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Development of a Baby at 24 Weeks

by
author image Jennifer Terry
Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.
Development of a Baby at 24 Weeks
A pregnant woman and her husband having an ultrasound. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The 24th week of pregnancy is near the end of the second trimester. The baby moves around more than previous weeks. You can probably feel the movement at this stage. The baby continues rapid development within your womb. Though pre-term babies survive at greater rates when born during the third trimester, survival outside of the womb is possible at 24 weeks with intensive medical care.

Size and Lungs

The baby only weighs 1 1/3 pound and is 8 inches long from head to bottom. She is lean at this point, with muscle and tissue attributing for most of the weight. The primitive alveoli are forming as well. These will be used after birth to exchange gas as part of the respiratory system. The lungs develop cells that will later make surfactant fluid used to inflate the alveoli for the first time.

Skin and Blood

The skin is still somewhat transparent, but is beginning to fill in with fat cells. Your baby’s skin is wrinkly and varies from a pink to a reddish color. The baby's bone marrow is starting to make red blood cells. Although eye lids are formed, his eyelids are still firmly fused shut. It will be a few weeks before the eyes can open.

Ears and Hands

The palms of her tiny hands have creases. Her fingerprints and toe prints are taking form. She can suck her thumb due to better muscle coordination in her arms and hands. Her inner ear is fully developed. She can feel your movement and hear sounds outside of your womb.

Other Development

Your baby is forming taste buds and she can taste what you eat through the amniotic fluid. If you eat something bitter, you baby can grimace, according to Baby2See.com. Your baby can tell which way is up and knows when she is upside down or right side up. At 24 weeks your baby has a schedule. She will sleep certain periods of time each day. Her brain is growing rapidly.

Preterm Birth

If your baby is born at 24 weeks, he is considered viable. With immediate and intensive medical treatment these babies have a chance at survival. If your baby is born at 24 weeks, he will spend several months in a special intensive care unit. The neonatal intensive care unit is only for newborns who are medically fragile and need life sustaining support. He may require supplemental oxygen, assistance with feeding and organ support. Each preterm infant will have different health needs. A team of specialists will be assigned to your infant to assist provide the most appropriate care.

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