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Your Developing Baby: Week 26

Week 26

Over the last few weeks, your baby-to-be has been experiencing rapid changes. Now more subtle changes and developments are taking place throughout his body.

At this stage of development, he's just starting to generate pigment to add color to his skin. The hair on his head has no pigment at all. In fact, if you could see a color image of his face and scalp, you'd notice his white locks. Keep in mind, not all babies have hair on their heads at birth. Not to worry; his hair will grow out soon enough. And those newborns who do have hair are likely to lose some of it. Their hair color might also change as they get older. So if your baby is born with dark hair, don't be surprised if it gets lighter later; the same goes for babies born with lighter hair.

Not only does your unborn baby have hair on his scalp, he also has soft downy hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Lanugo helps his skin develop and thicken. It also insulates his body, keeping him nice and toasty in utero. Later, in the third trimester, sometime between weeks 33 and 36, he'll shed this lanugo in preparation for birth.

Terms to Know

Lanugo: Soft, thin hair that grows all over a fetus during gestation. This hair aids in fetal development and is shed before birth. Premature infants might still have lanugo covering their bodies.

 
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Images courtesy of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM.org).