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Mother and Baby

24 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your baby at 24 weeks

This week, your baby’s little face is almost fully formed, your stomach is growing and there are plenty of other bodily changes taking places for both mum and baby. Find out more about else is happening to you and your baby at 24 weeks pregnant.

How big is my baby at 24 weeks?

Your baby is growing fast - she's gained around four ounces in a week, putting her at around one and a third pounds. Almost a foot long now, your baby is about the same length as an ear of corn, and will continue to put on about three to three and a half ounces a week until the birth.

What’s my baby doing at 24 weeks?

There are plenty of changes taking place for your baby this week. Her brain is growing, her taste buds are developing, and her body is filling out.

Your baby’s lungs are maturing every day and are beginning to produce a substance called surfactant, which helps to keep tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli open. She’ll even start practising breathing in the womb, moving her chest up and down and exhaling amniotic fluid.

While your baby’s skin is still thin and translucent, that will soon change: she’ll soon start to plump up, with much of the weight gained this week due to growing organs, muscles, bones and fat. The skin will become less see-through as fat deposits are made. 

Even though your baby is still tiny and developing, she has now reached a stage of potential viability, meaning she may be able to survive outside the womb if she’s born early. She would of course have to stay in a special neonatal ventilator, but after 24 weeks, her arrival would be registered as an official birth. 

What is my body doing at 24 weeks pregnant?

As ever, your body’s changing week by week: by week 24, your uterus will be about the size of a football. It’s also time to take a glucose screening test - also known as a glucose challenge test or GCT - to check for gestational diabetes, a high blood sugar condition that can affect pregnant women.

You also may be experiencing the joy of haemorrhoids, or piles, which are essentially varicose veins in your bottom. Like the veins in your legs, the ones in your bottom can stretch so that blood starts to collect in them, causing pain and swelling. 

The reason they’re so common in pregnancy is down to those pesky hormones, again – they can cause sluggish digestion and constipation, meaning you strain when you go to the loo, putting extra pressure on the veins around your bottom.  You may notice itchy bumps around your anus and bright, red blood in the toilet bowl and on the loo paper. As unpleasant as they are, piles can be treated easily with haemorrhoid creams to numb the pain and itching, so book an appointment with your GP for advice.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Noticing that your wrists and fingers are feeling numb? It’s carpal tunnel syndrome, another confusing pregnancy symptom. The swelling you’ve noticed during pregnancy is responsible: it causes fluids to accumulate in your lower body during the day, and redistributes them around the rest of your body once you’re lying down, which puts pressure on the nerves that run through your wrists, and thus can cause pain, tingling, a sense of numbness or an ache in your hands, fingers and wrists. These symptoms will disappear once your baby’s born, but for now, try to shake your hands and wrists and to avoid sleeping on them at night.
  • Blurred vision: Seeing double? Blame those pregnancy hormones again! They can decrease tear production, which increases fluid buildup in the eye, which can obscure your vision. Ask your GP for eye drops if your eyes feel dry, and don’t panic: these symptoms will go away once your baby is born.
  • Red, itchy palms: Known as palmar erythema, your palms and the bottom of your feet may turn itchy and red. This is due to an increase of oestrogen and increased blood volume. Stay away from irritants like harsh soaps, and seek relief by applying cold water or ice to your palms or feet.

What to do this week

  • Book a meeting with your manager: It’s time to tell your employer that you’re pregnant, if they don't know already. This is known as the notification week, or the 15th week prior to the week your baby is due. You’ll probably have told your line manager before this point, especially if you’ve been taking time off for antenatal appointments, but in case you haven’t, now’s the time to mention it!

Your week 24 FAQ's answered: 

How big should my bump be at 24 weeks pregnant? 

At 24 weeks pregnant you can expect to have gained around 14 to 16 pounds.

How many months is 24 weeks pregnant? 

Learning how to do the pregnancy math can be complicated, but at 24 weeks pregnant, you're around five months and one week into your pregnancy. 

Take me back to week 23

Take me to week 25

Read next, 26 myths that hint at your baby's gender: 

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Low heartbeat

If your baby’s heartbeat is lower than 140 beats per minute, you could be having a little boy. 
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You’re moodier than normal

Feeling grumpy and down in the dumps? It could mean you’re pregnant with a girl. 
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Sleeping on your left side

Do you keep finding you wake up on your left side? It’s another sign you’re having a boy.
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Your skin is soft

Being pregnant with a girl could mean you’ve finally got that baby soft skin you’ve always wanted. 
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You’re carrying low

If someone tells you you’re ‘carrying low’, it means your bump is lower and your baby lying closer to the pelvis – a sign that some believe suggests your baby’s a boy… 
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You’re carrying high

… while carrying high could be a sign that you’re having a little girl. 
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No morning sickness

If this is the case, then you’re very lucky!
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Bad morning sickness

This isn’t at all pleasant but might mean that you’ll soon have a mini me. 
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Glossier hair

Got luxurious locks and all-round a better mane than you’ve ever had in your life? It could be a sign that you’ll have a son.
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Thin hair

​Hair lacking in volume? Apparently, it’s an indication that you’re pregnant with a daughter. 
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Hairier legs

Found yourself reaching for the razor more frequently? It could mean you need to start thinking of some baby boy's names.
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Acne

One gender myth says that bad, spotty skin could mean you’re having a girl. 
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Frequent headaches

Some believe that suffering from more headaches during pregnancy than normal is a sign that you’re expecting a boy.
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Carrying weight in your hips and rear

Suddenly found yourself with a more pronounced derrière? And more rounded hips? It might mean you need to paint the nursery pink.
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You’ve got cold feet

A strange one, but having chilly feet could indicate that you’re pregnant with a son. We’re not quite sure why…
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No pregnancy ‘glow’

While everyone’s talked about that ah-mazing pregnancy glow you’re bound to experience, you still haven’t come across it. Which could signal that you’re having a baby girl. 
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You crave salty foods

Hankering after cheese, crisps and really salty meats is another signal that you’re carrying a boy. 
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You crave sweet things

If you’re eating even more sugary treats than usual then you could have a girl. We reckon it’s a good excuse to indulge a little during your pregnancy. 
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Your partner has put on weight during your pregnancy

This has to be the strangest of the lot. We reckon your partner packing on the pounds just means that he’s been having one too many sweet treats – but some think it could mean a baby boy is on the way.
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Your bump looks like a watermelon

Is this a compliment? You be the judge.
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If you ate a high calorie diet before you got pregnant

If you had a low-calorie diet and you didn’t have much of an appetite, you’re having a girl. 
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Holding a ring on a piece of string over your belly and it moves in a circle

Tie a ring you wear every day to a length of cotton thread and hold it above your bump - moving in a circle means you’re having a girl, while swinging side to side means you’re having a boy. However, there’s some debate over which action signifies which gender. If you live in America, you’re more likely to believe the opposite!
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If you conceived in winter

If you fell pregnant in the summer, you’re having a baby girl. If you conceive in spring or autumn, there’s an equal chance of having a boy or girl. 
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If someone asks you to hold your hands out in front of you, and you hold them palms facing up

If you hold them out palms facing downwards, you’re having a boy. 
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If you pick up a key and hold it by its round upper section, you’re having a boy

If you pick the key up by its thinner lower section, it’s a girl. 
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When you lie down, your baby doesn’t wriggle around too much

If your little one isn't wriggling round much when you're lying on the sofa, you might have a little mini-me on the way. If your baby is a little wriggler when you lie down, it’s a boy!

 
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