At 24 weeks pregnant the top of your uterus reaches just above your navel. Your baby's movements are obvious at this point in your pregnancy.
You may be starting to gain quite a bit of weight. Keep concentrating on healthy foods and low impact exercising. The average weight gain based completely on baby weight and extra fluids should be anywhere from 20-35 pounds. Excessive weight gain or too little weight gain can be signals of problems, which should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare provider.
You may be noticing faint stretch marks on your abdomen, hips and breasts. Wear a supportive bra to help prevent or minimize them on your breasts. Almost 90 per cent of women get stretch marks which eventually fade after giving birth.
You may be given the glucose screening test by your doctor this week. The glucose screening is an important prenatal test. It is usually done sometime during your pregnancy between week 24 and week 28. This prenatal test checks for gestational diabetes which is a temporary type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause your newborn to be born with low blood sugar and may also increase the chances needing a cesarean section as it can lead to the hormonal growth of unusually large babies (macrosomia).
Your baby is approximately 1 1/4 pounds and is 8"-10" in length. This is an active time, with lots of movement going on.
With a handheld Fetal Doppler, your healthcare provider will be able to pick up the heartbeat of your baby. This common, painless test uses sound waves to listen to the blood going through your baby's heart, allowing you to listen to the heartbeat. It is without a doubt, one of the sweetest sounds of pregnancy. Your baby's heartbeat will be very fast -- it is usually twice the average rate of an adult, varying between 110 bpm and 170 bpm (beats per minute).
If you have a high risk pregnancy, you may be prescribed a Fetal Doppler to use at home. They are only available via prescription and are monitored by the FDA.
Your baby's brain is really beginning to mature, his lungs are forming and will be producing surfactant in the near future. Surfactant keeps the air sacs in our lungs from collapsing and from sticking together upon exhalation, thus allowing us to breathe properly.
Your baby is almost completely formed, and is beginning to deposit fat on his or her body. Newborns have a difficult time regulating body temperature, the fat helps to retain heat.
Babies born at this point have some chances of survival with very special care. They will be in the Intensive Care Unit, usually until their due date. A major problem with premature babies is lung development. If preterm labor is detected early enough a steroid shot can sometimes be given to enhance lung development.
It is important to recognize the signs of premature labor, which is more common in the summer months but can happen during any season. Premature labor can be caused by dehydration in some women, so keep yourself hydrated with water. Call your doctor if you have any of the following:
Contractions or cramps, more than 5 in one hour
Bright red blood from your vagina
Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, a sign of preeclampsia
Pain during urination, possible urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection
Sharp or prolonged pain in your stomach (preeclampsia signs)
Acute or continuous vomiting (preeclampsia signs)
Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina
Low, dull backache
Intense pelvic pressure
Remember, if you have any of the above signs call your doctor immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
More on preterm labor