By the time you are 24 weeks pregnant, you are already closing in on your second trimester and is about to begin on your third trimester of pregnancy. At this stage, it is common for some expecting mothers to experience what is called as Braxton Hicks contraction. Named after a British gynecologist, John Braxton Hicks, this phenomenon is described as irregular, infrequent and painless contraction of the womb. This contraction can last from 30 seconds to two minutes which occur every 10 to 20 minutes. This occurs because of the tightening of the uterus from time to time. This is the body’s way to prepare for childbirth. There are a lot of explanations regarding this practiced contraction, but so far nothing is conclusive. What are definite are the causes or triggers connected with Braxton Hicks contractions. Some of them are as follows: dehydration, full bladder, intercourse, when the baby is active or awake and when someone touches your belly.
At this time, your belly is probably showing quite a bit more. The uterus by this time has risen to about two inches above your belly button. Wearing looser or maternity clothes are advisable at this stage of the pregnancy. A bigger belly can cause your skin to stretch especially around the abdomen and the breast. Stretch marks may appear around this time. These marks are present around the abdomen, hips and breasts. This is common to about 90% of pregnant women. The skin around these areas and all over your body might feel a bit itchy and dry. You may also experience red, itchy palms that may spread to the soles of your feet. This may be a normal pregnancy symptom, but make sure to check with your doctor to avoid future complications.
Since your uterus is constantly expanding to accommodate your growing baby, the ligaments supporting your uterus may continue to stretch and this can cause some pain. This can cause lower abdominal achiness, which is normal, but if coupled by fever, chills or bleeding is quite serious and you may need to seek medical attention.
Aside from itchy and dry skin, a pregnant woman of 24 weeks may also feel occasional headaches. Be reminded, however that if the headaches lasts longer, and accompanied by nausea or vision changes, you may have migraines. Do check with your doctor about this.
Aside from what is stated above another common symptom of 24 weeks pregnant women is the obvious swelling of the ankles and the feet. These swelling causes uncomfortably numb ankles and fingers: more commonly known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The heaviness of the body and the additional weight one carries during pregnancy can put pressure on the wrist, hands and ankles, causing numbness or that tingling sensation in the hands, fingers and ankles. All you need to do is shake that off and do frequent hand stretching exercises.
24 weeks pregnant women should also undergo a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes which tends to occur to almost 2-5% of pregnant women. Hormonal changes can make a pregnant woman’s cells less responsive to insulin. For most moms to be this is not an issue. When more insulin is needed all the body needs to do is instruct the pancreas to secrete more of it. However, if the pancreas cannot cope up with the increase level of insulin in the body, the glucose level rises causing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes doesn’t remain after the baby is born; however, a pregnant woman who develops it at pregnancy is at risk of getting it again during future pregnancies and has a higher chance of developing diabetes later in life.
What your baby should be at
As you are 24 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs more than a pound and a half and is more or less eight and a half inches long. Using a baby camera you’d be able to see the features of your baby by now and be able to tell who your baby will look like. Your baby should also start growing hair at this stage. He or she will also develop a definite and regular sleeping and waking pattern. What you won’t see is the baby’s skin. Not because they don’t have any, but what they have is a very tender, very transparent and wrinkled one because of lack of fat deposits in your baby’s body. At 24 weeks, there is no body fat present in the body thus you can see through all the organs, bones and blood vessels. This would not be long, however, because at this stage of pregnancy, a baby gains around three ounces each week.
During this stage of your baby’s growth in the womb, they already develop their sense of hearing. All kinds of sounds can be heard by your baby in the womb: your breathing, the gastric gurgles of your stomach as well as your voice and your husband’s. Loud noises such as barking dogs, honking horns and fire trucks can be heard by your baby as well.
The baby’s eyes should start moving and engaging in rapid eye movements at this stage. Rapid eye movements are indications that your baby is dreaming. However, your baby’s eyes are still completely shut and are located close together on the front of the face with the eyelids completely visible. The ears should have moved and is now in its final position on the side of your baby’s head. By this time he would have moved to the same place he would be once he is born. Hand and feet movement is present and your baby starts to suck on his thumb. Since the baby is growing, the space becomes limited and your baby’s movement would be minimal.
At this stage, your baby begins to practice breathing by inhaling the amniotic fluid around him into his developing lungs. His taste buds are beginning to form and the baby may be observed to show distaste if the mom drinks something strange or bitter. If viable, a baby born at this stage may well be able to survive with the help of modern apparatuses and incubator.