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26 Weeks Pregnant: Avoiding Preterm Labor

“I listen to my body when it needs to rest, and nourish myself and my baby with healthy foods and movement.”

It’s normal to start feeling some contractions around this time in your pregnancy. You might notice a tightening across your belly, but they shouldn’t hurt. Commonly known as Braxton-Hicks, we think of them as a healthy practice for your uterus.

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Be alert to contractions that don’t stop or if you have more than six contractions in an hour for more than an hour. That’s a sign of preterm labor and a good reason to call your care provider. Quite often, there’s no explained cause of preterm labor, yet factors like multiples, infections, genetics, diabetes, or high blood pressure sometimes play a role. [1] So let’s focus on what we can control: diet and self-care. Keeping your body healthy goes a long way toward staving off early contractions.

 

Diet

Lily Nichols, author of Real Food for Pregnancy, focuses on whole foods and ancestral diets and urges pregnant people to cut out processed foods, sugar, and starchy carbs. Learn how to make bone broth and the importance of fish oil. This nutritious plan can help you have a full-term, healthy pregnancy.

 

Self-Care

It’s important to manage stress (since it’s likely impossible to avoid it entirely). Drinking water and getting enough sleep and regular exercise go a long way to reducing stress. Low-impact exercises, like walking and swimming, are wonderful when pregnant. Prenatal yoga with mindful breath work and movement adds joy. Try the 28-minute yoga flow included in our Spinning Babies Daily Essentials video (streaming or DVD) for a self-care treat.

Spinning Babies Activity of the Week

A healthy pregnancy requires healthy sleep. Lower or eliminate your caffeine intake and drink plenty of water to promote restorative slumber. Rest Smart to keep your body supported and comfortable as you doze. Here’s how:

  • Use a pillow between your knees and ankles. This prevents the leg from hanging and pulling gently on the hips creating torsion (a twist) in the pelvic floor and hip joints.
  • Make a “nest” to lay nearly on your tummy. Use a breastfeeding pillow, curve your body pillow, or semi-inflate a swim doughnut to keep weight off baby and dip your belly in the nest. It’s so comfy.
  • Change sides frequently. This helps with comfort and keeps the uterus a little more symmetrical.

Read more on how to get a good night’s rest on Week 17.

Your Baby This Week

As the lungs develop surfactant (which allows the lungs to inflate), baby takes breaths of amniotic fluid as practice for the outside world. The alveoli, or air sacs, should be developed by the end of this week too! Baby’s eyes—now complete with eyelashes—may already be open or will open soon. Baby weighs in at almost 2 pounds, and measures about 14 inches long.

You This Week

How’s your memory these days? What people call “pregnancy brain” is a real thing caused by fluctuations in hormones. From now until the end of pregnancy your belly will grow about 0.5 inch per week. Good-bye, mini bump and hello, gorgeous, round belly!

Be sure you are eating to hunger and drinking to thirst. Building a healthy blood supply and a healthy baby requires lots of good calories. Choose protein and fresh veggies before sweets. Choose water and herbal teas over sweet tea, soda, and other carbonated beverages.

Weekly Affirmation

Affirmations are short, powerful statements that can affect your conscious thoughts. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and repeat the following to yourself each day throughout the next week. Fill yourself with breath and feel the joy:

 

“I listen to my body when it needs to rest and nourish myself and my baby with healthy foods and movement.”

References

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