Many expectant mothers are noticeably pregnant by the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy and are excited when strangers begin to take notice. Fetal movement may be able to be felt through the stomach, allowing friends and family members to experience the joy of pregnancy and share in the excitement.
During the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy, an unborn baby can hear sounds and voices from outside the womb and many expectant parents enjoy talking or playing music for their unborn baby. The baby may react to noises and familiar sounds that it hears. The baby’s skin is becoming less transparent and the air sacs in the lungs begin to form to allow for breathing after birth.
By the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy, an unborn baby is about 9 inches long and could weigh as much as 2 lbs. Your OBGYN will use measurements of the uterus and ultrasound to monitor fetal growth to be sure that the baby is growing at the proper rate.
An expectant mother will begin to feel awkward as her belly grows, and by the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy she may have trouble sleeping. Sleeping on the left side is the best position to ensure good blood flow to the baby, but the right side is acceptable too. Sleeping on the back is generally not recommended as it can put pressure on the mother’s organs and limit blood flow to the baby. Maternity clothes are probably a must by this point and many mothers feel a strong bond developing with their unborn baby as the pregnancy becomes more obvious.
Most mothers will have felt fetal movement by the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy, but those movements may have been too faint to share with family or friends. By the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy, other people may be able to feel the baby move by putting their hand over the expectant mother’s belly when the baby is kicking.
Preemie Survival Rates
Preterm labor can make an early birth unavoidable in some cases. Survival rates for preemies born at 26 weeks is as high as 80 to 90 percent. A baby will often be kept in the intensive care unit at the hospital until he reaches his original due date, but that will depend on many factors, including speed of growth, ability to successfully eat, and management of any health conditions that may exist.