or just tell me how excited you are to meet me; I’ll be more likely to remember and be soothed by your voice if you do.

Although most moms find the second trimester the most manageable, you’ve still got to pay careful attention to the signals your body is sending you – it could be a sign of something more serious. Although it’s normal to see a slight increase in blood pressure after a pregnancy low between weeks 22 and 24, it’s important to stay on top of what your blood is doing. Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure-related medical condition that typically doesn’t pop up till 37 weeks or later, but it could appear as early as this week. If you see sudden bouts of intense swelling of your face, hands, feet, or ankles, or if you’re experiencing rapid, unusual amounts of weight gain, talk to a doctor as soon as you can. More intense cases may warrant more extreme warning signs: vomiting, serious headaches, vision issues, and intense pain in your upper abdomen should all signal you to give your doctor a call, or your emergency room a visit.

Although I’m sure you already know this, the bigger and stronger I get, the more frequently you’ll feel my punches and kicks. Some moms are actually surprised at just how powerful a tiny fist or foot can be – if my movements are ever causing you agony, there are ways to ‘fight back’. If I’m ever in an uncomfortable position, try standing up, walking around, and performing mild stretches to encourage me to shift. It’s actually safe to gently push on your belly as well, to unwedge my knobby knees and twitchy elbows from those tight nooks and crannies.

As I’m moving and you’re growing, visualize the new little arrival you’ll have in just a few months’ time. Here’s an unconventional take on what it’s like to carry a baby: “The baby bounced gently off the wall of her uterus. She opened her dressing gown and put her hands back on her belly. It moved again, like a dolphin going through the water; that was the way she imagined it.” – Roddy Doyle (Author)