Week 24 pregnant
Your baby is around 22 cm long. The amniotic fluid is being sucked in and out of baby’s lungs in a breathing motion. Lots of energy is going into baby’s growth, with fat deposits being laid down. Hair now starts forming in all the right places, especially eyebrows, eyelashes and on the head.
If you catch sight of yourself in the mirror this week, you might be seeing a more rounded version of your usual self. Familiar, but still different. At 24 weeks pregnant, your bottom, thighs, tummy and upper arms seem more filled out and less defined than they were. There’s just a bit of softness happening overall and it’s not all on the outside.
You could find yourself feeling more emotional than you usually are, with situations or stories really affecting you. Watching the news can bring on a fresh outbreak of tears, not to mention walking past a new baby in its pram. Started staring at other pregnant women yet? Comparing your shape and size, wondering if this is her first baby. Pregnancy is like an exclusive club. All this interest in others could strike you as being very strange, particularly if you normally just focus on your own life and experiences.
It is snack time all the time!
If you’ve always prided yourself on being very disciplined about your eating and exercise habits, being 24 weeks pregnant may come as a rude shock. You’re hungry, tired and feeling as if you really couldn’t be bothered keeping up your usual routines. Guess what? You don’t have to. Give yourself a break and ease into what should be a reasonably relaxing time.
Pregnancy is not a performance-based state, nor can it be graded into high, average or low achievement. Trying to intellectualise your symptoms or why you are feeling as you do will just sap valuable energy. So keep a supply of treats in the pantry and reach for them if you’re feeling low. Look for other ways to boost yourself too. Lovely shower products, new underwear – whatever fits! Some jewellery or a new book can all lift a flagging spirit.
Your physical changes this week
You may find yourself experiencing dry and irritated eyes this week. It may be worse if you wear glasses or contact lenses. Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears will help. Remember to wear your sunglasses (with a high UV factor) when you’re out in the sun.
Stretch marks could start forming on your tummy, thighs, breasts or hips around this time. They occur when the collagen fibres in the middle layer of skin (the dermis) stretch and tear to accommodate an enlarging shape and body size. Unfortunately, there are no creams that actually seep through the external layer of skin to the underlying dermis, no matter what’s printed on the label. If you want to, massage your tummy with some emollient cream or one with Vitamin E included. The best time to do this is after showering, when your skin is still warm, damp and the pores more open.
You may be noticing small pimple-like spots on your areolas. These are called Montgomery’s Tubercles and they will secrete an oily lubricant to help nourish your nipples and keep them supple. Try not to be too vigorous with the soap when you shower and don’t think you need to use pimple cream to help them clear up.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel like you need to swallow all the time. Excess saliva is a common condition at 24 weeks of pregnancy and although it can be messy and irritating, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Try chewing gum, sucking on mints and carrying around a bunch of tissues to absorb the excess if you need to.
More headaches hanging around this week which could be impacting on your work or general concentration. Look for triggers that bring them on. For many women this is chocolate, caffeine, being out in the bright light, not drinking enough water or having a low blood sugar level from not eating frequently enough. If lying down and resting doesn’t help, check with your doctor or pharmacist about what medications are safe for you to take.
Your emotional changes this week
Feeling connected with your baby yet? You may find yourself rubbing your tummy subconsciously, dreaming of how your baby will look and even smiling silently to yourself when you think about it.
Many pregnant couples make up a nickname for their baby while it is still in the womb, like jellybean or peanut. Be careful though! Names may start in all innocence, but can stick for years and you could find yourself having to explain yourself in time to come.
Your baby’s changes this week
Your little baby weighs around 680 grams this week and from the top of its head to its heels is about 22 cm long. Baby is forming footprints and fingerprints, unique markers, which will reflect its own DNA as different from anyone else’s.
Your baby is gaining around 170 grams per week now, around the same amount it will gain in the first few months after birth. Fat, muscle and growing bones account for most of their weight gain.
Your baby has eyelashes and eyebrows growing this week but they still need to compete for space on that hairy little face. Don’t fret. All that excess hair will be reabsorbed by the time you reach your due date, just leaving hair where it should be. There is an unwritten rule that it is always boys who have the longest eyelashes, not girls. No, it isn’t fair.
Your baby has some control now over its senses. Sight, taste, touch, hearing and taste are all maturing so that by birth, your baby will be able to respond to feeding stimulus.
Babies who are born at 24 weeks need specialist care and support in order to survive. However, improved neonatal care has meant the long-term health effects on premature babies are much less than they once were.
Hints for the week
Ask your midwife or doctor if they recommend you have a glucose screening test to screen for gestational diabetes. This is generally done somewhere between week 24 to 28 of pregnancy.
If you normally have your hair dyed, think about leaving it au natural whilst you are pregnant. Although there’s no hard, scientific evidence linking hair dyes to risk in pregnancy, it is better to safe than sorry. Likewise hold off on having a perm or chemical treatment on your scalp, at least until after your baby is born.
Keep some cranberry juice in the fridge. This powerhouse of Vitamin C also has the added benefit of helping with urinary tract infections (UTI). Because it is so acidic it helps to fight off the bacteria which cause UTIs and it has the added bonus of tasting really good.
Put a foot stool under your desk at work and in front of your favourite lounge chair. Keeping your legs and feet up will help with ankle swelling. Get into the habit of elevating your legs when you can to avoid blood pooling and congestion.
Week 25 follows.