Although unprepared for the outside world, your tiny baby is technically viable. They might survive at twenty-four weeks of pregnancy but will likely spend weeks in the NICU with underdeveloped lungs, a low body weight, and minimal fat.
Life might often feel upside-down at 24 weeks of pregnancy and counting, thanks to many mid-pregnancy discomforts and emotions.
Despite pregnancy displaying its chaotic side, your little one is thriving, blissfully unaware of your experiences. Consider this a reflection of motherhood, where you prioritise your children’s happiness over yours.
Don’t go anywhere! This week, we dive deeper into the changes in your body, baby updates, next ultrasounds and fascinating pregnancy facts. Short on time? Catch up under our FAQS section.
Here’s what to expect this week.
At A Glance: Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy
- About the size of an ear of corn, your wee champion measures approximately 32 centimetres from crown to heel. They now weigh 600 to 700 grams and will continue to grow.
- As your baby grows, your bump becomes noticeable upon regular inspection. But are some bumps too big, and is it ever a problem?
- Pregnancy discomforts and pains come in hard and fast. Lookout for pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome and red, itchy hands and feet this week.
- Our top mamma-to-be tips include meal prepping (future you will be thrilled at your forward planning), Kegel exercises and improving your sleep.
Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy Overview
Your baby’s half-baked lungs undergo more critical development this week. Surfactant, a chemical that helps inflate your baby’s tiny air sacs, is emerging from the cells of the lungs. This chemical increases your baby’s ability to breathe when born.
While an important milestone, the pair of lungs attached to a 24-week-old fetus remains extremely premature. Any babies born now might survive, but they face a long road to recovery in the NICU ward.
Pregnancy symptoms might make you feel unwell, in pain and uncomfortable, but most are harmless for your health and can be managed.
However, pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes, can be serious and require early diagnosis and treatment. This week, you might undergo a glucose screening to monitor how your body processes sugar and detect diabetes if present.
Meanwhile, the brain, which only stops maturing at 25, is rapidly becoming more complex. At the minute, the brain’s recesses responsible for memory are actively evolving.
Baby Size And Development for Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy
At 24 weeks, your baby’s the same length as an ear of corn, measuring 32 centimetres and weighing between 600 and 700 grams. Now as long as a standard-size rule, they’re growing steadily and building fat and muscle.
These are the developments of your 24-week fetus.
- Just a slip of a thing, your baby’s fast-gaining weight and building muscle. Eventually, the lanugo, the fine fetal hair offering insulation and protection, will start to shed when there’s enough fat accumulated to support the body.
- Speaking of hair, your baby’s eyebrows, lashes and head hair are a striking shade of white. However, hair pigment sets in later, changing the colour.
- Your baby’s eyelids, which have been shut, are starting to separate. Once opened, your little one can see the light, red and close objects in the womb through unfocused eyes in a few weeks.
- Although still immature, the lungs are a step closer to functioning better.
- Your baby’s heart now ranges between 140 to 150 beats per minute.
- Others may feel pronounced movements by touching your stomach! Although a unique pattern will emerge later, movement at the moment might seem random.
- By 24 weeks, your baby’s auditory system is maturing. They can differentiate between mom and dad’s voices and recognise frequently played songs that might calm them later in life.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises fetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy
From the brain to the extremities, nearly every part of the body is affected by pregnancy. Except for those strong nails, lush skin and shiny hair, most pregnancy changes range from strange but tolerable to painful, embarrassing and exhausting.
Never a dull moment when you’re expecting; you might be experiencing a mix of old and new symptoms. Here’s a list of changes to your body that might seem alarming but are no cause for concern.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve in the wrists becomes irritated or compressed. If you don’t know, the median nerve is a major nerve that runs from the forearm into the wrist.
CTS might be aggravated by prolonged keyboard use, but it is generally caused by a combination of factors during pregnancy. These factors include:
- Fluid retention
- increased blood volume
- Pregnancy weight gain
All of the above are responsible for placing pressure on the nerves in the wrist, causing discomfort.
Carpal Tunnel syndrome symptoms during pregnancy include:
- Tingling in the hands and wrists.
Struggling? We’ve included how to alleviate wrist problems below.
2. Itchy, Red Palms
Itchy, bright red palms are another pregnancy surprise. Officially known as “Palmar erythema”, it’s a commonly experienced skin condition that may extend to the soles of the feet.
The exact cause of it isn’t known, but it may be linked to rising hormones and an increased blood volume.
While unpleasant, the redness and itchiness resolves on its own. Usually, it won’t require medical attention unless accompanied by other concerning symptoms.
3. Leg Cramps
You might also get intense leg cramps at night.
Typically, leg cramps shoot down your calf and can last for a few moments. Their cause is another unknown, but they’re attributed to factors like weight gain, blood circulation problems and nutritional deficiencies.
4. Weight Gain
Although weight gain varies and every pregnancy is unique, most average-sized women pick up four to six kilograms during this particular stage of pregnancy. If you’re struggling to reach your target weight or exceeding the expected weight gain range for your body type, contact your doctor.
Is your bump looking much bigger than a typical six-month pregnancy belly? Excess amniotic fluid might be causing swelling and should also be checked out.
5. Increasing Back Ache
Unfortunately, back pain may worsen as pregnancy advances because your growing uterus exerts strain on your back. It can really hurt, but fortunately, it won’t leave lasting damage unless you have pre-existing back conditions.
Treat your back to some TLC by
- Consulting your doctor
- Scheduling a therapeutic back massage
6. Trouble Sleeping
Unfortunately, most pregnancies include sleeping problems. Whether it’s your bladder, morning sickness, crazy dreams, or a struggle to get comfortable, wakeful nights may affect you at various stages.
If you’re struggling with full-blown insomnia, battling to fall asleep or staying asleep, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves – more on that later.
Week Twenty-Four Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
With approximately 16 weeks until your due date, you might love watching your bump grow and bonding with your unborn child, who’s becoming quite the kicker. However, you might long for an end to your symptoms.
Here are a few tips to help you through the chaos of pregnancy.
1. Meal Prepping
Meal prepping has revolutionised cooking for busy people who don’t want to cook in their limited free time or can’t.
Dedicate one or two days a week to prepare food for the week and freeze the lot, taking them out to defrost when needed. Meal planning can be a game-changer during pregnancy, especially when you’re sick, tired and don’t feel like cooking a meal from scratch.
Meal prepping in advance will ensure you eat well when the baby comes, and your attention shifts toward their survival, health and happiness. Another advantage is that the portions are pre-determined to support a balanced diet.
The impact of dehydration during pregnancy can’t be understated. Drinking enough fluids is vital for your well-being and your future child’s health and development.
If you ever forget to drink, there are apps to remind you.
3. Relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Wrist pain can be painful, highly uncomfortable and impossible to ignore.
The good news is that you can relieve your symptoms using the following methods:
Avoid Bending Your Wrist
Easier said than done, but the most effective way to feel better is to avoid activities where you bend your wrist, like writing, typing on a keyboard and gaming. If you struggle to rest your wrist naturally, a splint is designed to hold your wrist in a neutral position.
Immersing your wrist in cold water or wrapping a cold compress over it for ten minutes alleviates pain by reducing swelling in the wrist. You can repeat this process later as needed.
Yoga is excellent for strengthening your body and preparing it for birth. Additionally, it might also provide support to your sore wrists as it includes techniques that soothe wrist pain and positions that increase grip strength.
4. Kegel Exercises
These exercises will strengthen your pelvic floor and help you through your most painful contractions when you’re giving birth. Start practising Kegel exercises now so that you’re ready around your due date. Interestingly these exercises help with urinary incontinence, something you might experience near the end of your pregnancy or as a new mum.
5. Improve Your Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is important but sometimes hard to achieve when pregnant. Body aches, pregnancy symptoms, and overthinking lead to sleepless nights – here’s how to change that.
Stick to Rules and Routine
- Limit your screen time
- Have a ‘no electronics rule’ for the bedroom
- Calm your mind and meditate
- Keep your room at a cool temperature
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Set your alarm for the same time every morning
Don’t Toss and Turn
Don’t force yourself to sleep when you’re wide awake. Instead of tossing and turning for hours, get out of bed and do something that distracts you from your sleeplessness.
Change Sleeping Positions
Sleeping on your left side can improve your circulation and attempts at sleep. If you’re not used to sleeping on that side and know that you move around while unconscious, use a full-sized pregnancy pillow to stop you from turning over.
Do I Need an Ultrasound for Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy?
Your third-trimester ultrasound happens in the next couple of weeks. Is there anything you should be doing in the meantime? Pregnant mothers can stay on top of their health with a series of screens and tests, like glucose screening, which monitors blood sugars for gestational diabetes.
FAQ Section: Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy
All your pregnancy questions about week 24 answered.
1. How Big Is My Baby?
Around the size of an ear of corn, measuring approximately 32 centimetres.
2. How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
600 to 700 grams, not long until they’re one kilogram!
3. What Is My Baby Doing This Week?
Kicking you, that’s what! Their kicks might be strong enough to nudge their other parent if they don’t have stage fright, that is! And also listening to your voice, music, barking dogs, etc.
4. What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
The lungs are growing branches and generating cells that produce surfactant, a chemical that helps your baby breathe. Gradually, muscles and fat stores are building up, but your baby doesn’t yet have enough chubby fat rolls.
5. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Symptoms and Body Changes at Week Twenty-Four?
Got tingling hands and aching wrists? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects ALOT of pregnant women. What about red, itchy hands? This is another unpleasant pregnancy byproduct that lasts the length of the pregnancy.
6. What Are Some Good Week 24 Pregnancy Tips and Tricks?
Meal prepping can be a huge time-saver for when you’re heavily pregnant or exhausted and post-partum.
Fun Facts for Pregnancy Week Twenty-Four
- Sweden has the best maternity leave policies in the world, with 480 days given to parents or 240 per person after having a baby. Father figures get 90 days immediately to spend with their kid. In addition, working parents receive 80 per cent of their salary while they’re away. Is anyone up for moving to Sweden?
Week Twenty-Four of Pregnancy Checklist
- Schedule your glucose test
- Start meal planning to make life easier
- Practice sleep hygiene for good rest
- Stay on the couch – our week 25 guide is coming!