24th Weeks Pregnant: Fetal Development
You are twenty-four weeks pregnant now. It won’t be too much longer till you are through the second trimester. You may be trying to decide where baby will sleep. You probably have a crib, or plan to buy one. And you may have a bassinet or cradle. What other options are there for sleeping? Is it okay for the baby to sleep in the same bed with you? In this week’s newsletter we are going to talk about where your baby will sleep. We are going to give you some information about crib sleeping, co-sleeping, and other options for sleep. We are also going to give you safety tips for keeping your baby safe while she is sleeping.
At this week of your pregnancy, they should measure about 11 inches and weigh about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds. If you have any concerns about the weight of the baby, now is the time to ask the OB GYN. The baby’s brain and the lungs are quickly starting to develop. The baby’s taste buds are coming along nicely too. The lungs are developing branches so that the special cells will produce the surfactant to help inflate the baby’s lungs.
If the baby was born at this week of pregnancy they may have trouble breathing because the surfactant is not developed enough. Babies born at twenty-four weeks may be born with disabilities and would require long term NICU care. The baby is still gaining weight and developing baby fat. This helps the baby keep in their body heat.
Some new moms to be may experience what is called Braxton Hicks Contractions. These are small contractions that you may feel from time to time in the last trimester. But don’t worry these are not like regular contractions and they will not affect the baby. When you go for your next sonogram, you will see that the baby’s face is now complete with very distinguishable features. The hair on the baby’s hair will continue to grow and the baby’s eyes are still closed. Over the next three months the baby will just continue to gain weight and grow. The baby will also start to practice breathing at week twenty-four of pregnancy.
Changes With Your Body
In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball.
Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition. Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby’s odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn’t mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you’ll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure.
Finally, if you don’t already know how to spot the signs of preterm labor, now’s the time to learn. Contact your caregiver immediately if you notice any of the signs mentioned below.
Where Will Baby Sleep?
Newborn infants sleep for about twenty hours a day. Finding the best sleep arrangement for your baby may take a little experimenting. Some babies stay asleep no matter where they are and other babies have a difficult time sleeping if they aren’t in a familiar environment. Where will your baby sleep best?
There is more than one philosophy on how to get your baby to sleep in the crib at night. You will want to do what works best for you and what feels right for you and your baby.
If you would like your baby to learn to sleep on her own you will want to put her to sleep in the crib when she is sleepy but not asleep. The idea behind this is that she will learn to comfort herself and learn to sleep independently. The drawback to this, is that a lot of babies don’t go directly to sleep and your baby may cry for a while before she goes to sleep.
If you are not comfortable with letting your baby cry, you may want to try to get her to sleep first before putting her in the crib. Babies like to be rocked to sleep or nursed to sleep. Once your baby is sound asleep, you can move her to the crib. The disadvantages of putting her to sleep this way is that she may not learn to sleep independently, she may need you to rock her to sleep every night, and she may wake up as soon as you put her in the crib.
Both the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) warn parents not to put baby to sleep in the bed with them.
The main concern is with suffocation from a parent rolling over onto baby, baby getting wedged between the wall or headboard, or baby rolling over to a face-down position and suffocating. Proponents of cosleeping, however, believe that babies sleep better, are more closely bonded to mom, and that the sleep arrangement may cut down the risks of SIDS.
Even though there are risks involved, many moms choose to have their babies sleep in the bed with them at night. If you are a breastfeeding mom you may find cosleeping easier. If your baby is in a crib, you will need to get out of bed each time you feed her. With cosleeping, you can feed your baby in the bed which may help you and baby to get a better night’s sleep. You may also feel closer to your baby by having her sleeping close by.
Other Sleep Arrangements
If you like the idea of cosleeping but are concerned about the safety of sleeping with your baby, you may want to purchase a cosleeper or bassinet. A cosleeper is an infant bed that attaches to the mother’s bed so that baby is near mom but not sleeping in the bed with mom. There are several types of cosleepers and bassinets that you can purchase to keep baby close by.
Keep on following the doctors’ orders. If you haven’t started to already pick up a baby book and see what they have to offer in ways of suggestions on eating and exercise. It is never too late during a pregnancy to start exercising. If you are looking for a low impact aerobic on DVD, check your local video store or retail store like Wal-Mart or target. Stay away from exercises that cause a lot of bumping around like horseback riding.