24 Weeks Pregnant
Consider this a preview of motherhood: Baby is doing just fine—and you’re, well, kind of a mess. Your week 24 baby is working on being ready to survive (and thrive!) in the outside world. You, on the other hand, are probably experiencing some of the late-pregnancy discomforts at 24 weeks pregnant—leg cramps, backaches and swollen feet. Hang in there, mama-to-be!
Wondering about the size of baby at 24 weeks? Baby is now the size of a cantaloupe. Your 11.8-inch 24-week-old fetus now weighs about 1.3 pounds.
Now that you’re 24 weeks pregnant, you’re six months pregnant. That said, remember that doctors track pregnancy in weeks. Once you look at 24 weeks in months, it’s no wonder you’re tired. Those six months pregnant symptoms are no joke!
Your (pretty annoying) 24 week pregnant symptoms probably sound a little bit like this:
- Swollen ankles and feet. If your tootsies are puffy, elevate them while you're sitting. Getting up and walking often can help, too. A little bit of swelling is totally to be expected, but swelling in your face, severe swelling in your hands or uneven (in one leg and not the other) or sudden swelling aren’t run-of-the-mill. In fact, those are signs of preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication, so tell your OB if you’re experiencing any swelling that seems out of the ordinary.
- Leg cramps. Tight, achy or “jumpy” legs can be a sign of dehydration, so check that you’re drinking plenty of water. Stretch your legs often and take lots of walks. Let your doctor know you’re getting leg cramps; they’re probably not an issue, but occasionally cramps can be a sign of another problem, such as a nutritional deficiency, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.
- Backaches. Yep, you’re still experiencing back pain—and it might even be getting worse. That’s because as baby gets larger, so does your uterus (of course), and your uterus presses against your spine, making it more curved and strained. Plus, your back muscles have to work harder to carry the extra weight. Tell your doctor about any severe pain (aka sciatica).
- Linea nigra. That's the dark line that runs up the center of your belly. Influenced by pregnancy hormones, the linea nigra should fade within a few weeks to months after giving birth.
- Stretch marks. These “tiger stripes” may continue to appear as your skin stretches even more. If you’re 24 weeks pregnant with twins, you’re probably more likely to get them. SPE
At 24 weeks pregnant, you’ve probably been feeling baby kicking for at least a few weeks, but now they’re getting stronger and stronger. In fact, your partner or others who touch your belly might start to feel those kicks through your 24 week baby bump soon too.
Recommended 24 weeks pregnant weight gain is about 14 to 16 pounds for moms-to-be of normal BMI. If you’ve gained a bit more than that, don’t worry—it’s drastic or sudden weight gain that’s cause for concern—but for the healthiest pregnancy possible, you’ll want to find ways to keep your weight gain under control.
Did you know 24 is a magic number for twin moms? It’s recommended that women who are 24 weeks pregnant with twins have gained 24 pounds by now. In fact, if you have, you’ve actually reduced your risk of preterm labor.
What position is baby in at 24 weeks?
Usually, at 24 weeks pregnant, baby is positioned upright, with their little behind down by your cervix. They may also be transverse, or positioned sideways, which can be a bit less comfortable. You can often tell which position baby is in based on where the kicks and punches are coming from.
Inside your 24 weeks pregnant belly, baby is making progress. It isn’t just about anatomical stuff; it’s about looks, too. Your 24-week fetus’s see-through skin is gradually becoming more opaque, and it’s taking on a fresh, pink glow, thanks to the small capillaries that have recently formed.
Drink up! Around 24 weeks pregnant, your doctor will order a Glucose Challenge Screening Test—one of the more memorable prenatal tests—to see if you’re at risk for gestational diabetes. The test is designed to see how your body processes sugar, so you’ll be asked to drink a sweet liquid called Glucola (which reminds us of Gatorade) and then hang out for an hour. Once the hour is up, you’ll have your blood drawn and then it will be tested to see how your body has processed the sugar.
If your doctor finds abnormal results, you may have to have a follow-up test called the glucose tolerance test. Hunker down in the waiting room for this one! It will measure how your body processes sugar over a three-hour period to see if you really do have gestational diabetes. If you do, it’s not the end of the world. Your doctor will counsel you on how to keep your condition in check so the rest of your pregnancy stays healthy. And you and baby might get extra monitoring—meaning, extra ultrasounds. Look on the bright side: At least you’ll get to peek at baby more often!
A look at baby at 24 weeks in womb
Your 24-week-old fetus is growing fast, and though their wrinkly skin is still a bit see-through, they’re quickly putting on that adorable baby fat, looking cuter and cuter each day. Their eyelashes, eyebrows and head of hair are still filling out, but the hair has yet to develop any pigment. Baby’s startle reflex has developed now too, so you might find that loud noises make baby jump!
Are babies fully developed at 24 weeks?
Not quite yet. While baby looks like a newborn already, a 24-week fetus still has a good amount of fat to gain, and their little lungs aren’t fully developed yet. Baby is growing taste buds and has fingerprints and footprints already (!), but their brain is still developing and growing. Baby is getting closer and closer to being ready to meet you, but they still have some important work to do in that 24 week baby bump of yours.
Get your squeezes in
Exercise is important before having a baby, and that includes working your pelvic floor. Kegel exercises get your vaginal muscles and perineal muscles ready to deliver that baby and can reduce the likelihood of tearing. So squeeze, mama!
Follow doctor’s orders
If your glucose test shows that you have gestational diabetes, try not to fret and just follow your doctor’s instructions regarding diet, exercise and other methods of managing it.
Look out for relaxin
You might be amused by your newfound flexibility with all that relaxin in your system, but be careful not to overstretch your loose joints and ligaments. Just take it easy when you’re stretching so you don’t hurt yourself accidentally.
Now that you (hopefully!) don’t feel nauseous anymore, you might be more hungry. Just be thoughtful about what you’re eating and when, so you don’t make heartburn worse. Eat small meals more often to keep indigestion at bay.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed November 2020 by Patricia Pollio, MD, a New York-based ob-gyn and director of the department of obstetrics & gynecology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York.