As the 24th week of pregnancy comes and goes and you near the third trimester, it’s important to stay on top of your regular antenatal testing to check for symptoms of birth complications. Undergo a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes, which tends to occur during this time. Almost 2–5 percent of expectant moms develop this type of diabetes, so this screening is done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to make sure everything is going well for both you and your baby.
Symptoms and Body Changes at 24 Weeks
At 24 weeks some women begin to experience what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These are due to the tightening of the uterus that happens from time to time. You are probably showing quite a bit more, as your uterus has risen to about two inches above your belly button. As the skin continues to stretch around your abdomen and breasts, you may notice that they have become dry and itchy.
Speaking of dryness, some women experience dry eyes at this stage; this can be relieved with over-the-counter artificial tears or drops. Always consult with your doctor first, but these drops shouldn’t be a problem. Many pregnant women will experience blurred vision during pregnancy, but it is not usually a major hindrance. As your uterus grows bigger, so do your ligaments, and some women have a hard time dealing with the round ligament pain that accompanies this process. Head cold symptoms and nasal congestion are very common among moms-to-be at this point, due to the swelling of the mucous membranes. These symptoms can be relieved with saline drops if recommended by your doctor.
Your baby is almost a foot long and is about the same size as an ear of corn at 1 ½ pounds (approximately four ounces more than last week). The brain continues to develop, as do the taste buds and lungs. The lungs begin to develop branches and cells that produce surfactant, a chemical agent that will be needed to inflate their little air sacs once your baby is outside the womb. If a baby is born prematurely at this stage, or in weeks to come, the lack of surfactant produced during pregnancy can cause trouble breathing. With their eyes still shut, they use their hands and feet to maneuver and develop their sense of touch. The hair on the scalp is still growing at an even pace, and your baby is continuing to inhale amniotic fluid into its lungs as practice for breathing after birth.
Pregnancy Week 24 Tips
If you haven’t already, it may be time to find a prenatal Lamaze or yoga class. Try asking your healthcare provider or midwife about classes that may be held in your hospital. Next is pregnancy at 25 weeks.