Your baby has now reached the size of a crookneck squash and will soon start plumping up. Your belly keeps growing, the uterus now reaching the size of a soccer ball.
24 Weeks Pregnant – Fetus
At week 24 of pregnancy, you’ve reached an important milestone. If your baby is born prematurely, he will be considered viable and with a chance of survival (with some serious medical help, but still!). At this stage, you can feel the baby kicking and squirming multiple times a day, especially when lying on your left side, and some well-aimed kicks might make you run to the bathroom more often than you’d like. Your baby will probably kick or squirm when you press on your belly. Some babies kick when you start eating, or even smell one of your preferred dishes, and others respond to sound (especially loud sounds), and it’s exciting to learn these patterns of behavior.
Meanwhile, the baby keeps growing, now measuring 11.4 in./ 28.9 cm, the size of a crookneck squash. The little body is still lean and wrinkly, weighing about 630 grams/ 1.4 lb, but your baby will start accumulating a layer of fat in the following weeks.
If you could take a look at your baby inside the uterus, you could still make out her inner organs and blood vessels, but her skin will soon start losing its translucent look, and hair, still white due to lack of pigment, is sprouting on her head. Eyebrows and lashes are already in place, and in two weeks, your baby will open her eyes, though she won’t be able to see a thing for now. Your baby’s brain is quickly developing, and her lungs keep maturing, preparing her to breathe outside your womb in a few months.
24 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms
Your bump is getting uncomfortably big and heavy. Lower back pain may be getting worse, and you might find yourself turning and tossing all night long to find a comfortable position, or waking up multiple times feeling numb. You may find it increasingly challenging to stay on your feet for long periods of time, and your feet may feel sore, especially at the end of the day. Swollen ankles are a common condition. Try to take as much rest as you can. Swimming, or just immersing your feet in cool water, can do wonders.
Your appetite may still be growing, so make sure to eat healthy, nutritious meals that won’t be too heavy on your stomach. Heartburn may still trouble you, and so may low blood pressure and occasional lightheadedness and nausea that often come with it. Don’t stand up too suddenly to prevent the dizziness, and to avoid accidentally straining an abdominal muscle – which isn’t dangerous, but might be unpleasant.
You may be developing stretch marks and the skin on your belly may become unpleasantly itchy or achy as the baby continues to grow. Applying a moisturizer may ease the itchy sensation, but it won’t save the day. Delivering your baby will, however.
Your gums are extremely sensitive during pregnancy, and may occasionally be bleeding. Brush gently, and don’t skip your routine visits to the dentist.
24 Weeks Pregnant – Questions
What is gestational diabetes, and how do you prepare for a glucose screening test? And are there potentially worrying signs you should watch for?
1. What is A Glucose Screening Test?
Between weeks 24 and 28 weeks, your caregiver will probably schedule a glucose screening test (GCT), a test that checks for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar that may develop during pregnancy, more commonly from the second half, and mostly passes after delivery. The condition can increase the risk of low blood sugar for your baby after delivery, and may cause to baby to grow too large, which can lead to a problematic delivery or a cesarean section.
Gestational diabetes usually passes without any symptoms, so there’s no other way to find out but pass the test.
Passing the test involves drinking an extremely sweet sugar solution (50 grams of glucose), possibly coming in different flavors, and you have to finish it fast – in no more than five minutes. You will have to wait an hour before a blood sample is taken from you.
Around 10 to 20 percent of women get a positive result on their test, but it doesn’t mean that you have gestational diabetes. The test doesn’t give a reliable diagnosis, and only third of women who get a positive result on the test actually have diabetes.
If you get a positive result, you’ll need to come back for a three-hour glucose tolerance test (GTT), which will give you a reliable diagnosis.
2. What are the Signs of Preterm Labor?
Some of these symptoms (such as contractions or back pain) can occur normally during pregnancy, which might be confusing, but it’s better not to ignore them nonetheless. Call your caregiver immediately if you’re experiencing any of these before week 37 of pregnancy:
- Lower back pain, abdominal pain or cramping, or a sensation of pressure/pushing down in the area of your pelvis.
- Increased vaginal discharge and/or discharge that looks different – tinged with blood, mucus-like or watery.
- Contractions, if there are more than four in one hour.