The weight of the fetus in Week 24 is twice the weight of the fetus, and the length of the fetus has increased by 1.3 times about a month ago. An extraordinary growth, isn’t it? You might be rejoicing because you are able to feel fetal movement in week 24 of pregnancy more strongly than before! However, some moms might be fretting over the possibility of a breech delivery. Let’s sum up what might come your way this week.
24 Weeks Pregnant: Belly and the Sims position
In Week 24, your belly continues to enlarge and the fundal height of the fetus is a 23–28 cm. The top of the uterus is now above your navel – it’s no longer just your lower abdominal region protruding, the area around the stomach also starts to protrude even more. Many moms start to support their bellies with their hands while walking around.
This is also a period of time in which it gets increasingly difficult to toss or turn in bed, which can lead to a bad night’s sleep for many moms. Sleeping supine (face up) can result in supine hypotensive syndrome – fall in blood pressure when a pregnant woman lies on her back – so try to sleep on your side. It is recommended that you sleep in the Sims position – lying on your left side, left leg straightened but right leg bent and propped up, your left arm behind your back and you are almost all rolled over on your stomach.
24 Weeks Pregnant: Weight gain and gestational diabetes
During pregnancy, energy from carbohydrates is sent to the fetus, so body fat becomes a main source of energy for a pregnant mom. As a result, your body stores fat more quickly and even when you don’t eat as much, you might find yourself piling on the pounds. Progesterone also causes your body to retain water and swell, and this contributes to weight gain as well. To prevent water retention and weight gain, avoid salty food. Aim to have a healthy diet, and take in about 2,200 calories a day in the second trimester.
You might have already put on more than the ideal weight gain of 13–15 lbs (5.8–6.8 kg) since the start of pregnancy. Depending on your lifestyle and built, this might be too much weight gain, so you might want to ask your OB-GYN for advice on exactly how much weight you should be aiming to put on.
As the second trimester of pregnancy is a relatively stress-free period in comparison to the first trimester, a good many pregnant moms eat more than they should and develop gestational diabetes from Week 24 onward. Gestational diabetes refers to the condition of having high blood sugar while pregnant.
Risk of gestational diabetes
From Week 24 to Week 28, your OB-GYN might ask you to take a glucose screening test to check your glucose level. This test could take place earlier depending on whether you are at risk of having gestational diabetes. For the glucose screening test, you will be asked to drink a sugary drink and have your blood glucose level checked later. If the test results indicate an above-normal level, you may need to do an oral glucose tolerance test.
Gestational diabetes can lead to preeclampsia, which means having proteinuria, edema, headaches, and hypertension. Gestation diabetes also lead to a host of other problems like macrosomia (“fat” baby) or the higher risk of your baby becoming diabetic. This might rob your baby of the chance at a healthy life. If you are at risk of getting gestational diabetes, it’s time to change your diet and start exercising – don’t wait until it’s too late.
Symptoms: Urinary incontinence
When the uterus becomes bigger and compresses the bladder and other organs, urinary incontinence becomes a real problem for many moms. As the secretion of progesterone causes muscles to relax, it becomes more difficult to hold your urine in. It is a distressing thing to lose control over your bladder – but there is no reason for you to feel embarrassed!
This is because about 70% of all mothers experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence during pregnancy cannot be remedied immediately. What you can do is this: Prepare incontinence pads in advance and have a few stashed away in each of your bags, so regardless of which bag you carry with you, you are not caught in a fix when an emergency arises.
24 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly
24 Weeks Pregnant: Fetus’ weight and height
The fetus is 30–35 cm and weighs 0.55–1 kg (1.2–2.2 lbs) in Week 24. There is still space in the uterus for the fetus to move, and the developing fetal brain has increasingly more control over the body, they move around actively in the amniotic fluid. Your baby is now moving more than before, so don’t be surprised if you feel some strong movements in your belly from time to time. The capillaries forming under your baby’s skin will lend it a pinkish color, and in time to come, the transparent skin will become more and more translucent.
- The capillaries start forming under the skin
The capillaries lend the baby’s skin a pinkish color
The fetus’ auditory senses are on its way to full development and fetus can react to sounds from outside the womb
Blood vessels in the lungs and the internal organs develop
The nostrils start to open and lungs continue developing
The spine continues building up
The brain develops and gradually gains control over bodily movements
The vernix caseosa (a white cheese-like biofilm that acts like a waterproof barrier) is found on the fetus’ skin
Symptoms of preterm labor: Strong fetal movements?
Fetal movements gradually become stronger from Week 24 onward. This is because the baby’s skeleton is developing and the baby now has more control over its own body. Hence, when parts of the baby’s body which have bones – the head, legs, or shoulders – come to rest on your bladder, you might experience pain.
Although you might be worried that the vigorous movements might cause your water (amniotic sac) to break and cause you to go into preterm delivery, fetal movement alone will not cause your water to break. When you experience a sharp, sudden pain in your belly, the most likely cause is the usual tightness in your belly and not fetal movement. If you feel that something is not quite right, call the hospital and go for a checkup.
Breech baby? No worries!
What’s a breech baby? Breech actually refers to the buttocks, and when your baby is presented breech first, the baby’s buttocks are pointing downwards. This means that the baby’s head is not pointing down towards the cervix, but upwards.
If a breech baby is delivered vaginally, there is a risk of the baby’s head getting stuck in the cervix during delivery. Hence, if a breech baby does not change their position in time for delivery, a Cesarean section might be necessary to ensure the baby is delivered safely.
In Week 24 of pregnancy, you might be informed by the OB-GYN that your baby is a breech baby. However, during this period of time, the fetus is very active, and about 1 in 3 babies are in a breech position.
From the end of Week 28 onward, the baby’s head becomes heavier and gravity will bring the head down – most breech babies correct their positions by themselves and assume a vertex position. If you do not want to leave your chances up to fate, you can always try out moxibustion or exercises that will help your baby change its position. The recommended methods differ depending on which pregnancy week you are in.
Enjoy quality time with your partner
You are just one month away from the third and final trimester, and delivery is not far-off. When your baby arrives, it will be difficult to spend time alone as a couple.
Although your partner and you are definitely looking forward to Baby’s arrival, “two’s a company, three’s a crowd” – both of you will soon be busy with life postpartum and with the transition to parenthood. If you have things you want to say to your partner before Baby comes along, do find time to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk. Pick activities that you can enjoy even with your big belly in the way, and go all the way to try and make memories that will last you both a lifetime.