Skip to main content Help with accessibility

24 weeks pregnant

24 weeks pregnant + iodine Daily dairy

Summary

Within your baby’s lungs, the air sacs and blood vessels needed for normal breathing are continuing to develop. In fact, they are developed enough in week 24 of pregnancy that if your baby were to be born now, they would have a chance of surviving with the support of a neonatal unit. Iodine-rich foods, like milk, continue to support cognitive function.

Developing healthy lungs in week 24

At around 21cm1 long from crown to rump, and 600g (around 1lb 3oz)1,2 in weight, your baby is now looking more like a newborn, just on a much smaller scale3. In week 24 of pregnancy, they already have all the facial features you will see when they’re born, including eyebrows and eyelashes2. There may even be wisps of hair on their head2.

“Air sacs are developing in the lungs, ready to receive the first breath of air.”

Your baby’s respiratory system is also becoming more developed in week 24 of pregnancy, with blood vessels and air sacs continuing to develop in the lungs1. These vital organs will carry on developing throughout pregnancy and beyond birth.

 "Your baby’s development at 24 weeks"

Although your baby is now too big to be quite as acrobatic as before, they still have a very tactile relationship with their surroundings and you’ll continue to feel them move, stretch, roll and kick.

Early arrivals

Neonatal care units are so well equipped and technologically advanced that babies born in week 24 of pregnancy have a chance of survival. Before this point their lungs and organs weren't developed enough to support them, even with the help of expert medical care4. Read our article to find out more about caring for a premature baby.

the gift banner pregnancy
 the gift  of future health Learn more

Iodine for ideas

Iodine supports your baby’s cognitive function5. It also helps make your thyroid hormones6, which regulate your metabolism and keep your cells healthy7. Because of this, it should form an essential part of your balanced diet for the entire duration of your pregnancy.

“Most people can get all the iodine they need from eating healthily.”

Most people can get all the iodine they need from eating healthily. However, according to some recent research, many young women in the UK aren’t getting enough iodine in their diet8.

One important UK-based study showed that children born to mothers who were iodine deficient during pregnancy had poorer cognitive outcomes compared to children born to mothers who had a healthy intake5. Studies like this have led experts to suggest that iodine is more important in pregnancy than was previously thought5.

All women need at least 0.14mg of iodine a day9. If you’re worried about your iodine levels, speak to your doctor or midwife who may suggest taking supplements.

Next Steps

Include the following iodine-rich foods in your diet10:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Sea fish e.g. cod and haddock (avoid shark, swordfish and marlin)
  • Other pregnancy-safe seafood
  • Dried seaweed

You could also replace regular salt with iodised salt.

View references

Hide references

drop down arrow

1. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 42.

2. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. p. 261.

3. Curtis, GB, Schuler, J. Your pregnancy week by week. Cambridge: Fisher books, 2011, p. 343.

4. NHS UK. You and your baby at 21-24 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-21-22-23-24.aspx [Accessed July 2014]

5. Bath SC et al Effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Lancet 2013;382(9889):331-7.

6. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.

7. NHS UK. Vitamins and Minerals-Iodine [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Iodine.aspx [Accessed April 2014]

8. Vanderpump MP et al. Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet 2011;377(9782):2007-12.

9. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.

10. Gandy J (ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. p. 759.

Last reviewed: 14th July 2016
app

Feel prepared with our free mobile app

Our free Preparing for Birth mobile app has practical tools & expert advice helping you feel prepared for the birth of your baby.

Careliners

For advice on weight gain, to ideas for exercise and sleeping well

Our expert team of midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are here to answer your questions. Just get in touch.
Call us on 0800 996 1000

Join Aptaclub related article register

Aptaclub members get more

Join now for expertly tailored nutritional advice to support your baby’s future health.

Facebook

Join Aptaclub on Facebook

Like our Facebook page to join the thousands of mums-to-be and new mums who are discussing and sharing their experiences.

The role of sugar in pregnancy header

The role of sugar in pregnancy

Sweet tooth? Learn why a low-sugar diet is better for you and your baby during pregnancy, and read ideas for healthier alternatives.

Learn more
Vitamin C in pregnancy orange header

Vitamin C in pregnancy

Vitamin C helps to make collagen, a vital tissue in your baby’s growing body. Learn how much you need and which foods are the best sources.

Learn more
Dairy foods and pregnancy milk header

Dairy foods and pregnancy

Dairy foods provide calcium, protein and other nutrients that support your baby’s development. Learn how much dairy to aim for.

Learn more
Weight gain in pregnancy scales header

Weight gain in pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy weight gain, how much is too much? Discover the importance of your BMI and how to manage your weight.

Learn more
Zinc in pregnancy steak gammon header

Zinc in pregnancy

Zinc affects your baby’s development at a cellular level. Learn what it does, how it supports your own health, and how to get it.

Learn more

WhatsApp Welcome to Careline via WhatsApp

Our experts are available to chat Monday to Friday, 8am–8pm. 

Enter the mobile number you use for your WhatsApp account, click start, and we'll answer your questions. 

A message from our careline team is on its way to your WhatsApp account. Please allow 2 minutes for this to arrive.

Our experts are available to chat Monday to Friday, 8:00am - 8:00pm.

Your mobile number

UK mobile numbers only.

Loading