Pregnancy Tracker: Week 24

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 24




You are in your sixth month of pregnancy, and probably looking radiant, with glowing skin and shiny hair. You can thank the increase in hormones for this as oil production is on the up and increased blood flow gives your face a healthy-looking bloom.

Your baby’s development at week 24 of pregnancy

Your baby is growing in leaps and bounds, and now measures about 27-30cm head to heel and weighs in at roughly 570g and is the size of a corn. Each week your growing baby gains about 100g as fat stores are laid down under the skin.

Your baby’s nervous system is developing rapidly, with a complex network of nerves connecting the brain to baby’s arms, legs and internal organs. The ‘startle’ reflex is beginning to develop so if there is a sudden, loud noise, you might notice your baby jerk in response.

Although the outer parts of the ears are still cute and small, the inner ear has reached full adult size and shape. This part of the ear is responsible for balance. Eyes are fully formed and can be seen moving under the fused eyelids. Your baby is pulling funny faces as the facial muscles get some exercise. Grimacing, ‘smiling,’ raising eyebrows and frowning are all part of what baby does at this stage. Your baby is growing hair all over the body, as well as eyelashes and eyebrows, but so far, all hair is white. You will have to wait to learn if your baby is blond, brunette, red- or dark-haired until pigment develops.

A very important part of baby’s development at this stage is the lungs. Although they will only be fully mature at about 36 weeks, the lungs have been developing since the first month of gestation. Your baby gets oxygen from your blood via the placenta and will continue to do so until birth. But even though baby doesn’t need lungs for breathing now, he has been practicing the skill of breathing for quite some time by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid in preparation for independent breathing after birth.

 A network of small tubes develops and connects to the windpipe, and eventually tiny little air respiratory sacs (alveoli) form at the ends of these tubes, growing and multiplying rapidly. In time this will allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, the process known as ‘gas exchange.’

At 24 weeks a substance called ‘surfactant’ starts appearing inside the air sacks, the purpose of which is to help keep the alveoli open to aid breathing.

Premature birth is the greatest hazard to the full and proper development of a baby’s lungs. You can support the developing lungs by ensuring you eat a good balanced diet and take the supplements that have been recommended by your healthcare provider. Studies have found that the best nutrients to support development of the lungs are vitamins A, D, E, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

Your body and your symptoms in week 24 of pregnancy

You have most likely been feeling your baby move about for the last couple of weeks, but now you can feel much stronger movements. If your partner holds his hand on your belly, he will most probably feel these kicks and punches too. What a thrill!

At 24 weeks pregnant you no doubt ‘feel’ very pregnant. Morning sickness and nausea may have been the worst symptoms of early pregnancy, rendering you almost incapable of daily life, but the plethora of symptoms you experience now can still be slightly overwhelming!


Some mums-to-be experience spotting or slight bleeding. The causes could be, among other things, changes to the cervix or inflammation, and are usually harmless. If the bleeding is heavy or regular, check in with your doctor urgently.

Mood swings

Stress, fatigue, discomfort and hormonal changes can all result in fragile emotions and mood swings, which is quite normal. What is not normal is feelings of severe depression that stay with you, so if you experience this, get help!


Plenty of mums-to-be report experiencing ‘brain fog’ during pregnancy. This could be caused by fatigue brought on by disturbed sleep, stress and/or hormone changes.

Tips on looking after yourself at 24 weeks pregnant

Your body is under a lot of pressure as your heart and lungs are pumping blood and oxygen 50% harder than pre-pregnancy to support your growing baby and placenta. For sufficient nourishment for both you and your baby, you need to ensure that you eat a variety of different foods each day.

Be thoughtful in planning your meals as you don’t want to gain unnecessary weight that will put your baby at risk or will prove to be difficult to get rid of after birth. Limit portion sizes but eat frequently. Remember that the old wives’ tale of eating for two is a myth!

Dietary suggestions:

  • Eat foods rich in fibre
  • Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Cut back on fried foods, refined foods, sugars and fats
  • Eat breakfast


Baby’s bones are developing and becoming denser, and a calcium-rich diet is essential for this. Calcium is found in dairy products, pulses, broccoli, oranges and certain nuts. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, so make sure you get your daily dose of sunshine!

Glucose test

Insulin is a hormone that controls blood glucose levels. When you don't have enough of this hormone, your blood sugar levels can skyrocket. Low insulin levels can cause gestational diabetes, which can cause serious problems for you and your baby if left untreated. Pre-eclampsia, preterm labour resulting in a c-section, respiratory distress, and other complications can occur.

 A glucose tolerance test between weeks 24 and 28 is often conducted to check for gestational diabetes.

The test takes the form of swallowing a syrupy drink to measure your body’s response to sugar over a period of one hour. If your test results are concerning, you will have to repeat the test in what is called the 3-hour glucose tolerance test.

These tests may be tedious and not very pleasant, but are particularly important so that, if necessary, proactive monitoring and treatment can commence timeously.

Flu vaccination

Speak to your healthcare provider about whether it is advisable to have the flu jab or not. Getting flu during pregnancy carries certain risks that could be avoided.

Watch out for these signs of preterm labour and call your healthcare provider if worried:

  • Increased vaginal discharge, or a change in discharge
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Abdominal pain like period cramps
  • Contractions – even painless ones
  • Lower back pains – especially if rhythmic

Some symptoms can be confused with Braxton Hicks contractions, but it is best to be on the safe side and have them checked out.

Remember that baby bumps come in all different shapes and sizes, so don't compare yours to anyone else's. However, if you are concerned about your baby's growth, consult with your healthcare provider.

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