Welcome to week 26. 14 weeks to go!
Last week your baby was the size of an acorn squash. This week they are roughly the size of a zucchini. Your little one measures 13.8 inches (35.1 cm) and weighs 2 pounds (913 grams).
Your baby’s eyes are still shut but are now almost fully developed and will soon be ready to open. Their eyes are blue and may not display their final color until a few months after birth.
Your baby’s brain is maturing and growing rapidly. Their brain-wave activity is kicking in at this stage in their fetal development. This is exciting because not only can they hear noises, but they can now respond to them with an increase in pulse rate or activity. This sense will continue to improve as their hearing sharpens throughout their time in your belly. By 26 weeks, your baby will react to sounds, and some research points to even earlier responses.
If you would rather not sing, you can always play music. A small pilot study found that listening to music decreased stress and anxiety in pregnant mothers. Another study found that listening to music during pregnancy is associated with higher levels of well-being and reduced symptoms of postpartum depression in the first three months after birth. You are not doomed to never bond with your baby or have postpartum depression if you aren’t a music lover. If you listen to music regularly, by all means, keep doing it.
There is a lot of research going back decades that babies react to their mothers’ voices in the womb and prefer their mothers’ voices over other voices. Part of this may be that your voice sounds different to your baby because the sounds resonate through your body differently than external sounds.
You are about two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy. This week your uterus is about two and a half inches above your belly button.
In addition to your blood type, you have a positive or negative Rh factor. If you are Rh-negative and your baby’s father is Rh-positive, your baby may be Rh-positive. This means incompatibility is possible when your blood and your baby’s blood are mixed. Usually, this doesn’t happen. An injury, like a car accident, could cause your and your baby’s blood to come into contact. This can also occur if you have a miscarriage or an external cephalic version, a procedure to try and flip a breech baby, with an invasive test like amniocentesis or CVS, or during the birth process with interventions like using forceps, a vacuum, or a cesarean section. To prevent incompatibility, RhoGAM is given as a shot at 26-28 weeks to prevent your immune system from attacking your baby’s blood. This works similarly to a vaccine. If you have a negative blood type, please check out this episode on the pros and cons of RhoGAM.
Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic contractions that many pregnant women experience during the second and third trimesters. Like everything pregnancy-related, they will be different for everyone. Occasionally they can be strong but usually are more uncomfortable than painful. See the episode on Braxton Hicks contractions to learn more.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Talk to your baby. This may seem a little silly initially, but they can hear and respond to familiar sounds, such as your voice, with movement. When they are born and hear your voice, they will recognize it.
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