Women's  Healthcare Topics is a website about pregnancy and your newborn baby.

Pregnancy: Week 24

Mom's Pregnancy Changes and Symptoms

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 24th week of pregnancy.

Some women are shocked and surprised when random people (not just their friends and family members) start to rub their pregnant bellies as they start to show. In some cultures, rubbing a pregnant woman's bump is actually a sign of good luck.

However, not all women are as keen on random strangers touching them. If it bothers you that strangers want to touch your bump, you can always fib and tell people that you're ticklish, or you could head them off and lovingly pat your own belly.

You can also keep your hand in front of your belly, and this may prevent some people from reaching out to touch you uninvited.

The fetal movements that you're feeling now are probably stronger than ever. Gradually, over time, your baby's kicks and jabs will start to seem more rhythmic and slower. This is definitely a normal experience.

At first, when you feel your baby's movements, they may seem random, even though your baby continues to move on a regular basis. If you start paying attention to when your baby moves, you will notice patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness. Believe it or not, but babies do sleep in the womb.

Enjoy all of your baby's gymnastics while they last. Once your baby is born, you might be surprised that you miss feeling him or her move around your belly.

Many pregnant women are enjoying their second trimester immensely. Your pregnancy symptoms are generally mild, not yet too painful or exhausting. (It's only in the third trimester that the most uncomfortable symptoms arrive.)

If you start noticing that you have more vaginal discharge than before, don't be alarmed. A majority of pregnant women have higher levels of discharge during their pregnancy, as a result of the increased blood flow to your genitals and all the pregnancy hormones surging in your body.

Called "leukorrhea," vaginal discharge during pregnancy should be clear or white in color, and it typically is odorless. You'll notice even more of this discharge in your third trimester and in the weeks approaching your labor and delivery.

Forgetfulness is an annoying pregnancy symptom that may strike. Stress, fatigue, and hormonal changes can contribute to you becoming more forgetful. To cope with being more forgetful when pregnant, make sure that you keep track of all your meetings, appointments, and tasks. Use a planner, set alarms on your cell phone, or keep a small notebook with you at all times.

Congestion is a common pregnancy symptom. You may find that your nose is stuffy or runny, and you have no signs of having allergies or a viral infection. This condition is called "rhinitis" of pregnancy, and it's caused by the higher levels of hormones in your body swelling the mucous membranes lining your nose. To help you cope in pregnancy, sleep with your head propped up at night. It may also help to take a steamy shower or bath. Using a humidifier or vaporizer at night might also give you some relief from your congestion.

An increase in appetite is one of the most pleasant pregnancy symptoms that you might notice. It's not uncommon for expectant mothers to be hungry for food. You might struggle with food cravings, too. And while it's OK to give into food cravings, just make sure that you continue to eat healthy and make nutritious food choices. You don't need to devour everything that is available in your fridge.

Weight Gain

If you're average-size, your weight gain at 24 weeks pregnant is between 16 and 17 pounds. If you were underweight when you started out you will want to gain a few pounds more and if you were overweight or obese, you'll need to gain a few less pounds.


Pregnancy Health Section

Video: Week 24
Video: Your Pregnancy Week 24

Enjoy Your Bundle of Joy Now

What's wonderful about pregnancy is that you have your baby all to yourself. After you give birth, you'll be shocked at how many relatives, friends, and other peers decide to stop by your house and visit. Some new mothers lament the loss of any private time they have with baby. Your husband or partner may occasionally get to feel your baby's kicks and jabs when he places his hand on your belly. But by and large, pregnancy is the one time that you can truly enjoy your little bundle of joy alone.



Your Baby Can Hear Your Voice!

At this point of your pregnancy, your baby's inner ear organs have matured enough that he or she can hear the sound of your voice. To bond with your baby while in the womb, you may consider reading a book or even a magazine with your baby. Your little bundle of joy will enjoy hearing the soothing sound of his mama's voice. Other pregnant women play classic music or soothing sounds to their baby in utero. Your baby's ears are developed enjoy that he or she can hear the outside world. Don't be surprised if your child jumps or kicks the wrong way when he hears a loud noise.

Time to Choose Your Baby's Name!

Learn about your pregnancy and baby's development during week 24 of pregnancy.

Some parents find that this is a great time in pregnancy to start looking and deciding on baby names. There are hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of baby names out there. Not just American baby names, but you can find a neat name in almost every culture and language. If you think that picking a baby name is simple, think again. Your husband may come up with one name, and you'll find twenty more that you like. One name that you particularly like may be a name that you hate in a month.

Remember that your child's name is a very personable and an identifying mark on his personality and identity. When selecting a name, try to find a name that has a special meaning or significance to you and your family. If you find the perfect name, remember how you came about it, since it will become a lovely story to tell your child down the road.

If you change your baby's name in the delivery room, just go with the flow. This scenario happens a lot more than you would think. Some parents have a baby name picked out ahead of time, and then the second that their baby is born, they get a good look at their child's face and the parents change their mind about the pre-selected name.

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Growth and Development of Baby

At 24 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs over a pound (around 1.3 pounds on average) and he or she may be around 11.8 inches long!

Your baby has reached a milestone this week. If your baby was born premature this week, he or she would be considered "viable" and have a 40 percent survival rate in neonatal intensive care.

Your baby's lungs continue to mature and improve their function. They will not be ready for life in the outside world until the final weeks of your third trimester, around 37 weeks.

Your baby's bones are still hardening. Up until now, your baby's skeleton has been made of cartilage, which is slowly being replaced with bone.

Your little one's skin is still thin and somewhat translucent, but this is slowly changing, as layers of fat start to develop between the skin cells.

Your baby's eyelids and eyebrows are developed but your little one's eyes are still fused shut and will not open for several more weeks.

Your baby's skin undergoes "keratinization" this week. Keratin is a very strong protein that makes up your outer layer of skin. It actually transforms the outer layer of skin into a protective layer of dead cells that are eventually shed. During keratinization, new skin cells, which are produced in the deepest part of the skin, gradually move toward the surface of the skin as it matures. After these skin cells become part of the outer protective layer of skin, they are gradually shed.

Lanugo hair- soft, downy hairs that cover your baby's body - are trapping "vernix" onto the surface of the skin. "Vernix" is a white, waxy substance that you often see on newborn babies' skin. This protects your baby's skin from all the water that surrounds it in utero and from the waste products in the amniotic fluid.

Your baby's heartbeat has slowed down slightly at pregnancy week 24, though it is still beating pretty fast.

If you want to listen to your baby's heartbeat now, you may want to invest in a prenatal heart listener. You simply place the monitor on your belly and listen to your little one's heartbeat. This can often be a bonding experience for both you and the father-to-be!

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