Week 24 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 24

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

You are six months along. At 24 weeks pregnant, your baby can hear and react to sounds. It may also be time for your next prenatal visit and a glucose screening test.

24 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 6 months

Which Trimester? Second trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 16 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 24 Weeks

At 24 weeks, a baby is about 8 1/4 inches (21.3 centimeters) from the top of the head to the bottom of the buttocks (known as the crown-rump length), and the baby's height is approximately 12 inches or 1 foot (30.4 centimeters) from the top of the head to the heel (crown-heel length). This week, a baby typically weighs 24 ounces or 1 1/2 pounds (665 grams).

Gaining Weight

Your baby is in rapid-growth mode, putting on about 3 to 6 ounces each week. Part of that weight gain is coming from the addition of fat. This fat does more than smooth out wrinkles. It also helps the baby retain body heat and regulate temperature.

Lungs

The branches of the baby’s lungs are forming, and so are the cells that make surfactant. Surfactant is a natural substance that lines the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) in the lungs to make breathing possible. While a small amount of surfactant is now present in the lungs, the lungs are still immature. So, babies born this early have a hard time breathing.

Ears

Your baby’s inner ear—which controls hearing and balance—is continuing to develop. By 24 weeks, your baby may begin responding to sounds.

Eyelids

The eyelids closed and sealed together around week 11. Then they began to separate during week 20. Now, at 24 weeks, the eyelids have separated, and they begin to take their final shape.

Survival Outside the Womb

Babies born at 24 weeks can survive outside the uterus, but they are extremely premature. They have difficulty breathing, need advanced medical care, and often have many health challenges. At 24 weeks, 42% to 59% of babies survive to go home with their families.

Explore a few of your baby's week 24 milestones in this interactive experience.

Your Common Symptoms This Week

Some of the typical second-trimester discomforts you may be experiencing include:

This week, you may also be wondering about weight gain, skin changes, and heartburn.

Weight Gain

By 24 weeks, you may have put on about 15 pounds. The recommended guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy suggest an increase of approximately 1 to 5 pounds during the first trimester, and around 1 pound per week after that.

Of course, every pregnancy and every body is different. How much your provider recommends that you gain will also depend on your weight before pregnancy. If you have any questions or concerns about your weight, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Skin Changes

During the second trimester, some expecting moms notice a dark line on their belly from the pubic bone to the belly button or above the belly button. It’s called linea nigra. It's common and not dangerous or concerning.

The darkening of the skin is from hormone changes. Linea nigra often fades within a few weeks to a few months after birth, though it can sometimes linger a bit longer.

Heartburn 

Indigestion, reflux, and heartburn are common in the second trimester and throughout your third trimester. Your growing uterus is pressing upward on your stomach, and it is taking up more and more space in your abdomen. Plus, digestion slows down during pregnancy. As a result, food stays in your stomach longer and can get pushed back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Self-Care Tips

Eating well, taking your prenatal vitamins, staying hydrated, getting a little exercise, and spending time doing things you enjoy with people you care about are great ways to stay physically and mentally healthy during pregnancy.

This week, you may be looking for ways to relieve heartburn and indigestion. You may also want to consider starting pelvic floor exercises if you haven't already.

Dealing With Heartburn

Heartburn, indigestion, and reflux are uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can try to find relief.

  • Eat five or six small meals throughout the day, as opposed to three large ones.
  • Take your time while you eat and chew your food well.
  • Avoid lying down or bending over after meals for about three hours.
  • Don't go to bed right after eating.
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, and fatty foods.
  • Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask about safe antacids or medications.
  • Ask your doctor about alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

Kegel Exercises

If you haven't already started Kegel exercises, think about it. Kegels strengthen and tone the muscles in your pelvic floor around your vagina and throughout the perineal area. This exercise can help:

  • Improve your bladder control and prevent urine from leaking in the last few months of pregnancy and the postpartum period.
  • Increase circulation to the perineum to treat and prevent hemorrhoids.
  • Prepare the muscles of your perineum for labor and delivery, which can make childbirth easier.
  • Reduce the need for an episiotomy, and lower your chances of a tear.
  • Promote faster healing after childbirth.

To locate the muscles you want to target, try to squeeze the muscles around your urethra and vagina. These are the muscles that stop the flow of urine while you pee. Just don’t make a habit of stopping your urine this way. It's simply one method of pinpointing the correct muscles.

Once you’ve found the muscles, you're ready to exercise. Start slowly by trying to squeeze for three to five seconds, relax, and repeat 10 to 20 times at least three times daily. You can work your way up to holding for 10 seconds and repeating more times per session.

Your Week 24 Checklist

Advice for Partners

Now is a great time to start thinking ahead to when the baby arrives and how you and your partner will adjust those first few days and weeks at home with your newborn.

  • Will you be home to help care for your partner and new baby for more than a few days?
  • Will another family member be staying with you (or nearby) to offer assistance?

If not, you may want to consider looking into hiring a postpartum doula whose job is to assist families with their new babies. This type of doula is there to “mother the mother” and help with infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.

The price of postpartum doula services varies, but in general, the costs can range anywhere from $15 to $50 an hour, with some offering discounts when you book and pay in advance. These services are not covered by insurance.

At Your Doctor’s Office

You may have your routine prenatal visit this week. Your doctor or midwife will:

Belly Growth

Your provider may feel for the top of your uterus called the fundus. It's now a little above your belly button. The doctor may also measure the fundal height or distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. This measurement helps to estimate the size of the uterus and the baby's growth.

Fundal height is measured in centimeters and often matches the number of weeks pregnant (within a centimeter or two). So, at 24 weeks, your fundal height will likely be around 24 centimeters.

Glucose Screening Test

Health experts recommend screening all pregnant women for gestational diabetes or high blood sugar during pregnancy.

Screening for gestational diabetes includes a detailed medical and family history, blood work, and looking at the risk factors. If someone has a higher risk for gestational diabetes, the screening process will begin earlier in pregnancy, even at the first prenatal visit. For everyone else, the screening for gestational diabetes takes place between 24 and 28 weeks.

While there’s more than one testing option, you will likely have a 1-hour glucose challenge screening. For this version, you do not need to fast. You’ll simply drink a sweet, syrupy glucose solution. Then, an hour later, you will have your blood drawn to test your glucose level.

What Experts Say

“You may experience nausea, dizziness, and headache during the test due to your rapid intake of sugar. These symptoms generally resolve within an hour, however.”

—Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

Remember, this is a screening test. If the results show a high glucose level, it does not mean you have gestational diabetes. However, it does mean you will have to have another test. If you have two or more abnormal results on the next test (3-hour glucose tolerance test), the doctor will diagnose gestational diabetes.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Your next routine prenatal visit will likely be at 28 weeks—your third trimester. Starting at that point, you’ll likely begin to see your healthcare provider twice a month. Come week 36, you’ll see your healthcare provider every week.

Special Considerations

It is natural to want to peek inside your belly to catch a glimpse of your baby. But, beware of businesses that offer non-medical ultrasounds and keepsake photographs. It's always best to get your ultrasounds and pictures from your doctor or other health professional.

Keepsake Ultrasounds

If you're tempted to get a keepsake 3D or 4D ultrasound at a pop-up shop, reconsider. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health experts, ultrasounds should only be performed at the request of a healthcare provider and by a trained professional, such as a sonographer, radiologist, or obstetrician.

It’s true that ultrasound technology is widely considered safe. However, commercial businesses may be using machines that aren’t routinely checked for safety.

What Experts Say

“It’s actually very rare to see a picture that looks like the ones in the advertisements. Most of the time, the baby’s face is pressed against your uterus or something else, making it very difficult to make out specific features.”

—Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

Also, a scan performed in a medical setting by a professional usually takes about 15 minutes. Yet, a commercial ultrasound can take an hour or more to get a "keepsake-able" image of your baby.

There are no studies that have examined the effects of frequent or sustained use of ultrasound on a growing fetus. Moreover, ultrasounds administered by untrained technicians might reveal a complication or abnormality that’s misinterpreted.

A Word From Verywell

Your baby is making big strides in development. Besides growing and gaining weight, your baby's body systems are maturing and preparing for birth. You can help prepare your body for birth, too, by starting or continuing Kegel exercises. Only 16 more weeks to go!

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