Guide to Being 24 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy Image Gallery This might be the most comfortable you feel until after the baby arrives. See more pregnancy pictures.
© iStockphoto.com/arekmalang

You're big, you're burping and you're probably a bit tired if the kicking is keeping you up at night. Yes, by the time you hit 24 weeks, the novelty might be wearing off.

Still, at 24 weeks, you're nearing the home stretch, and believe it or not, this may be the most comfortable you feel until after your love bug arrives. So, while you may be a bit, well, unwieldy, you're hopefully still enjoying what for many is a second-trimester respite.

Here is all you need to know about being 24 weeks pregnant, from your body and mind to what you might want to put on this week's to-do list.

First, while you're still technically in the "easy" trimester (which may not be easy at all), you're almost certainly not symptom-free.

What You Might Be Feeling

Heartburn, hemorrhoids, perhaps the occasional headache … it ain't pretty, but it's probably manageable.

While you most definitely feel very pregnant, this week is probably much of the same in terms of symptoms, which may include:

  • All manner of indigestion (heartburn, gas, constipation, bloating, etc.)
  • Continuing skin and hair changes
  • Occasional headaches and/or dizziness
  • Round ligament pain
  • Leg cramping
  • Dry eyes
  • Swollen feet and ankles

It's those hormones, for the most part, keeping you on your toes (which might be swollen, too) with the usual pregnancy discomfort. You may also be experiencing some new or more recent sensations, such as itchy and red palms and soles, pregnancy-related carpel tunnel syndrome (an achiness, numbness and/or tingling in your hands and wrists), and significant back pain.

And, one of the best symptoms, unless, perhaps, it's clustered around 2 a.m.: increasing activity in your womb, which you might even be able to see now if the little one is stretching out.

Speaking of stretching out, that baby is getting so big …

What's Going On In Your Body

While you're taking in fresh sea air, your baby's lungs are developing.
While you're taking in fresh sea air, your baby's lungs are developing.
© iStockphoto.com/sborisov

Size: About 8.5 inches (head to rump). Weight: About 1.5 pounds. Lungs: Getting there.

You're closer than ever to official motherhood, and, luckily, that tiny being in your body is looking positively human these days.

The face is formed, and hair is growing in all the right places (she's got eyelashes, eyebrows and probably something on top). Baby fat is starting to accumulate, so the skin is slightly less bunched-up, although it's still pretty translucent.

Your baby can hear and has a sense of balance, because the ear is fully functional -- so if you haven't started talking to him or her yet, now is the perfect time. Taste buds are tasting, and that increased activity you feel is helping to spurn increased muscle and bone growth.

One of the biggest developments this week, though, is in the lungs, which are preparing at a rapid pace for the first breath of air. The lungs this week are working especially on the system that produces a substance called surfactant, which keeps lungs from collapsing when we exhale. At this point in lung development, if your baby were born there's a possibility he or she could survive with the highest level of medical care.

But, of course, we don't want that, and this -- the risks and signs of preterm labor -- is one of the things your partner may want to be aware of in order to back you up.

What Your Partner Should Know

There are lots of things an involved partner should know: How mom-to-be is feeling, the route to the hospital, how to give a massage …

One of the most important issues right now is one you probably didn't think much about before: preterm labor. Especially if you're in a high-risk group, it's important to know the signs of early labor since there are ways to stop it -- especially if you get immediate medical help. The thing is, the pregnant lady can sometimes be a bit distracted, and with all the crazy stuff going on inside her, she may not notice if things get just a little bit crazier.

So partners should also be versed in preterm labor signs as a back-up. Be wary if your lady tells you she's experiencing:

  • Contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic cramping (like a period)
  • Decreased fetal activity
  • Flulike symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, etc.)

If you're aware of any of these symptoms, call your doctor or get to the hospital as soon as possible.

For further information on preterm labor, see the Mayo Clinic's Web site on preterm labor.

Now, on to some far more pleasant bits of info…

Some Things to Consider

Start thinking about your favorite names now.
Start thinking about your favorite names now.
©iStockphoto.com/sborisov

You're in month six, and things are heating up. A few issues to consider (and hopefully act on) include:

  • Nesting -- If you haven't yet, you'll probably want to get going on preparing your home for the new arrival. In addition to the obvious things, like a crib and a comfy chair for feedings, consider safety issues. (Are your smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors in prime condition?)
  • The name -- It can be a little bit weird if you don't decide on a name before delivery, since "Baby" isn't the best way to fill out a birth certificate. If you're having trouble coming up with something you like, or agreeing on it, check out a book of names, go through the characters in your favorite movies or books, and ask around -- your friends probably have a few suggestions.
  • Classes -- No more procrastinating. If you plan to take a birthing class, sign up for one now. Most of them run for at least six weeks, and you never know if your little one will arrive a little early. Check with your OB or hospital for options.

And finally, some issues you do not need to jump on.

Don't Worry If …

Take time this week to relax, put your feet up and think about the baby that's fast approaching!
Take time this week to relax, put your feet up and think about the baby that's fast approaching!
© iStockphoto.com/sborisov

You've got plenty to think about this week. You may even have the hardships of labor on your mind. So it's nice that plenty of the things that may be troubling you are, most likely, not worth stressing over. For instance:

  • You suddenly have carpel tunnel syndrome -- If this condition is pregnancy related, it will go away after you give birth.
  • You now have an outie -- If your innie belly button has popped out, and it probably has by now, fear not, it will almost definitely return to its previous state once your uterus deflates, although it might be a little looser than before.
  • Your doctor doesn't do a pelvic exam at each visit -- At this point, most doctors don't feel the need to check out your insides at each appointment unless there's a problem. It doesn't mean you're not getting top-of-the-line care. If you're worried about something -- anything --- just speak up. You can probably have the exam if you want it.

In all, week 24 is most likely a smooth transition from the relative lull of trimester two to the "holy crap I'm gonna be a mom and I don't remember what my feet look like" sensations of trimester three, so take the opportunity to sit back, relax and consider colors for the nursery. Your partner can do the painting while you put your feet up -- fumes, you know.

For more information on pregnancy, parenting and related topics look over the links on the next page.

Related Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • "24th Week of Pregnancy." Similac. (May 24, 2011)http://similac.com/pregnancy/24-weeks-pregnant-baby-growth-development
  • "Pregnancy Calendar: Week 24." KidsHealth. (May 24, 2011)http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week24.html
  • "Pregnancy week by week: Fetal development." Mayo Clinic. (May 24, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00113/NSECTIONGROUP=2
  • "Pregnancy week by week: Preterm labor." Mayo Clinic. (May 26, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/preterm-labor/PR00118
  • "Week 24 of Pregnancy. What To Expect." (May 24, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-24.aspx
  • "Your Pregnancy: 24 Weeks. BabyCenter." (May 24, 2011)http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-24-weeks_1113.bc
  • "Your Pregnancy: Week 24." Parents Connect. (May 24, 2011)http://www.parentsconnect.com/articles/24_weeks_pregnant.html