Week 24 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 24

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

You are six months along in your pregnancy. At 24 weeks, your baby can hear and react to sounds. This week it might 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). A 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).

At 24 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the length of a newborn onesie
Verywell / Bailey Mariner 

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, as well as the cells that make surfactant, 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, the lungs are still immature. 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. They began to separate during week 20. By 24 weeks, the eyelids have separated, and are beginning 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.

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Your Common Symptoms This Week

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

You might be wondering about weight gain, skin changes, and heartburn this week.

Weight Gain

By 24 weeks, you might 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.

Every pregnancy and everyone's body is different. How much your provider recommends that you gain will also depend on your pre-pregnancy weight. If you have questions or concerns about your weight, let your provider know.

Skin Changes

During the second trimester, some pregnant people notice a dark line on their belly from the pubic bone to the belly button or above the belly button. This line is called linea nigra, and it's common and not at all dangerous. The darkening of the skin is from hormone changes.

Linea nigra usually fades within a few weeks to a few months after birth, though it can sometimes linger for 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 space in your abdomen. Digestion also slows during pregnancy, meaning food stays in your stomach longer. If the stomach acid used to digest food backs up your esophagus, it can cause 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.

  • Avoid lying down or bending over for at least one hour after meals
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, acidic, and fatty foods
  • Don't go to bed right after eating
  • Eat five or six small meals throughout the day, as opposed to three large ones
  • Take your time eating and chew your food well

Discuss your symptoms with your provider. Ask them about safe antacids or medications that could help manage your symptoms as well as alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

Kegel Exercises

If you haven't already started Kegel exercises, now is a good time. Kegels strengthen and tone the muscles in your pelvic floor around your vagina and throughout the perineal area.

Kegels can also:

  • 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.
  • Promote faster healing after childbirth.
  • Reduce the need for an episiotomy, and lower your chances of a tear.

To locate the muscles you want to target when you do Kegels, try to squeeze the muscles around your urethra and vagina. These are the muscles that stop the flow of urine while you pee (don’t make a habit of stopping urine this way—just briefly do so to pinpoint the correct muscles for Kegels).

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. It can help to visualize that you are slowly picking up and putting down a small object (like a jelly bean) with your vagina. 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 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 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. Your provider might 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 should match the number of weeks pregnant you are (within a centimeter or two). For example at 24 weeks, your fundal height will likely be around 24 centimeters.

Glucose Screening Test

Health experts recommend that all pregnant people are screened 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—perhaps even at their first prenatal visit.

For people who aren't high-risk, 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. 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 that you have gestational diabetes. It means that you will need to have another test. If you have two or more abnormal results on the next test (3-hour glucose tolerance test), your provider will diagnose you with 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 provider twice a month. By week 36, you’ll be seeing them weekly.

Special Considerations

It is natural to want to peek inside your belly to catch a glimpse of your baby, just beware of businesses that offer non-medical ultrasounds and keepsake photographs. It's best to get your ultrasounds and pictures from your provider.

Keepsake Ultrasounds

Resist the temptation to get a keepsake 3D or 4D ultrasound at a pop-up shop. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ultrasounds should only be performed at the request of a health care 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 might 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

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

No studies have examined the effects of frequent or sustained use of ultrasound on a growing fetus. Additionally, ultrasounds that are administered by untrained technicians might reveal or misinterpret a complication or abnormality.

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 by starting or continuing Kegel exercises. Only 16 more weeks to go!

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