Your growing baby now measures 35cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 570g. 24 weeks marks the point at which it is possible for a baby to survive outside of the womb.
Profile of fetus at 24 weeks gestation.
At week 24 of pregnancy, the fetus measures approximately 35cm from crown to heel and weighs roughly 570g. 24 weeks marks the point at which it is possible for a baby to survive outside of the uterus, although a baby born at 24 weeks will require intensive care for many weeks and there are numerous medical complications involved. The fetus is now large enough that movement within the uterus is not as free as in earlier weeks. There is still only a small amount of body fat present and the skin is still very thin and fragile.
The fetus will continue to gain weight steadily over the coming weeks, as more body fat is deposited and major organs, bones and muscles grow and become more dense. This week also marks a surge in brain growth, with nerve connections forming rapidly and becoming increasingly complex.
The lungs are also continuing to develop and now have bronchioles. Cells within the lungs are also now producing surfactant – a substance that will aid breathing after birth.
Both footprints and fingerprints are almost fully developed at this stage. Facial features are also fully formed now and hair continues to grow on the eyelashes, eyebrows and on the head. Any hair that is present will be white, as there is no pigmentation at this point.
You will probably have an antenatal appointment around this time. During this appointment, your midwife will check the fetal heartbeat and will also check for signs of pre-eclampsia – characterised by high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in urine. Your midwife will explain these risk factors to you and you should seek medical advice if you have any concerns about pre-eclampsia.
Most women will have at least some stretch marks by this point in the pregnancy, either on the belly, hips or breasts. Although there is no cream that has been proven to diminish stretch marks, keeping the skin moisturised and supple is certainly not harmful. Stretch marks will change after the birth and will fade, often becoming very pale in colour. Some women report feeling a pain in their side, similar to a stitch, from this point in pregnancy. This is caused by the muscles and ligaments being stretched by the swelling of your uterus. Some women worry that these pains are contractions and, although it is unlikely to be, you should check with your midwife if you are concerned.
Many woman notice changes in their skin and/or hair during pregnancy. One change that is reported by some women is red, itchy palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet. This is likely to be a consequence of increased levels of the hormone progesterone and nothing to be concerned about. Although there is no cure for it, you may find it helpful to avoid becoming too hot and avoid taking very hot baths, both of which can aggravate the redness.
The baby should be moving quite actively at this stage. You may be having painless contractions or tightenings. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions. There should be no change in vaginal discharge at this stage. You should not be feeling undue pressure on your pelvis. If you are experiencing any of this you should consult your midwife or doctor.
You should be seeing your midwife or GP. Routinely they will test your urine, take your blood pressure and review your scan results. The anomaly scan should have been done. If the anomaly scan has shown anything of significance you will be referred to a consultant.
If you want additional advice you can refer yourself to a private clinic. There you can have an appointment with a midwife, specialist and you can have a high quality ultrasound scan. If you do not have confidence in the NHS scan for whatever reason it can be repeated. In a private clinic there should be more time, often better equipment and access to highly skilled expertise. If you have had a previous late miscarriage or carry twins then a cervical scan is readily available. You can have a detailed discussion with a specialist about any concerns you may have.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
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