Week 24 – your second trimester

Here's some incredible, stop-the-press news – your baby is now considered 'viable' which means they could survive if they were born right now and given the right support. Obviously an early arrival is not what anybody wants, but it's good to know that your baby would be in with a fighting chance.

What's happening in my body?

You may start to feel really hungry, but you don't actually need to eat any more until the third trimester of your pregnancy – that's from week 28 onwards. You're likely to be putting on weight, but don't worry if you can barely see your bump, as every pregnancy is different. Your midwife or doctor will tell you if everything's coming along nicely. Don't listen to friends, family, and people on the bus telling you that you look too big or too small. Chances are, you're just right for you!

Booze news

Many women find it hard to give up alcohol. As you start to feel yourself again, it's tempting to slide back into your pre-pregnancy ways and turn to your favourite tipples.

Just remember that:

  • The alcohol goes to your baby too.
  • There are no 'safe' limits – so it's best to drink no alcohol at all.
  • The risks for your baby include miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

Ask your midwife or doctor to help you cut back, or get in touch with an alcohol support network.

Cheers!

Try these simple swaps…

  • Swap lager for alcohol-free lager.

  • Swap wine for alcohol-free wine. You can get red, white, rosé and sparkling.

  • Swap spirits for non-alcoholic spirits. Try botanical brands, add ice, a slice, and your favourite mixer.

  • Swap cocktails for mocktails. Here are some easy mocktail recipes created by Drinkaware.

Have you been jabbed?

Have you had a whooping cough jab yet? It's usually offered to pregnant women between 16 and 32 weeks. Whooping cough can kill, and it's on the increase, but this free vaccination could protect your baby during the first few weeks of their life. It's very safe for you and your baby. Have a chat to your midwife or doctor if you haven't already.

Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 24 weeks)

Week by week, as your pregnancy progresses, you could be developing strange new symptoms. Around now, you could be getting pains around your ribs, back, breasts, bottom, stomach… basically anywhere and everywhere! This is partly due to your pregnancy hormones loosing up your ligaments and muscles, and also due to that growing baby of yours pushing onto various parts of your body.

This week, your signs of pregnancy could include:

Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of 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.

Your baby looks like… well… a baby. Everything is in proportion, they're just skinnier and smaller than a baby who's been in the womb for longer.

The amazing news is that there's a chance of survival if your baby is born now. Their lungs and other vital organs might just be able to cope with life outside the womb. There are specialist neonatal units for very tiny babies that can help them breathe, feed, keep warm and fight infections. However the earlier the baby is born, the more likely it is that they will have a disability. If you go into labour before your 37th week of pregnancy, it's called premature labour. However it's much more likely that you'll have to wait at least another three months before meeting your baby.

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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… but bear in mind that your baby could have strong ideas too!

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 those muscles ‘down under’. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your baby’s future trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideas.

Ask your midwife or doctor about antenatal classes in your area, as they get booked up very quickly. You could also contact your local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. Why not ask your partner to go with you? Even if you’ve had children before, and been there, done that, they’re still worth going to, as you can meet other parents-to-be. Also, don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others – your baby could have other ideas.

Do your best to stop stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the cappuccinos. We know that’s easy to say, but hard to do. Ask your midwife or GP for support.

During the winter, consider taking a daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. It’s recommended that you take 10 micrograms every day when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. Find out if you’re entitled to free vitamins.

Get moving! It’s recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. Perhaps take a brisk walk in the park, or go for a swim. If you start any classes, make sure the instructor knows that you’re pregnant. Don’t overdo it though – listen to your body.

Have a fit pregnancy and sign up for a free personal activity plan.

Don’t eat for two! Eat for you. 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 bottle it up – you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you’re pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you’re looking after a newborn baby. 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 and get everything in place.

This week's treat

Your hair is probably doing crazy things right now – going straighter, or curlier, or looking limper or fuller, thanks to your hormones working overtime. Why not treat yourself to a new hair care product? It needn't be expensive as the supermarkets do great ranges. Or try making your own conditioner to add shine. After shampooing, rub a tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil into your hair, focusing on the ends. Leave for a minute then rinse well. Ta da!

Go back to week 23

Go to week 25

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