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During the 24th week of pregnancy, the uterus already measures about 11/2 – 2 inches above the belly button. In a like manner, an expectant mother’s navel which was once an innie is already an outie. Plus her baby bump is definitely ripe and difficult to hide.
The mother in week 24
In the later weeks of pregnancy, an expectant mother gains more stretch marks and her navel pops out like a timer as her belly burgeons. This is also the week where she will be experiencing more body strains as she carries the weight of pregnancy.
Week 24 symptoms
Colon congestion (widely known as constipation) happens when the gastrointestinal muscles are relaxed due to the relaxin and progesterone hormones. Because of that, the digestive movement slows down which leads to colon congestion.
Round ligament painPregnancy week by week
Round ligament pain (also known as lower abdominal ache) are stabbing pain and/or dull aches around the lower abdomen.
This type of pain occurs when the ligaments around the lower abdomen stretches and thins out. These ligaments are being pulled to its extreme to accommodate the increasing weight of the growing baby.
Another cause of round ligament pain is the increased blood volume and the uterine lining build-up.
Muscle spasms (also known as charley horses) radiate from the calves up to the legs. This symptom usually strikes at night time. The causes of this symptom are still unknown however, speculations indicates that leg cramps stems from these causes:
- Pregnancy fatigue
- Compressed blood vessels in the legs
- Too much phosphorus
- Insufficient magnesium and calcium
- Hormonal surge
To relieve leg cramps, a soon-to-be mom must do these steps:
- Straighten the limbs and flex the joints and feet back towards the shins. Do this several times
- Place a cold compress to ease the cramps
- Pre-natal massage
- Heating pad to ease the pain
The foot grows in size during pregnancy because the ligaments loosens up and the spreading out of the bones due to the relaxin hormone.
Edema (swollen ankles and feet, sometimes even the hands) occurs due to the following causes:
- Increased fluids in the body to nurture what the mother and the baby’s needs
- To accumulate the tissues
- Increased blood volume
- Pressure from the expanding uterus
- Pressured vena cava – large vein on the right side of the body which circulates the blood from the lower limbs up to the heart
Pregnancy headaches (known as migraine) stems from a variety of sources such as:
- Pregnancy hormones
- Changes in the nerve pathways
- Imbalance of the brain chemicals
- Altered blood flow to the brain
- Noisy surroundings
- Blinding lights
- Extreme temperature (hot or cold)
- Artificial flavors such as sweeteners
- Processed meat
- Nitrates which are found in hotdogs
Backache is a stabbing pain that starts in the back or buttocks and radiates down the legs. This common pregnancy symptom stems from a lot of causes such as:
- Stable joints tend to relax in the pelvic area to allow the nutrients and oxygen to pass through the baby easily during child delivery
- Increasing weight of the growing uterus
- Center of gravity shifts forward which gives some extra weight to her lower back
The baby in week 24
The fetal movements become stronger and harder. Plus, the baby’s progress will not only take place in his internal organs. At week 24, his unique features will take its full form. Aside from that, here are the fetal developments which happens this week:
- The growing baby stretches from 10.5 – 11.8 inches and with a scale of 12.7 – 20.8 ounces. He is gaining steadily at a rate of 6 ounces a week. Much of his weight is contributed by his growing internal organs, developing bones, forming muscles, and accumulating fat deposits.
- He is currently developing its waking and sleeping patterns.
- During this week, the baby’s brain cells are already matured enough to develop consciousness, thoughts, and memory.
- The baby’s lungs continue to practice and exercise its breathing skills. In fact, since week 17, the amniotic fluid serves as his water. Taking it in and out of its lungs in a breath-like cycle. Then at week 24, the alveoli and bronchioles of the lungs begins to produce a surfactant. A surfactant is a fluid which aids in the oxygen passage in and out of the body after conception. It acts as a lubricator which helps the air to enter and exit the lungs easily. In simpler terms, this fluid decreases the surface tension of the lungs.
- The adipose tissues (fat deposits) continue to fill up underneath the skin. As of this moment, he appears saggy and wrinkly since the skin develops faster than the fats to pad underneath the epidermis. His weight gain also increases as the fat tissues are being produced. In line with this, baby’s translucent skin gradually becomes more opaque as pigment is deposited. Additionally, his skin is glowing in pink this week due to the recently formed capillaries.
- His tiny face is almost fully formed.
- His auditory system (sense of hearing) rapidly advances its function this week. As a matter of fact, the baby can already identify noises and voices outside (particularly mother and father’s voices which he will later recognize at birth) and in-utero. Furthermore, these in-utero sounds include air coming in and out of the lungs, gurgling gastric acids produced by the stomach and intestine
- The baby’s eyelashes, eyebrows are fully formed. As of now, his locks are still white since there is no pigment yet.
- Real hair strands (not lanugo) begins to sprout on his head (scalp).
- His hand and footprints are already forming its unique patterns.
- Bouts of hiccups already happen this week.
- The baby already responds to the touches from outside the womb.
Pregnancy tips for week 24
The pregnancy journey is almost halfway done. That is why an expectant mother should stay careful and keep on doing the following things that will keep her and her growing baby away from harm such as:
Things to do during the 24th week of pregnancy
Glucose tolerance test
Starting this week, it is necessary for a her to take the glucose tolerance test. This test detects whether her blood sugar levels indicates a gestational diabetes. This type of test is required to take on an empty stomach
Eating fiber-rich foods (also called as roughage) during pregnancy aids in waste elimination. Here are the list of foods which are rich in fiber:
- Whole grain cereals
- Fresh or dried fruits and vegetables
Drinking lots of fluids is necessary while pregnant. Aside from water, a soon-to-be mom may drink vegetable or fruit juice and broth. Drinking atleast 8 glasses per day is very beneficial because:
- Reduces the occurrence of heartburns
- Avoids constipation
- Flushes out excess sodium
- Washes away byproduct residues
- Eases leg cramps
- Washes away body toxins
- Eases edema
Wear a support hose starting in the morning before the swelling occurs so the hose will take its full effect. Here are the different types of support hose a mother-to-be must wear during pregnancy:
- Full pantyhose with extra room for the lower abdomen
- Knee or thigh-high which are not tight on its top part
Opt for comfy footwear during pregnancy to avoid backache and leg cramps. Here are the different kinds of comfy footwear that a mother-to-be must consider:
- Orthotic shoes
- Soft slippers
Crisscross support sling
A crisscross support sling is specially made for pregnant women which helps the lower back on supporting the belly’s weight.
Lie on a firm mattress
Buying and lying on a firm and comfy mattress is a necessity during pregnancy. A firm mattress eases various body strains and gives her a goodnight sleep.
What to avoid in week 24
Below are the things that a is restricted from doing:
Vices are strictly prohibited for pregnant women as it may cause harm on both the mother and the baby. Here are the vices that she should be avoiding:
- Sleeping pills
- Taking recreational drugs
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Smoking cigarettes
Food and drinks with caffeine
Food and drinks which consists of caffeine is harmful on the baby as it may cause birth defects. This substance also disrupts the sleeping cycle of both parties. Other than coffee, here are the food and beverages with caffeine:
The effectiveness of stimulant laxatives (particularly herbal and/or organic ones) to treat constipation while pregnant is not yet proven. That is why it is better not to take stimulant laxatives.
Long periods of standing and/or sitting
Avoid long periods of standing and/or sitting while pregnant, this triggers certain body strains such as backache and leg cramps.
Tight elastic-top socks and stockings
Do not wear tight elastic-top socks and stockings during pregnancy as it pressures the blood and fluid flow inside the body.
Carrying hefty objects
A is not allowed to lift heavy loads because it triggers back pain. If ever she must lift a hefty object, this is what she needs to do:
- Carry the heavy load slowly
- Stabilize herself by having a wide posture
- Bent on the knees, do not use the midrift
- Carry loads using the limbs and arms as support, do not use the spine
Extending out for high objects
Aside from carrying heavy loads, reaching for high objects while pregnant is not allowed as well. If she will ever reach for one she must consider using a stubby and well-built chair to prevent body strains (preferably at the back).
Take a rest from high heels for a while since it contributes to the improper alignment of the back which will lead to backaches.
On the contrary, studies show that wearing heels at least 2 inches acknowledges correct posture.