illustration of developing human baby at 24 weeks

24 weeks pregnant

For information about weeks 24 to 27 of a twin or multiple pregnancy, tap here.

Baby’s lungs are producing the substance that will make them inflate when she has to breathe on her own, and she’s over a foot tall. With Baby growing so big, you’re going to start noticing more skin problems in your own body, like an itchy belly, and swelling in your feet. You may not be able to shake these symptoms at least until delivery, but there are ways to manage them.

How’s Baby?

Baby is starting to develop taste buds, which means that before too long, she will be able to taste some of the stronger flavors of the things you eat through the amniotic fluid she still swallows regularly. And according to a 2011 study, this could impact her food preferences later in life, so make sure to eat your vegetables - it might mean you'll have an easier time convincing your toddler to do the same in a few years.

Baby’s lungs are developing significantly now from all of her practice breathing, and she is making cells that will produce surfactant, a material that will help her breathe and get the oxygen she needs once she's born. Surfactant is a liquid that helps keep the tiny airsacs in the lungs - the alveoli - from sticking together when a baby exhales, and Baby’s surfactant production will speed up in weeks to come.

She also gained about a quarter of a pound last week (110 g) in bones, muscle, and fat, so she is finally beginning to fill out into a real baby-shape. And even though Baby’s eyebrows, lashes, and hair are coming in, they still lack pigment and appear white. Her skin is beginning to glow a bit pinker, due to the appearance of capillaries. Her ears and fingernails are also complete by now. By the end of this week, Baby is probably about 13 inches long (33 cm), the size of an eggplant, and weighs just under 1.5 lbs (600 g).

How’s mom?

Skin trouble? Between the linea nigra, stretch marks, and an itchy belly, your skin might be driving you nuts this week. Topical creams exist that could help reduce the itchiness, as can avoiding baths and showers that are too hot, which can dry out your skin, and using unscented, mild lotions and soaps. Constipation or dry eyes may also prove to be issues right now. And sometime in the next couple of weeks, you should take a glucose challenge test (GCT) in the next couple of weeks to rule out gestational diabetes.

Your ankles and fingers might be swollen as well, due in part to fluid retention, and the pressure of your growing uterus on your veins. For relief, try elevating your feet or icing the swollen areas to help alleviate some of the pain. Headaches and vision changes are also not uncommon at this time. Sometimes these symptoms - swelling, headaches, and vision changes - prove to be no problem, but they can also be signs of preeclampsia, which can be serious for both mom and baby. So if you experience any of these issues, be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away. 


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Sources
  • Roger W. Harms, M.D. "What causes ankle swelling during pregnancy - and what can I do about it?" Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 8/5/2014. Web.
  • P Nkadi, T A Merritt, D M Pillers. "An Overview of Pulmonary Surfactant in the Neonate: Genetics, Metabolism, and the Role of Surfactant in Health and Disease." Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. 97(2): 95-101. Web. 6/9/2015.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Fetal development: The second trimester." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 7/11/2014. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Glucose challenge test." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 4/17/2013. Web.
  • "Fetal Growth Chart." BabyYourBaby. Utah Department of Health, n.d. Web.
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