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2nd trimester: Week 26

Your Baby

For months your baby's eyes have been shut, but now they're almost fully developed and will soon be ready to open. Interestingly, whatever her ethnicity her eyes are blue at this time: The irises don't display their final color until a few months after birth. Your baby's brain is maturing rapidly, and she's growing quickly. She's more than a foot long and two pounds this week. She's still quite lean, but by the time you meet her, she'll be cute and chubby.

Your Body

With two weeks left of the second trimester, you have a little more than a third of your pregnancy to go and, unfortunately, you're starting to feel it—your back hurts, your legs are cramping up and your pelvic area feels heavy from the load you're carrying. But there's good news: If you're like most pregnant women, your hair is probably at its most luxurious, with extra body enhanced by higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. For a select few, though, your hair just lies flat; but within six months after birth, it will return to normal.

Do's and Don'ts

Your baby is relying on your body's iron stores, so do fill up on iron-rich foods, such as lentils and spinach, especially if you're a vegetarian. Your doctor may suggest supplementing your diet with iron pills to go along with your prenatal vitamins. Keep bottles of vitamins and pills out in the open where you can see them--it may help you to remember to take them.

Health

Have you noticed that other expectant moms seem bigger or smaller than you? Such comparison is natural but can be misleading. The way you carry depends less on the size of the fetus and more on her shape, structure and position. Overall muscle tone also matters; if you have tight muscles, your belly may not pop out as soon or as much as it would with looser muscles. If your doctor says your baby's growth is on track, then everything's fine.

Mom to Mom

Pregnancy can be overwhelming sometimes. Try singing your stress away. "Even when my daughter isn't with me, I sing tunes from Bear in the Big Blue House. I end up laughing at myself, which always puts me in a much better mood."-Melinda Knopko, New York, NY

Shopping

If you're decorating a nursery from top to bottom, plan on finishing it weeks before the baby arrives. Because newly applied wallpaper, paint and glaze release potentially harmful fumes, allow for as much as eight weeks' aeration with the windows open.

Exercise

Your thighs help carry the weight of your uterus and baby, so consider giving them a break. Stretch your thighs by sitting on the floor and crossing your right ankle over your left knee. Keeping your right hand on the floor, pull the right thigh toward the left and gaze outward over your right shoulder. Hold the position and then stretch in the other direction.

Relationships

If the everyday worries of expecting are getting to you and your partner, lighten up. Catch a comedy show, rent a sidesplitting movie or simply make goofy faces at each other. You've only just begun the journey of parenthood, and your sense of humor will help you weather the ups and downs that lie ahead.

Siblings

What's in a name? A lot! The coming baby will seem more real to your firstborn if she has a name, so if you've chosen one, use it often to help your child bond early. If you're undecided, a nickname will do fine, but let your child know the name isn't set in stone.

Twins

Stock up now on any diapers, wipes, and creams that may be on sale: You'll need cases of them to keep your little ones clean and fresh, and buying in advance at bargain prices will save money and time. Purchase diapers of different sizes to anticipate your babies' growth.