Welcome to Week 24 of Your Pregnancy!
What’s Happening Your Baby This Week?
At week 24, Your baby is topping the charts at around 8.5 to 13 inches or 21 to 33 centimeters in length and 1-2 pounds (.5- .9 kilograms), gaining a whopping 4-6 ounces each week and, what’s even more amazing? She can take breaths! Practice breaths, that is. Your little one is gearing up for the big day by inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluid and continues to develop cells that produce surfactant, a liquid that coats the inside of the lungs and facilitates air sac inflation once she is outside of the womb.
Her body has started to produce white blood cells to fight infections. As internal development continues, external development is progressing quite nicely as well. You can see how she is developing in these 3D images….Her lean, soon-to-be plump body is going through even more changes. Her skin, while still translucent, is becoming more pink and opaque, and her face is almost fully formed complete with eyelashes, eyebrows, and sprouting white hair—She still has yet to develop pigment in her hair. Also her movements are becoming more restricted because baby fills up more of the uterus.
By now baby has developed a more consistent sleep pattern and daily excercise time. Instead of using your womb as a spring board baby spends time exploring the confines of the surrounding walls.
She is also starting to sense of whether she or he is upside down or right side up inside your amniotic sac. That’s because baby’s inner ear, which controls not only hearing but balance is now developed. Since baby can hear now enjoy some music together.
What’s Happening With You This Week?
Your growing belly is probably weighing you down these days, and it’s no wonder. Your soccer ball-sized uterus is an entire inch and a half or 3.8 centimeters above your belly-button! With all of the added abdominal pressure thanks to your growing bundle of joy, you may begin to notice a protruding navel. Some women also observe a dark line, known as the linea negra, running horizontally up the centre of your belly. Have no fear! It will lighten again once the baby is born.
In addition to a few extra pounds there are countless symptoms that you may or may not have been experiencing, not all women nor all pregnancies are the same. Some of these symptoms are vaginal discharge, dull pain in the lower abdomen, sleepless nights, heartburn, indigestion, gas, headaches or dizziness, sensitive gums that may bleed when brushed, leg cramps, varicose veins, decreased snooze time, hemorrhoids, nasal congestion and possible nosebleeds. Please drink plenty of fluids to help with these symptoms.
A new symptom that you may be experiencing this week is an itchy abdomen. It is caused by the stretching skin that becomes dehydrated. This annoying symptom may also be experienced on your bum. If you are absolutely itching all over please mention this to your doctor. You may also notice stretch marks beginning to develop. Oh, and did I mention less sleep? Despite a heap of symptoms, and, of course, the fewer hours of slumber you are getting as you toss and turn throughout the night, you are probably still feeling more energized than the prior trimester as well as enjoying decreased mood swings. Enjoy this time because the third trimester can be a little more draining.
If you haven’t had your glucose test done already you might want to have it done this week. This test checks for gestational diabetes. The doctor most likely will provide you with a super sugary drink known as Glucola—a bit like Gatorade, but even sweeter. After swigging the sweet concoction, you will have to wait an hour before blood is drawn to test how your body has processed the sugar. If for some reason the test is positive, it does not necessarily signify that you have gestational diabetes.
A positive screening will result in a more elaborate glucose tolerance test (GTT). There are risks involved with gestational diabetes. If it goes unnoticed and untreated, the baby can become quite large especially in his upper body, triggering a difficult vaginal delivery and increasing the odds of a ceasarian section, and once born the baby may have low blood sugar.
Unfortunately gestational diabetes is not the only risk-factor to nibble your nails over. Approximately twelve percent of babies are born prematurely (prior to 37 weeks) in the United States of America. About twenty five percent of those births are induced by the doctor due to health risks or complications. The remaining births are spontaneous and, often, the cause is unknown.
There are, however, signs that may indicate preterm labor:
- Intense pain in the lower back especially if it has not previously been experienced
- Menstrual-like cramps and abdominal pain. I want to mention that at this time you will start to experience “practice contractions” called Braxton Hicks these are normal at this point they are mild and shouldn’t cause pain just a tight feeling in the abdomen.
- Another indicator would be, More than four contractions within an hour
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Change in discharge— mucus-like, bloody, pinkish in color, or watery
- Vaginal bleeding and /or spotting
Should you experience any of these symptoms, call your practitioner immediately.
Your doctor will probably advise you to go to the hospital. If it is preterm labor, advances in technology have made it possible to save babies as young as 24 weeks. Of course, the closer the baby is to full term, the greater the chances of survival.
Here are some of my tips for this week
- Schedule a glucose screening if you have not done so already. You must take the test between 24 and 28 weeks.
- Arrange your monthly OB appointment in which your doctor will monitor your weight and blood pressure, take a urine sample, check the fetal heartbeat and the height of the fundus, externally feel the position of the fetus, and address any symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Plan a tour of your hospital’s maternity ward and possibly pre-register.
- If you plan on taking childbirth classes, register soon.
So that is it for week 24! If you have any questions or comments please join in the conversation in the forums at pregnancychat.com. I can’t wait to tell you what is happening during week 25, until then enjoy this pregnancy journey these are the precious moments our lives our made of.