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Everything you need to know about conception and pregnancy, clinically validated and written by experts.


illustration of developing human baby at 24 weeks

24 weeks pregnant

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 lungs expand and operate once she reaches the air. Surfactant exists to help keep the lungs from sticking together when they expand. Baby’s surfactant production will probably speed up a bit around week 30, and by week 32, she will probably have produced enough not to need any extra from your healthcare provider when she is born.

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 about 1.5 lbs (680 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. 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. Constipation, headaches, and vision changes or dry eyes may also prove to be issues. You should take a glucose challenge test (GCT) in the next couple of weeks to rule out gestational diabetes.


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Sources
  • 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.
  • "Fetal Growth Chart." BabyYourBaby. Utah Department of Health, n.d. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Glucose challenge test." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 4/17/2013. Web.
  • 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.