Week 26 Ultrasound: What It Would Look Like
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. One of the most noticeable changes may be much stronger kicks from your baby, whose length has passed the 14-inch mark and weight has climbed to nearly 2 pounds. In fact, his movements are so strong that your partner should be able to feel them easily. Your partner might even hear your baby's heartbeat if he puts his head on your belly. Your baby is probably still in the breech position (head up) at this point because your pear-shape uterus offers him more legroom that way.
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.
His spine is also getting stronger, and if he were born now, he would have an 80 percent chance of survival. He's now capable of inhaling, exhaling, and even crying. Your baby's eyes are becoming more sensitive; if you were to shine a light on your belly, he would notice.
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.
Important Information About Your Pregnancy
Images courtesy of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM.org).