Thursday, August 17, 2006

Week 24



How your baby's growing: Your baby's growing steadily, gaining about a quarter of a pound since last week, when she was just over a pound. Since she's almost a foot long, that makes a pretty lean figure, but her body is filling out proportionally and she'll soon put on more baby fat. Your baby's skin is thin, translucent, and wrinkled, her brain is growing rapidly, and her taste buds are developing. Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" and cells that produce surfactant, a substance that helps the air sacs inflate easily.

• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.

How your life's changing: The top of your uterus is now an inch or so above your belly button, which means it's about the size of a soccer ball. With the skin on your abdomen and breasts stretching, you may feel a little itchy now and then. If your skin is dry, keeping it well moisturized may help. Also, your eyes may be sensitive to light and feel gritty and dry. This is a perfectly normal pregnancy symptom known as dry-eye. To ease your discomfort, use an artificial tears solution to add moisture.

Most women will have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between 24 and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a high-blood-sugar condition during pregnancy. Untreated, high blood sugar increases your risk for having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow overly fat, especially in his upper body. It also increases your baby's risk for complications like low blood sugar at birth. A positive result on your GCT test doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you should have the more involved glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out.

It's also a good idea to be aware of the signs of preterm labor. Contact your caregiver immediately if you notice an increase in vaginal discharge that is watery, mucus-like, or pink or blood-tinged; any vaginal bleeding or spotting; abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping or more than four contractions in an hour; an increase in pelvic pressure; or low back pain that you haven't had before.

Pregnancy Tip: Relief for finger pain "To relieve finger pain and numbness, I keep an ice pack in the freezer. I apply it to my hands and wrists several times a day." — Julie

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