26 weeks pregnant: baby's development, leg cramps and exercise

If you could see your baby, you might notice their eyelids open. They’ll soon be blinking.

Your baby’s development this week

During the next few weeks, your baby will become plumper as their tummy and limbs fill out and their skin starts to lose its wrinkly appearance. 

Your baby’s eyes are now opening and your baby will start to blink and become much more aware of the differences in light.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 26

Leg cramps waking you up?

No one knows for certain why pregnant mums get cramp, especially during the night. But stretching or massaging the muscle may help.

Try our easy pregnancy workout at home.

Some people develop restless leg syndrome in pregnancy. This is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming irresistible urge to move your legs. You may not be able to stop the symptoms completely, but you may be able to reduce them. Find out more about restless leg syndrome and how to manage the symptoms.

Are you suffering from cramps, headaches, swollen feet or indigestion? 

Here’s our guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

What to do in week 26

Maternity Allowance

If you’re entitled to Maternity Allowance, you can claim it from when you’re 26 weeks pregnant and it can be paid from 29 weeks of pregnancy. You'll need a MA1 claim form.

“Even though I was self-employed, I was able to claim Maternity Allowance. It made a big difference to us. Don’t assume you’re not entitled to maternity pay - do some research.” Anja, mum of two

Breakfast ideas

Breakfast is a great time to get good food into you and your baby, such as B vitamins, folate, calcium and vitamin C.

Here are 5 healthy breakfast ideas.

It’s good to walk

Even if you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, this is a great time to start. Walking is the perfect activity to start with.

You can do it whenever it suits you and you don’t need any special clothes or equipment. If possible, incorporate it into your daily routine, such as your commute to work, the school run or a daily lunchtime walk for example.

Find out more about how active you should be during your pregnancy.

Antenatal classes

If you haven't already booked antenatal classes, make sure you ask your midwife now. They get booked up quickly so don't miss out.

Your hospital might offer free parentcraft or antenatal classes for you and your partner, if you have one. These may be online or in person. Some are also offered in your local children’s centre and led by midwives and health visitors.

Starting to feel nervous about the birth?

You may feel a bit anxious about birth or afraid of giving birth. This is very common. Pregnancy and childbirth are major life events, so don’t be hard on yourself for having these feelings.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about how you feel. They may be able to reassure you. It may also help to talk to a partner, family member or friend. 

1.  Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week, Penguin Random House, London

2.  NHS. Leg cramps. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leg-cramps/ (Page last reviewed: 16 December 2020 Next review due: 16 December 2023)

3.  Clinical Knowledge Summaries. (2020) Restless legs syndrome https://cks.nice.org.uk/restless-legs-syndrome

4.  Gov.UK Maternity Allowance. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance

Review dates
Reviewed: 11 July 2022
Next review: 11 July 2025