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Week #24 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 24

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           Take a deep breath.  The air that you just inhaled traveled deep within you to fill your lungs and energize your blood stream.  This week your baby is still developing the entire pulmonary pathway necessary do to that same thing after birth.  Her bronchi and bronchioles, the tree-like structures within the lungs, continue to form.  She is also beginning to produce surfactant, the substance that will help her lungs to inflate once she is born.  Vernix, the cheesy, white substance that will cover her thin, translucent skin and protect it from the amniotic fluid, is now appearing.  Your little one's brain is also becoming more complex, as this week her cerebral cortex is developing and layering. When you consider that all of this is occurring deep within your little 12 inch, 1 1/2 pound baby, it almost takes that deep breath away doesn't it?


Your Body
           Between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, most women will be given a Glucose Screening Test which will check their blood sugar levels and determine if they need further testing to possibly diagnose gestational diabetes.  The test involves drinking 50 grams of glucose syrup.  Sound gross?  No need to worry.  The syrup is usually orange or lemon-lime flavored and carbonated, so try to think of it as a small can of extra sweet soda.  Most doctors' offices will keep the liquid refrigerated and some will even allow the drink to be poured over ice.  Once poured, you will have 5 minutes to drink the entire cup and one hour to wait.  The good news is that you get the next hour all to yourself!  The bad news is that that hour usually has to be spent in the doctor's office while you wait for the glucose to be absorbed into your system so that your physician can draw some blood and screen your levels.  So when heading off to this appointment, be sure to bring a good book, a favorite magazine, or something fun to do.       

       This is the time in your pregnancy when your amniotic fluid really begins to increase in volume.  Believe it or not, way back on the 12th day of your pregnancy your body created an amniotic sac as a safe place for your little one to develop.  At that time, your sac contained only 1.5 ounces of amniotic fluid.  Right now, the sac contains approximately 12 ounces (that's about as much liquid as that caffeinated can of soda that you've been craving!).  From here on out, your amniotic fluid will continue to increase until the end of your pregnancy when it reaches its maximum volume of two pints (that's almost half of one of those big 2 liter bottles of caffeinated soda that you've been craving!). While the composition of the amniotic fluid changes over the course of your pregnancy, its purposes remain the same:

       Your amniotic fluid. . .
  • Creates an environment where your unborn baby can easily move.
  • Regulates temperature for your little one.
  • Protects your baby from potential injury by creating a cozy cushion.
  • Can be used for assessment purposes to check on baby's growth, development and maturity.

       Your amniotic fluid plays a very important role in your baby's healthy development.  Be thankful for the environment that it creates for your little one, and for the fact that by the end of your pregnancy you can blame it for at least 2 liters worth of weight that you've gained!


  You're Wondering. . .
           I suddenly feel like every time I turn around someone is trying to touch my belly!  I don't want to be rude, but its really awkward having a stranger in the store reach over and rub my tummy.  Any tips on how I can tactfully ask them to stop?

       I have to admit, I am a horrible offender when it comes to pregnant mommy belly rubbing.  If brought up on charges in a court of law, the judge would have to throw the book at me.  Before you start to categorize me with the other crazy ladies you've come across lately let me clarify by saying that I do, however, manage to keep my belly rubbing in check by only reaching out to touch those that I know and love...not the pregnant stranger at the grocery store.  For some people, mostly women, the sight of a pregnant mommy-to-be brings back a flood of memories and emotions as they either reminisce about their own pregnancies, instantly associate you with their pregnant daughter living across the country, or longingly look at your belly as a representation of their dreams for the future.   While these are all tender and kind thoughts, they don't give a stranger, or friend for that matter, permission to touch your belly if you don't invite them to. While their intentions are probably innocent and they may only be reaching out towards you as a way to celebrate your pregnancy with you, if it is bothering you it is not ok.  So what can you do to help keep your belly to yourself?  Here are a few tips to try:
  • How about some humor?  The next time someone reaches out to rub your belly, uninvited, try taking a step back and say "Oh, you don't want to touch that.  I've had this amazing growth in my mid section for the past six months and the doctors are still trying to decide if it's contagious."  Then smile and keep walking.  Most people will smile at your statement, and still understand the underlying message that you are trying to communicate.
  • Why not wink?  With a wink and a smile say, "You can look, but please don't touch." A statement like this will effectively and politely communicate your desire to not be touched, but will not embarrass the other person.
  • Try telling the truth.  If humor isn't your thing, or you are just not in the mood to beat around the bush with touchy strangers that you run across, why not say, "Please don't touch my stomach.  It bothers me when strangers reach out and touch me."  This will clearly communicate your desire and right to keep your body to yourself, without being rude in response to their advances.


  Your "To-Do" List
           This is a wonderful week to take a walk around the house and compile a "Honey-Do List" for any handy honeys in your life.  Do you need rooms painted?  Fences or decks restained?  Have the batteries been changed in your smoke detectors recently?  How about a carbon monoxide alarm?

       As you move from room to room, write down the different things that you would like to have completed before your little one arrives and your free time is taken up by projects that are much more fun; snuggling, reading together, cooing back and forth, and all of the other good stuff!  Once the list is compiled, peek at it and pass it off!  Remember, many projects that you may have readily helped with before you were pregnant are no longer safe for you to do.  Paint or wood stain fumes can be dangerous for you and your little one to now inhale.  Standing on a ladder to change the batteries in your smoke detector could easily cause you to lose your balance and fall.  Rather than try and tackle this list yourself, pass it to your partner (with a smile of course!) and promise that you'll be there with him every step of the way...just in another room working on a far bigger project; growing his child!


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           At some point this week when you and your partner have a chance to talk, try tuning in to his thoughts and feelings by listening to everything from his point of view.  If he tells you about a situation at work that really angered him, try and imagine what he must have felt like while it was occurring.  If something really made him laugh (you know, those goofy guy things that we gals usually don't get) try and figure out why he thinks it is so funny.  If he tells you about a problem at work try not to jump in and offer a solution or accuse him of making a bad decision, rather encourage him to keep sharing and then simply listen to the story from his perspective.

       One of the best ways that you can show your child that you really care is by trying to listen to everything that they say, from their point of view.  In doing this you will often find that there is much more to the story than you originally assumed there was.  Rather than immediately jump in and discipline your little one for something that you overheard, take a moment and listen to the situation in its entirety, from your child's perspective.  Often you will find the offending action was nothing more than a misunderstanding and a teachable moment.  Studies have shown that children with empathetic parents who appreciate their kids' points of view get higher grades and are less likely to steal, bully, and lie.  They are also generally found to be more cooperative, less stressed and happier.  Who wouldn't want a child like that?  So listen away, my friend, your baby and your partner will thank you for it!


  My Experience
           I know that as an intelligent, pregnant woman, you are right all of the time.  You always look at situations logically and never let your emotions (or hormones) get in the way of any decision that must be made.  I can accurately state this well known fact, because as a former pregnant woman my husband told me all the time that I was right.  Oh, wait, what he actually said was, "You always think that you are right."  Oops! Now in fairness to me, I usually was right.  But in fairness to him, he was too.  We often saw the exact same situations from different points of view.  Neither perspective was better nor worse than the other, they were simply different.  When we learned how to listen to and appreciate the perspective of the other, without interrupting or justifying, amazing things happened.  Don't tell anyone, but I actually learned a few things!  I also found that our communication greatly improved because for once my husband wasn't nervous that I was going to instantly shoot down his ideas or opinions.

       I have learned that when I slow down and take the time to listen to a situation from the perspective of my children, the same thing happens.  I learn something new, either about them, or about their friends, their fears, dreams or daily happenings.  I also find that our communication improves because my children can share anything that they are thinking or feeling and they know that I will do my best to listen and understand their thoughts without trivializing what they are experiencing.

       I must admit, however, at times I feel like I don't have the time to slow life down long enough to hear the heart of my kids.  We're trying to buckle seat belts, pay bills or brush teeth before racing off to pre-school.  The truth of the matter is the rest of the world can wait.  My children and their hearts are too important for me to rush along or ignore.  So I choose to hear about last night's amazing dreams and all of the imaginary places that my little one visited, even if it means that her teeth get a quick scrub with the toothbrush and then I have to secretly pass her a piece of gum on the way to pre-school.  It is a win-win situation: My daughter still got my attention, I still heard her heart, and her breath is still minty fresh!


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