24 Weeks Pregnant
You’re 24 weeks pregnant! This week, you may be offered a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes (GD).
If you have the test, you’ll be asked to drink a very sweet drink, and then have blood drawn one hour later. The blood test will measure if your body produces enough insulin to cope with the sugar. If not, you may need to do further testing.
During pregnancy hormones produced by the placenta are believed to reduce the effect of and response to insulin in your body. This is called insulin resistance and for most women it is not a problem, as their pancreas produces enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent diabetes from developing. Insulin resistance is not something that can be helped. Being healthy and exercising can reduce the risk it is impossible to dictate to your body how to respond to those pregnancy hormones.
The glucose tolerance test is not without controversy. Many doctors believe all women should be screened for GD and treated, while others feel screening and treating is unnecessary and can do more harm than good because women are more at risk of interventions during labour. A Cochrane review showed that while treatment improves health outcomes, screening doesn’t change outcomes.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you are then more likely to have birth restrictions imposed on you, such as not having access to a low-risk birth setting. You may also be given an induction date if you haven’t gone into labour by a certain time.
You can also read Henci Goer’s research on gestational diabetes here, which is fully referenced. It is important that you research everything before making a decision – as you will see, there are more to things than may first appear.
The best way to avoid a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is to have a healthy lifestyle. Recent research uncovered that cases of gestational diabetes could be reduced by 83% if women exercised, ate a healthy balanced diet, were not overweight and did not smoke in the pre-pregnancy period. For those already pregnant, you can still reduce your risk by adopting these lifestyle changes.
Avoid consuming sugar and processed wheat products, for example bread, pasta, cake, biscuits etc), and opt for nutritious foods. Eat plenty of dark leafy greens, fresh vegetables in a range of colours, good fats (avocado, eggs, salmon, coconut oil), nuts and seeds, and protein.
24 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
At 24 weeks pregnant, you may begin to feel some achiness in your lower abdomen. As your uterus stretches and baby gets bigger, the ligaments in the lower part of your uterus must stretch too. This stretching can be uncomfortable. Once it starts, it can continue until baby is born.
You may have also noticed that you are experiencing constipation. Progesterone is the culprit again, as it slows down the transit of food through your digestive tract. Drink lots of water and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Exercise is also useful as it promotes circulation and can relieve constipation. It’s important not to ignore constipation, as it can lead to haemorrhoids as well as painful anal fissures. Find out more about safe constipation remedies here.
When you’re 24 weeks pregnant, you may also be experiencing some symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The usual symptoms are pins and needles and numbing in the wrists and fingers. It often occurs because water retention is putting pressure on the carpal nerve pathway. This can be quite annoying, but they will disappear when baby is born.
24 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
Your baby’s eyelashes, eyebrows and hair are present but they don’t have any pigment yet. Regardless of whether she’ll wind up being a blonde or a brunette, her hair is white right now.
Baby’s bones are also growing and getting harder and stronger, and she is building up fat, which is why you seem to be gaining weight more quickly. You might be able to feel your baby hiccupping soon, which feels like regular bumps in your belly.
Most babies spend around 95% of their time sleeping in utero and you may start to notice definite sleep-wake patterns with your baby.
You might be thinking about what your baby will need once they are born. Talk to your friends about the clothes they preferred for a newborn. Many mothers love the flexibility of onsies (Wondersuits). The season will your baby be born will have an impact on the type and amount of clothing she will need. Be prepared to need at least two outfits a day for a while. It’s a good idea to have some clothes already washed in fragrance free laundry detergent before you bring him home. Not sure how much baby clothing you need? Check out BellyBelly’s article, what clothes do you need for baby?
This week, your baby probably weighs between 380 to 590 grams, and is about 29-32 cm long, roughly the size of an ear of corn.