24 weeks pregnant: Your guide to this week of your second trimester

    Updated 01 August 2023 |
    Published 24 February 2019
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
    Edited by Sarah Biddlecombe
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    From possible backache to addressing gestational diabetes, here’s the lowdown on being 24 weeks pregnant. 

    Just a few weeks away from your third trimester, you’re probably full of questions about the changes that are happening to your baby and body. Now that you’re 24 weeks pregnant, your baby could now survive outside of the uterus with the right support. But as they are currently only the size of an eggplant, there’s still a lot of growing to do inside your belly.

    From your baby gaining finger and toe prints to bouts of annoying backache, read on to find out what to expect at 24 weeks in, with advice from a Flo expert. 

    Your baby at 24 weeks pregnant

    Your baby starts reacting to noise

    Now that you’re 24 weeks pregnant, your baby is starting to react to noises going on outside of your uterus. One fascinating study suggests that babies in the uterus pay attention when they hear their mom’s voice. The study also found that babies at 21 to 33 weeks moved their arms, heads, and mouths in response to their mom’s bump being stroked, which is a lovely way to start bonding with your baby!

    Developing finger and toe prints

    There are more fascinating developments going on this week, as your baby would now be able to make a visible finger or toe print. These unique combinations of teeny whorls, loops, and arches indented in their skin are one of a kind and will remain the same for the rest of their life. The size, shape, and appearance of finger and toe prints are influenced by multiple genetic factors as well as the environment inside your uterus. Pretty amazing when you think about it. 

    How big is a baby at 24 weeks?

    Length (crown to heel): 32 cm or 12.6 in.

    Weight: 670 g or 1.5 lb.

    Size: Equivalent to an eggplant

    All measurements are approximate and vary within the normal range.

    Your body at 24 weeks pregnant

    Backache

    At around 24 weeks pregnant, you might be starting to experience backache. One of the various second-trimester symptoms, this is often caused by hormonal changes relaxing the ligaments in your body. This in turn can put a strain on the lower back and pelvis, provoking back pain. You might also feel pain around your ribs, breasts, butt, and abdomen for the same reasons. 

    Plus, as your baby bump grows, your center of gravity changes, which can affect your posture and puts a strain on your back. 

    Between 50% and 80% of pregnant women notice back pain during pregnancy at some point. So if you’re experiencing it, as frustrating as it is, at least you’re in good company. 

    Thankfully, there are some simple tips and tricks that can help to ease the pain. “Avoid heavy lifting, consider wearing a support belt, or try massage, rollers, and exercises,” advises Dr. Cynthia DeTata, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, California, US. 

    Other things that may help include: 

    • Making sure you get enough rest
    • Making sure your mattress is firm enough to support you 
    • Wearing flat shoes
    • Using maternity support pillows when sitting up to keep your back straight and supported
    • Bending your knees and keeping your back straight when you are about to pick something up from the floor

    While backache is common at around 24 weeks pregnant and generally nothing to worry about, in some circumstances, you should talk to your health care provider right away. For example, if you experience:

    The chances are that your pregnancy backache is absolutely nothing to worry about, but it’s good to know when you should call the doctor just in case. 

    And if you’re not experiencing backache at 24 weeks pregnant, then that’s completely normal too! Everyone’s pregnancy is different, and your body will do its own thing. Noting your symptoms in an app like Flo can help you to keep track of your own unique journey.  

    Insomnia

    While some people find that they sleep better in the second trimester compared to the first, this stage of pregnancy can also bring new sleeping difficulties. For some women, backache and other pain keeps them up at night, while others report having strange and vivid dreams or nasal congestion that causes snoring or interrupts their normal breathing patterns during sleep.

    “If you get strange and vivid dreams, write them down when you wake up! Your little one will enjoy hearing about them later,” suggests Dr. DeTata. “When it comes to snoring — or congestion of your airway — there’s not much you can do to prevent it other than raising the head of the bed [where the pillow is] with a wedge.”  

    However, you shouldn’t have to just put up with pregnancy insomnia. There are various treatments that might help, from supplements and sleep aids to medication. Remember to always discuss any new treatments or medications with your doctor first. They might also recommend talking therapy, yoga, meditation, or acupuncture as simple ways to get more of that all-important sleep

    Your questions answered

    Does 24 weeks pregnant mean the same thing as six months pregnant?

    If you’re grouping the weeks of pregnancy into months, then 24 weeks pregnant does indeed fall into the sixth month. Doctors tend to talk about pregnancies in terms of weeks, though, because it is more medically accurate, explains Dr. DeTata.

    What is special about being 24 weeks pregnant?

    Now that you’re 24 weeks pregnant, your baby is now considered “viable.” This is a medical term meaning that if they were born now, they could survive with the right support. This might be a scary thought, or you might find it reassuring. Either way, it’s important to note that extremely preterm births (when babies are born before the mother is 28 weeks pregnant) are very rare, so it’s highly unlikely that your baby will be born around now. While 24 weeks is a key moment in your baby’s development, they are still 15 weeks away from being considered fully developed or “full term.” So there’s still lots of growing for you both ahead!

    When does the third trimester start?

    You’re almost nearing the last phase of pregnancy — but not quite! “The third trimester starts at 28 weeks,” explains Dr. DeTata. In the third trimester, your baby will continue to grow in size and weight

    It’s natural to have mixed feelings about this final phase of your pregnancy approaching. You might feel excited about meeting your baby, while also anxious about birth and how your life will change in the next phase. Remember that conflicting feelings can coexist and that each is valid and normal. Talking to your loved ones and seeking support from your doctor about how you’re feeling can help you to navigate the changes ahead. 

    Want to know more?

    Download the Flo app for tailored insights throughout your pregnancy

    24 weeks pregnant checklist 

    Address gestational diabetes

    As your pregnancy progresses, your prenatal health care provider will perform various routine tests and offer you screenings for certain conditions. Getting tested can feel scary at first, but know that it’s just a normal part of the process of ensuring a healthy pregnancy.  

    From 24 weeks pregnant, your doctor may want to check for gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy when blood sugar levels are too high. “Gestational diabetes is caused by changes in hormones during pregnancy that interfere with glucose metabolism,” explains Dr. DeTata. “It is not the baby that produces these hormones. Rather, the culprit is the placenta. This releases hormones that make the pregnant person’s body cells take in less glucose, leaving more floating around in the blood.” 

    Dr. DeTata adds, “The placental mass has grown enough that between 24 and 28 weeks is the best time to do diabetes testing.” It’s natural to feel anxious before taking the test, but it can be reassuring to know that gestational diabetes is not that common. In the United States, it affects 2% to 10% of pregnancies

    So what does the test involve? Well, your doctor will test your blood sugar after you drink a sweet liquid, known as a glucose challenge test. If your blood sugar is high, a similar test called a glucose tolerance test will be able to confirm a diagnosis. This involves drinking a sweet liquid after fasting for eight hours and then testing your blood at one-, two-, and three-hour intervals. To find out more, read our guide on gestational diabetes and how to prepare for your glucose test

    We know blood tests like this are far from pleasant, but they can be worth doing and will hopefully bring you peace of mind. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can lead to complications for you and your baby, but it is otherwise a highly manageable condition. So if you do get a diagnosis, try not to worry. With the right treatment plan, you can still go on to have a healthy pregnancy

    Eat B12-rich foods

    To follow a healthy pregnancy diet, one nutrient to look out for is B12. This essential nutrient helps to keep your blood and nerve cells healthy, as well as make DNA — pretty impressive!

    “At some point between 24 and 28 weeks, you will also have a test for anemia [a condition where the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells],” explains Dr. DeTata. “As part of this test we look at whether or not the anemia is due to iron deficiency or deficiencies in B12 or folate. Foods with B12 are often very healthy and great to eat at this point, but don’t take extra supplements unless you check with your doctor first.” 

    If you eat meat, fish, and dairy, you should be able to get enough B12 through your diet, with good sources of the nutrient including:

    • Meat
    • Fish
    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Certain fortified breakfast cereals

    If you prefer a plant-based diet, be sure to talk to your health care provider about getting enough of this nutrient. 

    When to consult a doctor at 24 weeks pregnant

    Throughout your second trimester, you will have more regular appointments with your doctor. How often you see your doctor will depend on where you live and what is best for you and your pregnancy. 

    You don’t need to wait until your appointment if you have any concerns or questions about your pregnancy. However, at 24 weeks pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience: 

    This isn’t an exhaustive list and just an example of some of the changes you should look out for. Some of these can be a sign of health complications, so it’s essential that you speak to your doctor about the best next step for you. And if you’re ever worried about any other symptoms you experience during pregnancy, then don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider. 

    24 weeks pregnant: The takeaway 

    Whether you’re experiencing symptoms like insomnia or backache, or have no new symptoms at all, 24 weeks pregnant can feel like an important milestone. Not only could your baby now make tiny finger and toe prints, but they are starting to react to your voice — a lovely stage at the start of your lifelong bond.

    References

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    Marx, Viola, and Emese Nagy. “Fetal Behavioural Responses to Maternal Voice and Touch.” PLOS ONE, vol. 10, no. 6, June 2015, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129118.

    Morgan, Andrei S., et al. “Management and Outcomes of Extreme Preterm Birth.” BMJ, vol. 376, Jan. 2022, www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj-2021-055924.

    ​​Ominde, Beryl Shitandi, et al. “Analysis of Finger and Toe Prints and Their Corresponding Correlations in the Anioma People of Nigeria.” Journal of Forensic Science and Medicine, vol. 7, no. 2, 2021, pp. 39–46, journals.lww.com/jfsm/Fulltext/2021/07020/Analysis_of_Finger_and_Toe_Prints_and_their.1.aspx.

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    “Week 24.” NHS, www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-24/. Accessed 26 June 2023.

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    History of updates

    Current version (01 August 2023)

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
    Edited by Sarah Biddlecombe

    Published (24 February 2019)

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