Pregnancy at 23 to 26 Weeks
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 5, 2023.
What changes are happening to your body:
You are now close to or at the beginning of the third trimester. The third trimester starts at 24 weeks and ends with delivery. As your baby gets larger, you may develop certain symptoms. These may include pain in your back or down the sides of your abdomen. You may also have stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks. You may also have constipation.
Seek care immediately if:
- You develop a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have new or increased vision changes, such as blurred or spotted vision.
- You have new or increased swelling in your face or hands.
- You have vaginal spotting or bleeding.
- Your water broke or you feel warm water gushing or trickling from your vagina.
Call your doctor or obstetrician if:
- You have abdominal cramps, pressure, or tightening.
- You have a change in vaginal discharge.
- You have light bleeding.
- You have chills or a fever.
- You have vaginal itching, burning, or pain.
- You have yellow, green, white, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- You have pain or burning when you urinate, less urine than usual, or pink or bloody urine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
How to care for yourself at this stage of your pregnancy:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy foods, beans, lean meats, and fish. Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams each day. Limit your intake of fish to 2 servings each week. Choose fish low in mercury such as canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, cod, or tilapia. Do not eat fish high in mercury such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark.
- Manage back pain. Do not stand for long periods of time or lift heavy items. Use good posture while you stand, squat, or bend. Wear low-heeled shoes with good support. Rest may also help to relieve back pain. Ask your healthcare provider about exercises you can do to strengthen your back muscles.
- Take prenatal vitamins as directed. Your need for certain vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, increases during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins provide some of the extra vitamins and minerals you need. Prenatal vitamins may also help to decrease the risk of certain birth defects.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about exercise. Moderate exercise can help you stay fit. Your healthcare provider will help you plan an exercise program that is safe for you during pregnancy.
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk of a miscarriage and other health problems during your pregnancy. Smoking can cause your baby to be born too early or weigh less at birth. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol passes from your body to your baby through the placenta. It can affect your baby's brain development and cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is a group of conditions that causes mental, behavior, and growth problems.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any medicines. Many medicines may harm your baby if you take them when you are pregnant. Do not take any medicines, vitamins, herbs, or supplements without first talking to your healthcare provider. Never use illegal or street drugs (such as marijuana or cocaine) while you are pregnant.
Safety tips during pregnancy:
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Do not use a hot tub or sauna while you are pregnant, especially during your first trimester. Hot tubs and saunas may raise your baby's temperature and increase the risk of birth defects.
- Avoid toxoplasmosis. This is an infection caused by eating raw meat or being around infected cat feces. It can cause birth defects, miscarriages, and other problems. Wash your hands after you touch raw meat. Make sure any meat is well-cooked before you eat it. Avoid raw eggs and unpasteurized milk. Use gloves or ask someone else to clean your cat's litter box while you are pregnant.
Changes that are happening with your baby:
By 26 weeks, your baby will weigh about 2 pounds. Your baby will be about 10 inches long from the top of the head to the rump (baby's bottom). Your baby's movements are much stronger now. Your baby's eyes are almost completely formed and can partially open. Your baby also sleeps and wakes up.
What you need to know about prenatal care:
Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure and weight. You may also need the following:
- A urine test may also be done to check for sugar and protein. These can be signs of gestational diabetes or infection. Protein in your urine may also be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that can develop during week 20 or later of your pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure, and it can cause problems with your kidneys and other organs.
- A gestational diabetes screen may be done. Your healthcare provider may order either a 1-step or 2-step oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
- 1-step OGTT: Your blood sugar level will be tested after you have not eaten for 8 hours (fasting). You will then be given a glucose drink. Your level will be tested again 1 hour and 2 hours after you finish the drink.
- 2-step OGTT: You do not have to fast for the first part of the test. You will have the glucose drink at any time of day. Your blood sugar level will be checked 1 hour later. If your blood sugar is higher than a certain level, another test will be ordered. You will fast and your blood sugar level will be tested. You will have the glucose drink. Your blood will be tested again 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after you finish the glucose drink.
- Fundal height is a measurement of your uterus to check your baby's growth. This number is usually the same as the number of weeks that you have been pregnant.
- Your baby's heart rate will be checked.
Follow up with your doctor or obstetrician as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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