24 Weeks Pregnant
As with all your other medical checkups up to this point, at this prenatal visit, your doctor will likely check the following:
- Blood pressure
- Uterus size
- Your baby's heartbeat
By the time you're 24 weeks pregnant, you will probably have added 17 to 19 pounds to your pre-pregnancy weight. Your face, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks are likely showing the extra weight. Don't worry, this is normal. It can be frustrating to think that the baby is in your belly, yet all of this added weight is everywhere else. Of course, your baby will be worth it!
As before, your doctor will look for any changes in your blood pressure since your last visit that could indicate a problem.
Your doctor will test your urine for:
- Protein, which can be a sign of high blood pressure
- Sugar, which can be a sign of gestational diabetes.
By the time you are 24 weeks pregnant, your uterus should be two fingers above the navel.
With a handheld Doppler, your healthcare provider will be able to pick up the heartbeat of your baby. This common test uses sound waves to listen to the blood going through your baby's heart, allowing you to listen to the heartbeat. It is painless and does not hurt you or your baby.
Your baby's heartbeat will be very fast -- it is usually twice the average rate of an adult, varying between 110 bpm and 170 bpm (beats per minute).
Most expectant women are given a glucose tolerance test between week 24 and week 28 of their pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. Although all pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes, you are considered at risk for developing gestational diabetes if you:
- Have had gestational diabetes during an earlier pregnancy
- Have previously delivered a very large baby
- Are obese
- Are over 35
- Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Have a parent or sibling who has diabetes
- Have previously given birth to a stillborn or malformed baby.
Gestational diabetes testing may involve two steps. The first step is a screening test (called a screening glucose challenge) in which you drink a sugar solution, and then an hour later a blood sample is taken to test your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar level is abnormally high, you will be scheduled for another test called a three-hour fasting glucose tolerance test (also called an oral glucose tolerance test) to verify the results. If your levels are above normal at least twice during the test, you likely have gestational diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, this may increase your chances of needing a cesarean section (C-section), because gestational diabetes can lead to the hormonal growth of unusually large babies (a condition called macrosomia).
Gestational diabetes can usually be controlled with a strict diet (similar to the one a person with diabetes follows) and exercise. In some cases, though, women with gestational diabetes will need medication, such as daily insulin, during the course of their pregnancy.
Make sure to ask your doctor any questions that you may have regarding your pregnancy.