Week-by-week guide to pregnancy

group of pregnant women
When you're pregnant, you have lots of questions. Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is packed with lots of useful information. From what's happening inside your body, to how your baby is developing, and tips and advice on having a healthy pregnancy – this is your one-stop pregnancy guide!

2nd trimester

Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From staying fit in pregnancy to advice on your maternity rights, you'll find it all here.

Week 24 – your 2nd trimester

Your baby is now considered "viable" which means they could survive if they were born right now and given the right support.

What's happening in my body?

You may start to feel really hungry, there is no need to eat any more until the 3rd trimester of your pregnancy (week 28 onwards). You're likely to be putting on weight, but do not worry if you can barely see your bump, as every pregnancy is different.

Alcohol

It can be hard to give up alcohol, but remember:

  • alcohol goes to your baby
  • the risks for your baby include miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, learning difficulties and behavioural problems

If you would like some help or advice, ask your midwife or doctor. Read NHS guidance about the effect of drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Have you had your jabs?

Have you had a whooping cough vaccination yet? It's usually offered to pregnant women between 16 and 32 weeks. Whooping cough can kill, and it's on the increase.

This free vaccination could protect your baby during the first few weeks of their life. Speak to your midwife or doctor about it. Read NHS guidance about the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy.

2nd trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 24 weeks)

Week by week, you may be developing various new symptoms. Around now, you could be getting pains around your ribs, back, breasts, bottom, stomach, etc. This is partly due to your pregnancy hormones loosening up your ligaments and muscles, and your growing baby pushing on various parts of your body.

This week, your signs of pregnancy could include:

You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:

Read Tommy's guide to common pregnancy symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 30cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 600g. That's approximately the size of an ear of corn, and the weight of a big tub of low fat cottage cheese.

Everything is in proportion, but your baby is smaller than a baby who's been in the womb for longer.

If your baby was born now, there is a chance they will survive outside the womb. Baby units for premature babies (called “neonatal units”) can help them breathe, feed, keep warm and fight infections. Read NHS guidance about premature labour and birth.

Action stations

Have you thought about writing a birth plan yet? This sets out what you would ideally like to happen during the birth and after your baby is born. Find out how to make a birth plan and download a birth plan template. Talk to your partner, family, midwife or doctor.

This week you could also...

It's about time to break the news, if you haven't already. The latest you can leave it is 15 weeks before the baby is due, which is around now. As soon as you tell your employer, you will have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your work place.

It's a good time to tone up your pelvic floor muscles. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough. Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a wee and then stopping midflow. Visit Tommy's for more ideas about pelvic floor exercises.

Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Even if you've had children before, they're still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Do your best to stop stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine. Ask your midwife or GP for support if you need it.

To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D. From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.

Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website. You just need 10 micrograms (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.

It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

There's no need to eat for 2. You don't need any extra calories until the third trimester, which starts in week 28. Try and eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.

You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't keep it to yourself – it's important that you ask for help if you need it.

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide.

You and your family should follow the government and NHS guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • read government guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19
  • get NHS advice about COVID-19
  • use the NHS COVID-19 app for England and Wales – it's the fastest way of knowing when you've been exposed to COVID-19
  • To find out about about COVID-19 and pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, have a look at advice on the:

  • NHS website
  • Breastfeeding Network
  • World Health Organization
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