Week Twenty Four: Practices breathing
You are 24 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 22 weeks)
The lungs are developing branches of the respiratory tree and cells that produce surfactant. This is a substance that helps the air sacs inflate easily and also keeps the small air sacs in our lungs from collapsing. The baby practices breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid into developing lungs. The unborn baby is covered with a fine, downy hair and the skin is protected by a waxy substance. Some of this substance may still be on the child’s skin at birth at which time it will be quickly absorbed.
Baby gains about 3 ounces this week. The weight is in muscle, bone mass and organs. The body begins to fill out with its appearance increasingly becoming more like that of a newborn. Taste buds begin to form. If mom drinks something strange or bitter, baby may be observed showing his or her distaste.
Little creases have appeared on his palms. The muscular coordination of the hands has improved as they sucks their thumb. Over the next week or so, the sweat glands will be forming in the skin.
Mother: Gentle exercise will keep you fit and help you cope with the delivery. Pregnancy yoga, pilates or go for a swim, aquanatal classes are a great way to make friends.
Baby now weighs about 1.3 pound (600gm) and is around 12 inches (30cm) long.
After this week your baby is officially considered viable. 36% of babies can survive premature birth at 24 weeks – However, serious complications are still possible.
Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he’s almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he’ll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.
Baby’s now the size of a papaya!
Baby’s skin is becoming more opaque as the fat starts to pack on. And, thanks to the formation of small capillaries, her newly thick skin is taking on a fresh pink glow.
An important milestone this week: Your baby is now viable. In other words, she’d have a good (around 40 percent) chance of survival, with medical help, if she was born right now. Nevertheless, with every day that passes, her lungs mature a little more and her chances of survival get better.
Your baby is very active because she still has plenty of room to move around inside you. Her brain is developing fast. Her skin is still fragile and transparent, with her blood vessels, bones and organs visible through it, but over the coming weeks it’ll thicken and become padded with fat until it’s opaque, like yours.