I must not snack - oh why not!
Your physical changes this week
Stretch marks could start forming on your tummy, thighs, breasts or hips around this time. They occur when the collagen fibers in the middle layer of skin (the dermis) stretch and tear to accommodate an enlarging shape and body size. Unfortunately, there are no creams which penetrate the outer layer of skin to the underlying dermis, no matter what's printed on the label. If you want to, massage your tummy with some emollient cream or one with Vitamin E included. The best time to do this is after showering, when your skin is still warm, damp and the pores more open.
You may be noticing small pimple like spots on your areolas. These are called Montgomery's Tubercles and they will secrete an oily lubricant which will help to nourish your nipples and keep them supple. Try not to be too vigorous with the soap when you shower and don’t think you need to use pimple cream to help them clear up.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel like you need to swallow all the time. Excess saliva is a common condition at 24 weeks of pregnancy and although it can be messy and irritating, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Try chewing gum, sucking on mints and carrying around a bunch of tissues to absorb the excess if you need to.
Headaches may continue this week which could be impacting your work or general concentration. Look for triggers which bring them on. For many women this is chocolate, caffeine, being out in the bright light, not drinking enough water or having a low blood sugar level from not eating frequently enough. If lying down and resting doesn’t help, check with your pregnancy care provider or pharmacist about what medications are safe for you to take.
Your emotional changes this week
Many pregnant couples make up a nickname for their baby while it is still in the uterus. Be careful though! Names started in all innocence, can stick for years and you could find yourself having to explain yourself in time to come.
Your baby's changes this week
He is gaining around 6 ounces/week now, around the same amount he will gain in the first few months after birth. Fat, muscle and growing bones account for most of the weight gain.
Baby’s eyelashes and eyebrows are growing this week but they still need to compete for space on that hairy little face. Don’t worry. All that excess hair will be reabsorbed by the time you reach your due date, just leaving hair where it should be.
Baby has some control now over his senses. His sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell are all maturing so that by birth, he will be able to respond to feeding stimulus.
Babies who are born at 24 weeks need specialist care and support to survive. However, improved neonatal care has meant the long-term health effects on premature babies are much less than they once were.
Hints for the week
If you normally have your hair dyed, think about leaving it au natural while you’re pregnant. Although there's no hard, scientific evidence which links hair dyes to risk in pregnancy, it is better to err on the safe side. Likewise put off having a perm or chemical treatment on your scalp, at least until after the baby is born. Keep some cranberry juice in the fridge. This powerhouse of Vitamin C also has the added benefit of potentially preventing urinary tract infections. Because it is so acidic it helps to fight off the bacteria which cause UTI's and it has the added bonus of tasting really good.
Put a foot stool under your desk at work and in front of your favorite lounge chair. Keeping your legs and feet down won’t help with ankle swelling. Get into the habit of elevating your legs whenever you can to avoid blood pooling and congestion.
Week 25 is next!
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.