Pregnancy Calendar – Week Twenty-Four
By this week, your baby is close to twelve inches long and weighs almost one and a half pounds. The lungs are developing more branches and air sacs, and the walls of the lungs are starting to produce a substance called surfactant, which helps the air sacs inflate easily. Creases have appeared on the palms of your baby’s hands by this week. Your baby’s movements are getting stronger, and muscle coordination is also improving. You may even be able to notice a pattern in your baby’s sleeping and waking cycles.
Your baby’s kicks may be strong enough at this point for other people to feel. The prenatal movement of you baby is an enjoyable event to share if you are comfortable with friends and family touching your belly. For the next few weeks, the baby still has enough room to wiggle around, so you will probably feel quite a bit of activity. You may also notice different parts of the baby pressing out different parts of your belly. Many women report that during this time of their pregnancy, the baby is the most active when they sit down to rest or try to sleep at night. (At this point, you are probably feeling better than you did in the first trimester, but likely live with nagging issues such as constipation and heartburn. For help with lingering problems, read: “Pregnancy Problems Solved.”)
Hot Topic: Travel
During this time of pregnancy, traveling is usually fine, as long as you have no complications. Sarah Maddison, MD, an experienced obstetrician from Raleigh, North Carolina, says most airlines discourage travel for women pregnant at thirty-seven weeks. Maddison advises her patients not to fly past thirty-five weeks. “We restrict travel for our patients at thirty-five weeks. Flying doesn’t hurt anything assuming you are in a pressurized cabin, but it sure is an inconvenient place to have an obstetrical emergency!”
Here are some things to consider when traveling:
- Whatever your mode of travel, avoid sitting for long periods of time; get up and walk around every hour or so
- When traveling by car, always fasten your seatbelt (buckling it low across your pelvis), and use the shoulder harness
- Before you leave, get a referral for an obstetrician in the area where you are going (you can ask your own doctor to recommend one)
- Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes
- Continue to drink plenty of fluids, but drink bottled water in countries where the water standards are questionable
- Eat healthy meals; also carry healthy snacks to have on hand if you get hungry
- During the last two or three weeks before your due date, avoid traveling any long distances; you will want to be close to your doctor if labor starts early
Fast Fact: Fragrance Dangers
Cosmetic products containing fragrance can be harmful to your unborn baby, especially if it is a boy, concludes a recent study from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Why? Because fragrances often contain hidden chemical ingredients known as “phthalates” that can cause impaired testicular function and incomplete testicular descent. While experts study what amounts are safe to expose your unborn child to, you may want to opt for fragrance-free or unscented make-up and hair-sprays.
Lisa’s Suggestion: If your rings start to feel even a little tight, take them off for the remainder of your pregnancy to avoid having any rings damaged by having them cut off.
Eating for Two: Lunch
This recipe is a great vegetarian dish with iron and vitamin C.
Shantel’s Broccoli, Black Bean, and Orzo Salad
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup uncooked whole-wheat orzo
- 1/4 teaspoon orange rind
- 1 cup chopped, steamed broccoli
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Bring 1/2 cup orange juice, water, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in orzo. Cook for about seven minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool slightly.
2. In a medium bowl, stir in 1/4 teaspoon orange rind, broccoli, beans, bell pepper, onions, and parsley.
3. Combine 1/4 cup orange juice, vinegar, oil, and cumin. Pour over orzo mixture; toss well. Makes about two servings.
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