Your Pregnancy - Week 24


Welcome to week 24

This week your breasts may start leaking colostrum - the first nutrient-rich substance that will nourish your newborn before your breast milk comes in.

Dark-coloured fabrics are the least forgiving to leakage, so grab some breast pads, pop one inside each bra cup and dig out your light-coloured tops.

Inside story

Your baby is now about 540g (around 1lb) in weight and 21cm (8.5in) in crown-to-rump length.

Your baby's head and body are coming into proportion more like a newborn.

The brain cells that are responsible for thinking are maturing and the body is becoming rounded and slightly plumper, although the skin is still transparent and quite wrinkly.

By the end of this week 'viable' applies to your baby's status, which means that your baby is considered capable of living outside of the uterus with support should you go into premature labour.

Only approximately 63 babies per 1000 are born prematurely so it's not something to worry too much about.

On the outside

You'll have your sugar levels checked regularly at your antenatal checks via urine tests. This is because up to 5% of women develop pregnancy diabetes - medically known as gestational diabetes. Most women who develop the condition do so between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.

If any sugar shows up in your urine, you'll have a random blood test (which means without having fasted or undergone any special measures previously) and if this shows higher-than-normal levels you'll be given a glucose tolerance test (GTT) as a final diagnosis of the condition.

This involves drinking a solution of glucose and having blood taken at the beginning and end of the test to see how quickly your body is able to metabolise the glucose.

Try not to worry if you get a positive result: with a strictly controlled low-sugar, low-fat diet and an increase in activity you should be able to bring your blood-glucose levels under control.

You'll be asked to check your own sugar levels regularly using a home finger-prick testing kit, and record the results so your medical team can keep track of your control.

One side-effect of diabetes in pregnancy is that you may have a larger-than-average baby, so if at any stage your baby appears 'large for dates', as it would be recorded on your notes, your midwife will probably want to investigate you for diabetes. Once you have a diagnosis you'll probably have extra scans to check on your baby's growth and welfare.

It's important to get treatment for pregnancy diabetes as otherwise it could mean that your baby will become very large with too much fat, which could impede delivery. Your baby may also have low blood glucose levels at birth and/or breathing problems, so don't be surprised if a short spell in a SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) is needed to stabilise your baby's condition.

Things to think about

Choosing your baby's name is a big responsibility. There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking of possible names.

Make sure that if you're choosing a middle name as well as a first name, your baby's initials won't spell out something unfortunate: Catherine Olivia Williams or Stephen Owen Daniels could both give rise to sniggers and teasing.

Sound out the names to hear the balance: if your baby will have a long surname, pick a one or two-syllable first name. The same applies in reverse, too, so if your baby will have a short surname, you could be a bit more extravagant with a first name. Also consider how the name will sound shouted across the playground too.

Unless you're sure of your baby's sex, shortlist names for either gender – although you'll have six weeks to register your baby's birth after delivery to make your decision. You might even decide that your newborn baby doesn't seem to suit your chosen name, and change your mind after delivery so it's good to have a few possible names in mind.

Before You Go