Your Body at 24 Weeks Pregnant
This is a great time to sign up for prenatal classes, and join an online pregnancy community if you haven’t already. You should also start thinking about things that you need to buy for your baby. Check out our Circle of Moms checklists here, you’ll find the things you won’t be able to live without.Sex
Again tonight, honey? Many women notice an increase in their libido during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester. Sex during pregnancy can often be a great way to reconnect with your partner and is usually fine from a medical standpoint. You may need to experiment to find a comfortable position, but many women and men report enjoying the new body that pregnancy brings. Happily, experiencing an orgasm is safe for most women. However disappointing it may be, if you have a predisposition of having preterm labor or an incompetent cervix, you should avoid having sex or an orgasm. Check in with your health care provider to find out if you have any restrictions with respect to sex.
This is the week to remind your partner (and yourself) that many things about pregnancy are temporary. Due to the swelling in your mucus membranes, you might start to snore for the first time ever. We repeat: this is temporary. Your hemorrhoids might become more noticeable and uncomfortable; over-the-counter medications are safe to use, if needed. Many women also start noticing more nighttime leg cramps.
You’re not alone. Stretch marks are common now. They can vary in color from pink to dark brown. Although they most commonly appear on your belly, stretch marks may also show up on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. Trying to avoid excessive weight gain may help to prevent you from getting too many of them, but rest assured that most of them fade significantly over the first six months after your baby is born.
Your Baby at 24 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is now about 13 inches (33 cm) in size and weighs about one 1/4 lbs. (550 g). He’s the size of a cantaloupe and has wrinkled skin. His eyebrows and eyelashes are recognizable. His brain is also growing quickly, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree," as well as cells that produce "surfactant" (a substance that will help the air sacs inflate) once your baby is born. The skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon. Hiccupping is getting more common and you will often feel your baby stretching. Your baby is starting to hear completely.
At 24 weeks gestation, there is about a 50 percent chance of survival for your baby, so it’s a good idea to watch for signs of preterm labor. If recognized in the early stages, one can often prevent preterm labor from progressing. For each additional week of gestation, there is roughly another 10 percent increased chance of survival for your baby. When you reach 28 to 29 weeks, the survival rate is nearly 100 percent (with appropriate neonatal intensive care). Women will often have occasional soft contractions during the later part of their pregnancy. If you have more than two contractions per hour, notice pelvic pressure, low backache, or a change in vaginal discharge, it can be signs of early labor and you should contact your health care provider immediately.
Medical Appointments at 24 Weeks Pregnant
Between 24 and 28 weeks, many health care providers will have you do a one-hour glucose test in order to see if you are developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that emerges during pregnancy and then usually goes away after the birth of your baby. At this stage of your pregnancy, it’s possible to have several pregnancy hormones that can prevent your insulin from working at its best. If you’re affected, sugar levels can rise in your blood stream. While this rise is usually not dangerous to you, it will result in your baby getting too much sugar. This additional sugar will make your baby grow bigger than he would have otherwise. A bigger baby may result in a more difficult birth, and will also increase the chance of a cesarean delivery. Finally, a bigger baby requires more nutrients to stay alive and grow. If your placenta cannot provide sufficient nutrients it can be dangerous for your baby.
To prevent these issues, your health care provider will perform a one-hour glucose test. The test involves the consumption of a sugar drink followed by a blood test one hour later. If your sugar value is above a certain number, a second more extensive test will be done to verify if you have diabetes or not. If this second test is positive, you have gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, you will often be sent to a nutritionist to go over your eating and exercise habits. The nutritionist will also teach you to check your sugar at home. As long as your sugar levels are controlled, the risk for you and the baby is small. However, you will be watched closely and your health care provider might recommend that your labor be induced at your due date. If your sugar levels remain high, despite diet and exercise, insulin or an oral medication called glyburide might be prescribed. The need for medications means that you will be followed very closely. An induction of labor will often be recommended prior to your due date, and if your baby turns out to be very large, a cesarean might be recommended as the safest way to deliver your baby. When you have your sugar test done, a blood count will often also be done in order to make sure that you’re not becoming anemic. Changes in diet and iron supplementation might be recommended if you are.
The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.