Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 24 of Pregnancy

This week you may notice that you have become very clumsy lately. You are either knocking things over or stubbing your toes. This happens because you may be feeling off balance as your centre of gravity is shifting with each passing week. Your weight is now focussed on the middle of your body because of your growing bump. You may be feeling forgetful. To cope with being more forgetful when pregnant, make sure that you keep track of all your meetings, appointments, and tasks. Use a planner, set alarms on your cell phone, or keep a small notebook with you at all times.



Your body

As you get closer to your delivery date you may have trouble sleeping. Anxiety, frequent urination, heart burn, indigestion, leg cramps, and general discomfort can contribute. Congestion is a common symptom this week. You may find that your nose is stuffy or runny, and you have no signs of having allergies or a viral infection. This condition is called “rhinitis” of pregnancy, and it is caused by the higher levels of hormones in your body swelling the mucous membranes lining your nose. To help cope, sleep with your head propped up at night and increase your fluid intake. Using a humidifier or vaporizer at night also give you some relief.

 

Around this time, you will start putting on a lot of weight. Your heart and lungs are working harder than normal to pump blood and oxygen to your baby in your womb. Your metabolism has also increased in order to compensate for the extra calories more your body now needs.  You may also start to feel hungrier and eat more- you need to be eating an extra 300 calories a day. Just make sure that most of those extra calories aren’t fats. It’s okay to satisfy those cravings once in a while but continue to fill your diet with healthy foods.

 

Your uterus will be about 5 cm above your belly button. The baby movements that you are feeling now are probably stronger than ever. Gradually, over time, your baby’s kicks and jabs will start to seem more rhythmic and slower.  As the space gets tighter in your uterus, you may even experience painful kicks pretty soon. At first when you feel your baby’s movements, they may seem random. But, if you start paying attention to when your baby moves, you will notice patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness. Refer to our section on symptoms of second trimester to read more.



Your baby



By the end of this week, your baby measures about 21 cm and weighs about 630 grams. The skin is characteristically wrinkled, and fat deposition begins. Most of his weight gain till now is muscle, bone and developing organs. However, he will soon start to fill out and look more like the baby at birth. He has well developed hearing and will be listening to your voice and the beat of your heart. Your baby’s eyes will respond to light. He may be able to tell when he is upside down because his inner ear is completely developed. The brain is very active now and is regulating all other body functions. Your baby’s skin is still translucent, but layers of fat are building between the skin cells. The eyebrows and eyelashes are usually recognisable.

With each passing day, your baby starts to get more proportional. This week, his organ systems begin to mature. The canalicular period of lung development, during which the bronchi and bronchioles enlarge and alveolar ducts develop, is nearly completed. In the next few weeks, the lungs will start producing surfactant, which is a substance that prevents the lungs from sticking to each other. Surfactant helps your child breathe after birth.

The amniotic fluid in your womb is undergoing a change this week. After this week, the amniotic fluid will increase in volume. Up until the time you deliver, the uterus can hold up to 2 pints of amniotic fluid.


Remember

Weight gain during pregnancy is one of the main challenges faced by pregnant women. Healthy weight gain during pregnancy is a must for the well being of the developing baby. You can achieve this by eating a nutritious balanced diet.  Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Nuts, fish, lean meats and poultry are other good dietary options. Make sure you are taking adequate calcium in your diet. Calcium is important for your baby as it helps your baby’s teeth, bones, heart, and nerves to develop. You need to take 1000mg per day in your diet. Foods rich in iron are especially important for sufficient blood production. Regular exercise will also help in keeping a check on excessive weight gain. Walking, swimming, and pregnancy yoga are some of the non strenuous method of controlling unhealthy weight gain. Exercise also decreases the strain on the back and various joints while keeping them flexible, thus reducing pain and discomfort.



FAQs

1) What investigations or tests should I expect during my second trimester?

You may be offered a blood test to screen for alphafetoprotein (AFP). This test helps to detect neural tube defects which affect the spine and brain of the fetus. If the screening test comes positive, you will be offered another confirmatory test known as Amniocentesis. This test is done between 16-18 weeks and is optional.

Between 24 to 28 weeks, you will be tested for diabetes as some women develop gestational diabetes around this time of pregnancy. A complete blood count will be done for anaemia and an antibody test will be done if you are Rh-negative. Your urine will be tested for infection. An ultrasound will be done around 20th week of pregnancy to check for any anomaly or developmental defects.


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