24 weeks pregnant
How is your baby growing at 24 weeks?
Your baby is now about 30cm long from head to heel and weighs around 600g – he or she will start gaining about 90g per week. Weight gain is mostly from bone mass, muscles and organs, which continue to gain in size as the body fills out. Your baby's brain may be developed enough to control his or her facial features. If you drink something bitter or with a strange taste, your baby may pick it up in the amniotic fluid being swallowed and show a look of disapproval.
Blood vessels forming in the lungs will allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to take place in the baby's lungs. Cells within the lungs may be producing surfactant, a substance that helps the air sacs to inflate, in preparation for the baby to breathe air.
If the lungs and other vital organs have developed enough, there is a chance that a baby born prematurely in week 24 can survive outside the womb. However, there will also be increased risks of disability in babies that are born at such a premature stage.
For the next 4 weeks, you should notice frequent movements as your baby kicks and turns in up to 750ml of fluid in the amniotic sac. The limb movements will feel stronger, more like a punch or kick, but when the whole body turns, the movements will feel smoother. If there is a sudden noise, you may even notice the baby reacting with a startled jump.
How are you changing in week 24?
With your womb now having risen above your belly button and ever increasing in size, it may start to put pressure on your digestive tract. You may start to experience indigestion and heartburn.
You may be feeling increasingly tired and have a greater appetite – this should be no surprise considering that your body has been working hard, with your lungs and heart having to pump 50% more blood and oxygen to the baby in your womb. However, while you may need to increase the amount of food you eat, you should get only an extra 200 calories daily.
What you need to know in week 24
If you have problems with indigestion and heartburn, try eating smaller meals more often. You may find having a walk after eating will also help.
You should be starting antenatal classes around this week. They normally run for 8 or 9 weeks and ideally should finish by the time you reach week 37.
If you haven't felt your baby move by the time you reach week 24, your midwife should check for your baby's heartbeat and arrange for other checks such as an ultrasound scan.
If at any time during your pregnancy you are unsure about a symptom or can't place your finger on it but somehow you don't feel right, don't hesitate to call your doctor or midwife. Making a phone call means you'll get help if something is wrong, or otherwise you'll be reassured if everything is okay. Your doctor or midwife should be used to these types of calls, and identifying something early is much better in the long run for you and your baby than handling a complication that might have been avoided.