Weeks 21–24 of Your Pregnancy - dummies

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

During this time, there aren’t any actual tasks that you have to schedule with your provider, other than your routine prenatal visits (which should be about every four weeks during this period).

Your baby’s lungs are going through a very important phase of development. The lining of the lungs is beginning to thin out enough to allow for oxygen exchange.

You may be experiencing discomfort on either side of your lower abdomen (in the groin area) known as round ligament pain. The round ligaments are actual ligaments that attach from the top of the uterus to the labia. At this time, many women feel an uncomfortable pulling sensation, which tends to worsen upon standing and improve upon sitting or lying down. The good news is that after 24 weeks, round ligament pain usually goes away.

At this time your baby is regularly swallowing large amounts of amniotic fluid, and excreting urine back into the amniotic cavity. The baby’s fingernails are almost fully formed, and he has started to grow eyelashes and eyebrows. The lanugo is turning from a pale color to a darker hue.

By 24 weeks, your baby is considered viable. This means survival on the outside is possible, although the baby would need a great deal of medical attention. The top of your uterus is usually at or above the level of your belly button.

At the end of this period, your baby weighs about 1 pound, 5 ounces (600 g) and measures about 12 inches (30 cm) long.