Pregnancy Week 24 / Second Trimester

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Week 24

What happens to you?

The top of your uterus will reach just above your navel this week.  At this time most pregnant women are very aware of their baby's movements.  You might even be able to tell when the baby is awake or asleep.

Since premature labor is potentially dangerous to a baby who is not fully developed, it is important to recognize the signs of labor.  Premature labor is actually more common in the summer months.  It is thought to be caused by dehydration in some women, so during the summer make sure you're drinking enough water.  Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

   -Contractions or cramps, more than five in one hour
   -Bright red blood from your vagina
   -Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, which is a sign of preeclampsia
(a dangerous condition for mother and baby)
   -Pain during urination (possible urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection)
   -Sharp or prolonged pain in your stomach (preeclampsia signs)
   -Acute or continuous vomiting (preeclampsia signs)
   -Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina
   -Low, dull backache
   -Intense pelvic pressure

What happens to the baby?

The baby is almost completely formed now and is beginning to deposit fat on its body.  The purpose of this fat is to retain body heat.  Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature at first.  This is particularly a problem for a premature baby.

If your baby is born around this time, it will have some chance of survival if it receives special care.  The baby would have to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), probably for many weeks or even months.  Generally, the baby ends up staying in the NICU until just around its original due date.

Lung development is the major concern with premature babies.  If pre term labor is detected early enough, the mother can be given a steroid shot that can speed up lung development.

The baby weighs 1 pound 5 ounces (595 grams) and is 30 cm or 11.8 inches in total length.

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