Week by week pregnancy guide: 24 weeks pregnant

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24 weeks pregnant
For this week's pregnancy week by week guide we're looking at just over the half way point!

Now that you're 24 weeks pregnant you might want to start thinking about arranging things like your maternity leave and your birthing plan.

Here we round up everything you need to know about your 24th week...

4 weeks pregnant: Symptoms

The measurement in centimetres (from the pubic bone to the top of your bump) should be roughly the same as the number of weeks you are pregnant, but this isn't an exact science so don't worry if it's a few centimetres out.

Stretch marks can start appearing at any time during your pregnancy, but this is the peak period, so keep slathering on the moisturiser. While there's no evidence to support the claim that lotions and potions will prevent stretch marks, many mums are convinced that regular moisturising throughout their pregnancy helped keep these maternal battle scars at bay. Kim Kardashian fended off stretch marks with Bio Oil, while we love Palmer's Tummy Butter for Stretch marks. Alternatively, try massaging a rich oil such as wheatgerm, vitamin E or apricot kernel into your tummy, breasts, upper thighs and hips each day.

4 weeks pregnant: Fetal development

Your baby is 30cm long and weighs 600grams. If they're born this week the birth would be considered 'viable' which means they'd have a 44% chance of survival. They're starting to run out of room to roll so may start kicking more. You may find they're at their most active in the afternoon and evening but will also notice periods of inactivity when they've dozed off for a bit. These sleep periods tend to last between 20 and 40 minutes, and are rarely longer than 90 minutes.

4 weeks pregnant: The changes you should make

In order to qualify for maternity leave and pay, you must tell your employer that you are pregnant by the 15th week before your baby is due. It is best to put this in writing. You should also tell them the date on which you want your maternity leave to start. You'll also need to provide your medical certificate (MATB1) which will give your expected due date. Your midwife should already have given this to you. Once you've notified your employer they must write to you within the next 28 days to tell you the date when your maternity leave runs out and you are expected back at work.

If you are expecting twins then you will have another antenatal appointment and growth scan this week.

A difficult subject to consider, but this is the legal cut off point for a termination, should diagnostic test results reveal that you are carrying a baby with foetal abnormalities. Of course, not all women in this situation will decide to end their pregnancies. Antenatal counselling will be offered to any couple finding themselves in this position.

To calculate the start of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth, find the Sunday before your baby is due (or the due date if it is a Sunday) and count back 15 Sundays from there. Your partner also needs to do the same in order to qualify for paternity leave.

Continued below...

Pregnant women can develop skin tags! These are perfectly harmless dangly growths of skin which most commonly appear on your neck or armpits. If they really bother you they can be easily dealt with after your baby is born.

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