Week 24 – the middle of the 6th month, or, the 2nd trimester
Week 24 will give a future mom a range of new sensations. The fetus has grown and its weight is about 550-600 gm. As uterus is not spacious enough anymore, the baby will bump into everything it can find inside. The baby actively studies any outer world manifestations, listens the sounds around him and reacts to all changes. It is important for the future mom not to do any sudden movements, not to shout and not to get scared, as all this can scare the baby. If that happens, it won’t be easy for the mom to calm down the baby inside her womb.
The baby is adding up fat tissue, as it is crucial for the health. The baby is very sensitive to any temperature changes and requires the extra protection. The respiratory system of the fetus is strong enough for him to breathe and oxygenate the blood. The baby is preparing for his future independent life. This can affect the woman’s condition; she can have headaches and pain in her legs. The baby also presses on both the bladder and the stomach.
To ease this condition, the pregnant woman should wear comfortable shoes, avoid extra activity and rest more. The woman shouldn’t ignore some extra hours for sleep as her body now gets tired much quicker. In case of feeling too unwell, a woman should see the doctor to avoid a premature birth.
What's Happening With Baby In Week 24
The week 24 is the end of the 6th month and the 2nd trimester of the pregnancy. This period is considered by the future moms to be the most pleasurable period. With toxicosis gone and the tummy not too heavy yet to carry, this period is the best to start talking with your future child and getting ready for his arrival.
The baby’s development is approaching its final stage with a weight of about 550 gr and length of 22 cm. During this period the baby gains fat, or speaking more scientifically – a brown adipose tissue gets deposited. It is a high-energy fat, which will generate heat important for keeping the baby’s temperature after the birth, when the baby will start to live outside the womb. The baby will start to produce the growth hormone, which will trigger a rapid gain weight and growth.
By this period, all the baby’s organs and systems are almost formed. Now it is a question of development and gaining weight. The respiratory system is ready to function. The baby’s lungs are covered with surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs from drying when breathing. The sweat glands and sebaceous glands are fully functioning. Thus, the week 24 is the start of the baby’s viable phase.
Now is the time for a very important organ to develop, the baby’s brain. The grooves and convolutions start to form in the beginning of the 3rd trimester, which makes possible for the organs of sense and the reflexes to develop. The baby reacts to sounds and light, and he can taste the change of the amniotic fluid. The baby reacts to the mother’s emotion, so if the woman talks constantly to her baby that will do good to him and help calm her down.
The future father should talk to his baby too. Right now the baby learns to recognize the familiar voices. If there are others in the family, elder brothers or sisters, grandparents, their voices will be important to the baby as well. The baby’s movement inside of the womb is its reaction to these voices. Nice relaxing music or a delightful nap to a classical masterpiece will help both the mom and the baby.
When inside the womb, the baby sleeps a lot (up to 16-20 hours), but mom can easily detect the times when the baby is awake. It’s interesting to know that the unborn baby has both NREM and REM sleep stages just like the adults. According to scientists, the fetuses can even have dreams. When the baby is awake he wants to know more about his surroundings. To let his mom know that he can hear her, he responds differently to the mom’s emotions.
The baby-to-be is growing fast inside the womb and taking more space, which makes his movements more distinct for the mom. The mom’s body reacts to the baby’s movements in its own way too. She can suffer from heartburn and poor digestion, constipation and frequent urination. The increased weight causes swollen feet, sometimes pain and leg cramps.
Both the positive and negative sensations in this period are caused by the baby’s rapid growth and liveliness. The womb stretches rapidly too to give the baby space to grow. Now the uterine fundus is at the level of your belly button. The part of cervix that connects the womb and vagina gets filled with the mucous plug. The volume of the amniotic fluid is around 400 ml.
At the beginning of the 7th month a false labor, known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, may occur. It is the uterus conducting the “rehearsal” of the delivery. Those contractions are usually painless and happen periodically. The woman should pay attention to the intervals between these contractions and her sensations; if the woman has painful contractions and a vaginal discharge, it can be a sign of a preterm labor. An emergency should be called immediately because it’s better being safe than sorry.
The Uterus And Pregnant Belly During This Period
With the rapid growth of the uterus the belly stretches too. By the week 24 it will take a round shape and blood vessels will be visible on the surface of the stretched skin.
From this period, the mom-to-be should use special creams to prevent belly stretch marks. It is important to start early because it will be next to impossible to get rid of them after the birth. The cream should be applied to the belly twice a day after the shower. This cosmetic is easy to find in the drugstore and is harmless to the fetus.
The mom’s body changes greatly to adapt to the needs of the baby, so that he can grow and develop. Those changes might cause the mother some discomfort, such as back pain in particular. This happens because the belly’s growth shifts the center of gravity. To prevent this problem, some training for the muscles should be done before the pregnancy, including special pregnancy exercises.
A bandage can be used to support the belly and ease the pressure on the back. This bandage can help to prevent stretch marks too. Comfortable heelless shoes help in case of pain in the legs and burning sensation in the feet. The feet suffer the most during the last period of the pregnancy. Even the walk of the pregnant woman changes, becoming a waddling gait due to the relaxation of the ligaments in the pelvis and the hip joints.
The Belly Photograph At The Week 24
The heartburn is a very common symptom. The acids splashing from the stomach into the esophagus cause the heartburn. To treat heartburn, food should be broken into the frequent small meals. Leg cramps can also be very painful. They happen because the woman’s leg muscles get tired of wearing high heel shoes. The legs need extra rest, ideally in an uplifted position to reduce blood flow to the feet. The best tilt is at the chest level.
There should be no pains during this period. Though some might experience a sharp stabbing pain in the side, that is temporary thing caused by the stretching uterus. However if the pain is nagging and persistent with a vaginal discharge an emergency should be called in immediately as these are the symptoms of the early birth, especially if it is a yellowish water-like discharge. In this case the woman should be taken to the hospital so that the pregnancy can be preserved.
Sometimes the amniotic fluid discharges in light portions. In medical terms it is called cervical insufficiency. Basically this means that the womb cannot hold the fetus properly. The woman needs a doctor’s consultation to find the treatment for this condition.
The doctor’s consultation is required if the woman has bleeding; that can be a sign of improper baby position in the uterus or placental abruption. It is normal to have some vaginal discharge during this period. Usually it is a light homogeneous discharge with a slightly acidic smell. If the vaginal discharge is yellow or green and mucous or curd-like that is the sign of an infection. Self-treatment is never a good idea, especially in the case of pregnancy when most of the medications are prohibited as being a risk for the baby.
Sex During The Week 24
Is it safe to have sex during this period? Both women and their husbands usually ask this question. It is natural to be worried about this as no one wants to harm the baby, but sex is still a natural instinct in people. If your doctor doesn’t have any concerns about your pregnancy, then sex is even recommended. During this period intercourse is unlikely to harm the fetus. The woman will get an extra pleasure because her sex drive is increased by extra blood flow in the sex organs. Naturally there are some restrictions still. All the positions with the possible pressure on the bulging belly are not allowed. Modern medicine studied this question through and through, which resulted in many books and articles dedicated to this topic. Your doctor will help you to find the appropriate source of information.
The Pregnancy Diet And Weight Plan
The future mom is actively gaining weight together with her baby. It is normal to put on up to 8 kg at this stage, though the woman’s weight before pregnancy should be considered. Skinny women tend to gain more than those who are plump. The latter should keep tabs on their weight gain. Pregnant women gain about 300-500 gr per week. Weighting yourself should become a habit for an expectant mom (once every two days at home), not just a routine performed by the doctor during the check up.
If the weight gain goes too fast, the doctor’s consultation for the correction is needed. A hormonal imbalance could be the cause. Gaining extra weight is not in the woman’s best interest because it can affect the last months of the pregnancy and lead to the complications during the birth. An expectant mom should have a firm control over calories to manage her weight gain. It should be done starting the first days of the pregnancy and up to the birth.
The meal plan should be healthy and nutritious during this period. Try to eat fresh organic food. It should be either steamed or boiled (or just baked in the oven) food. No fried, smoked or half-cooked food. Try to avoid sugar, white bread and sweet things like cakes, cookies, as they transport simple carbohydrates that can cause gestational diabetes. Reduce salt intake as it has fluid-retention properties, which leads to painful swelling. But you cannot cut on salt entirely because it is essential for the digestion.
During the 6th month the pregnant woman should have a normal level of iron. Eating foods rich in iron will help to avoid anemia. The iron-reach diet includes: red meat, buckwheat, cod’s liver, persimmon and pomegranate. Those foods should come together with the foods that help the body to absorb the iron. It is vitamin C-rich foods, such as: seaweed, cherries, capsicum etc.
Another negative side effect of the pregnancy is the constipation. It can be connected with sedentary lifestyle and fluid-retention. It is very likely for the improper meals plan to cause the constipation too. In this case the pregnant women should eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, as they are rich in fiber, which helps the digestion.
During this period the doctor will check the baby’s position and the location of the placenta. Normally the placenta should be either near the walls of the uterus or the fundal wall.
The ultrasound scan can check how the baby’s organs develop and how he moves. It also checks the volume and the condition of the amniotic fluid. If there are any health complaints from the woman, additional tests can be performed.
The ultrasound scan during the week 24 is not planned. Usually women have the planned ultrasound during the 22nd week but if the woman failed to register at the doctor’s earlier in the pregnancy, then this will be her 2nd planned ultrasound scan (there are 3 of them during the pregnancy).
An additional ultrasound scan will be performed if any chromosomal abnormalities or medical conditions suspected. During this additional check-up the main focus will be on the development of the fetus. The data will be compared with the standards for this stage and with the previous ultrasound scan results.
Week 24 Tests During Pregnancy
To control the pregnant woman’s health, the doctor sends her to have tests. The routine tests include urine and blood tests. These tests can show if anything is wrong. The urine test checks for red and white blood cells, protein and other characteristics. It is very important to look at sugar in the blood. A high sugar level is a sign of gestational diabetes risk. The gestational diabetes is hard to diagnose in the early phase. That’s why it is better to control the sugar level through the whole pregnancy.
Pay maximum attention to these symptoms: thirst, frequent urination and itching. Generally they tell about the blood sugar increase. Additionally, those symptoms can show that the baby was fattened up too much. Both situations can complicate the delivery. That’s why in case of any of those symptoms the future mom needs to consult the doctor. All through the pregnancy the woman needs to be calm, spend more time having walks, listen to relaxing music and have lots of rest. In case of any worrying sign or pain the doctor should be consulted.
Pregnant With Twins At Week 24
At the beginning of the 6th month of this “special” pregnancy, the twins will weigh around 600 grams each. Their lungs are developing rapidly with the most of the air sacs and alveoli fully formed. The surfactant, the substance that helps the newborns breath individually, is being produced now.
The women pregnant with twins suffer worse and more often from anemia, gestosis, varicose veins and pyelonephritis. That’s a real test for the future mom.
If the babies are in non-optimal birthing position it can cause bleeding. If the babies cannot find the best position before the delivery, the mom will be uncomfortable to walk and breathe, the enlarged uterus will press the organs and cause the heartburn and the constipation. The only advice will be to eat in little portions frequently.
This “special” pregnancy may have a lot of complications but it is important to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Light nagging pain in the lower abdomen that persists even if lying down;
- Abnormal vaginal discharge;
- Painful urination and temperature rise;
- Rapid weight gain or swelling;
- Sensitivity to light together with a headache;
- If any of these symptoms appear the woman should consult her doctor immediately.