What to expect at 24 weeks pregnant – everything you need to know about your body and your baby at week 24 of your pregnancy
You are now 6 months into your pregnancy with only 3 months left until you get to meet your baby. Although, this could be sooner than expected as your baby is considered viable with a chance of survival in a premature birth from 24 weeks pregnant.
Read on to find out more about you and your baby’s development at 24 weeks.
Your Baby at 24 Weeks Pregnant
At 24 weeks pregnant your baby will now be around 30cm long and weigh 0.6kg which is the same size as a corn on the cob.
Your baby is growing longer and experiencing changes within their body. Their lungs are now able to breathe air and their ears can understand sounds such as your heartbeat and voice. Their face is now fully formed with eyelashes, eyebrows and hair although this is yet to be coloured due to a lack of pigment, so is still white.
Your Body at 24 Weeks Pregnant
You may be feeling tired these days and struggling to sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable with plenty of pillows to support your back, bump and legs. Sleeping on your side can help to reduce the risk of stillbirth and reduce the pressure on your body. To help you sleep it is also best to avoid caffeine in the evening and eat dinner earlier than usual.
As your bump grows your centre of gravity shifts which could take you by surprise. Take care when getting up and down and avoid rushing to keep your balance and reduce any feelings of head-rush.
Some women experience dental issues such as bleeding gums and sensitivity around the 24-week mark. Take advantage of free dental care during pregnancy and have a check-up. Regular brushing and flossing will help keep your teeth healthy.
What to think about in week 24
Preparing your home for your baby’s arrival can seem like an overwhelming task with so much to get ready for someone so small. But planning is key. It is easy to be distracted by nursery make overs and overlook the essentials and your budget. As your baby grows the space will be evolving so firstly make sure the space has everything it needs and works for your family.
If you haven’t already, at 24 weeks pregnant, it is time to tell your employer about your pregnancy. This is known as the notification week, 15 weeks prior to birth. You will then be able to take advantage of maternity rights such as having antenatal appointments during working hours.
24 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
It is common to experience abdominal pains around your hips and below your belly due to the extra weight you are carrying. As your uterus grows your abdominal ligaments stretch and thin to support the weight of your bump. Wearing a belly band or maternity belt can help to distribute this weight and relieve pressure. The adjustable nature of these supports will provide comfort as your bump grows.
It is common to find that your back struggles to cope with your bump at the 24 weeks pregnant stage. Your spine is not use to this excess weight which affects your posture and can develop into back pains. This is often mild pain solved by paracetamol but if you are suffering more do talk to your doctor or midwife.
If you experience blurry vision or itchy contact lenses don’t rush to get a new prescription. Pregnancy hormones can cause eye irritation by decreasing tear production and increasing fluid build-up which alters your vision. This is temporary and will pass after birth.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Some women struggle to identify the difference between sharp abdominal pain and contractions. Therefore, some people think they are experiencing early labour although this is a ‘False Labour’ known as Braxton Hicks. You should speak with a doctor about distinguishing these pains. Generally, contractions in the early signs of labour are rhythmic and separated by 10 to 15 minutes.
Pregnancy hormones cause bowel muscles to relax so that food stays in your digestive system for longer, allowing you and your baby to take on more nutrients. This is beneficial but the effects can be unpleasant so be sure to drink plenty of water to help keep food moving soften your stool.
Headaches are a common pregnancy symptom. However, if they last for a couple of days or you also feel nauseas and experience vision changes, they may be migraines. Speak to your doctor or midwife and be sure to keep track of what you eat and do before they occur to help identify triggers.
Swollen Feet & Ankles
At 24 weeks pregnant, your bump is not the only part of your body swelling, your feet and ankles are likely to be growing too. This can alter by the time of day and temperature. You may begin to grow out of some shoes, so consider buying some comfy shoes in a size up. It is important to avoid long periods of standing or sitting but switching up breaks and walks. When sitting try to elevate your legs to help the build-up of fluid flow around your body.
24 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound
Some women whose babies are smaller than average may be required to have regular growth scans to check development.
Between weeks 24 and 28 weeks pregnant your doctor will conduct a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. Your blood sugar levels may be unbalanced resulting in this temporary condition which must be treated. There is increased risk if you are overweight, have high levels of abdominal fat, are older or have family history.
You will also be offered a whooping cough vaccination between 16 to 32 weeks pregnant. This will increase your levels of antibodies which are passed to your baby for protection until childhood immunisation begins.
For more information on development and milestones at every stage of your pregnancy, visit our pregnancy week by week page.
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