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Pregnancy At Week 24

Pregnancy At Week 24

Pregnancy is a challenging time for the mother, her partner, and the growing fetus. Being a critical phase for the development, of the baby’s respiratory system and the prevalent risks of complexities from Gestational diabetes, the 24th week is one of the crucial time periods during pregnancy.

Development of mother’s body

The top of the uterus can be felt about 2 inches (5 cm) above the belly button and is about the size of a soccer ball. These symptoms are common during 24th week of pregnancy:

  • The skin around abdomen and breasts might get dry and itchy since it is stretched.
  • The eyes may feel more sensitive and dry.
  • Slight heartburn or gastritis may be experienced.

Status of baby’s growth

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Human Fetus Week 24

    The baby has a weight of about 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) and is about a foot (30 cm) tall: roughly the size of an ear of corn. The skin of the baby is translucent. The baby’s brain, facial muscles, and taste buds are still in the developmental phase.

    This period is very crucial for the baby’s respiratory system since it goes through very drastic changes. The lungs develop branches of the respiratory tree and the cells that produce surfactant. Surfactant is a substance that assists the air sacs in inflating while in an external environment. Into 24 weeks of pregnancy, the issues such as unplanned pregnancies are left well behind and the couple are only looking forward to welcoming the baby to their world.

    Possible risks

    As we already said, the 24th week of pregnancy is an important time; if proper measures and actions are not taken during this period, it might be risky for both the mother and the baby, and can bring complications. Some of the risks are as follows:

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    Complexities due to Gestational diabetes

    Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition during pregnancy. Approximately 2-5% of women will develop Gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. The major symptoms of Gestational diabetes are:

    • High sugar amount in urine
    • Excessive thirst and hunger
    • Frequent urination
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea

    Untreated diabetes might be followed by following complications:

    • Difficulties during vaginal delivery: Diabetes causes the baby to grow too large, mainly in its upper body which increases the risk of difficulties during delivery. In some cases, the delivery becomes so difficult that a cesarean section needs to be performed.
    • Complications with the baby:The baby is under a risk of developing a disproportionate body with an unusually large upper body. It might also have other complications like low blood sugar after its birth.

    Between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, the placenta produces large amounts of hormones that may cause insulin resistance, so it is recommended to check for and take actions against Gestational diabetes during this period.

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    Respiratory problems in the baby

    This period is when the respiratory system of the baby undergoes drastic changes and the system is not yet strong enough to save itself from respiratory problems like pneumonia, asthma, respiratory tract infection, etc.

    Excessive dryness and irritation in the mother

    Dryness in the skin and the eyes of the mother is common during this time. If not taken proper care of, this can lead to long-term irritation and dryness in the eyes and the skin.

    Tips to alleviate the risks

    The following measures can be taken in order to avoid the probable risks and to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy at week 24:

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    Check for Gestational diabetes

    It is recommended to run a Glucose Screening Test or Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) around the 24th week of pregnancy. In case of a positive GCT result, the mother will have to take another test called Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT)/ If the mother is diagnosed with diabetes, she should consult the doctor to avoid further complications.

    Avoid respiratory hazards

    The mother should avoid exposure to smoke, dust, cold, bacteria and other respiratory hazards because the developing respiratory system of the baby is prone to various kinds of respiratory diseases.

    Use a hot sauna bath

    A hot sauna bath helps in reducing pregnancy aches and helps the body muscles of the mother to relax. It also enhances natural growth hormone production which ensures proper growth and development of the baby. It is also known that spending time in a sauna results in a reduction in the insulin and blood glucose level, which can be used as a control measure against Gestational diabetes.

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    Yoga saunas are even better as they combine the benefits of yoga and the sauna. However, one should be careful not to spend too much time in the sauna and/or under higher temperature locations which may cause the body to overheat and even cause genetic abnormalities in the baby.

    Featured photo credit: First Pregnancy photo session by Benjamin Magana via flickr.com

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    Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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    Published on May 21, 2021

    Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

    Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

    Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

    If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

    How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

    Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

    • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
    • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
    • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
    • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
    • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

    Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

    Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

    Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

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    You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

    Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

    Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

    Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

    • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
    • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
    • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
    • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
    • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

    Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

    Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

    There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

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    • Excessive sleepiness during the day
    • Difficulty waking up on time
    • Hyperactivity
    • Depression
    • Inattention
    • Mood swings
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Irritability
    • Impatience
    • Impulse control

    As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

    How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

    Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

    For Babies

    Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

    Gentle Sleep Training

    This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

    Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

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    Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

    2. Sleep With Parental Presence

    With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

    Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

    More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

    You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

    Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

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    • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
    • Block blue light exposure.
    • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
    • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
    • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
    • Avoid late afternoon naps
    • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
    • Feed baby right before bed.
    • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

    For Elementary-Aged Children

    It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

    These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

    • Offer them a nutritious snack.
    • Bathe them.
    • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
    • Read them a story.
    • Sing them a song.
    • Cuddle or massage them.
    • Talk about the day.

    For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

    For Teens

    They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

    • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
    • Limit screen time.
    • Avoid late-night binging.
    • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
    • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
    • Talk through problems.

    Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

    Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

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    Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
    [2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
    [3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
    [4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
    [5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
    [6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
    [7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
    [8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
    [9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
    [10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

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