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24 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

106 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 24 weeks and 6 days

Your baby today

The nose is well defined and in addition to regularly swallowing the amniotic fluid your baby is breathing it in and out through each nostril. Just as adults do, your baby will tend to favor breathing more through one nostril than the other.

From this point onward, babies grow at an individual rate, which is largely influenced by their genes.

The proportions of your baby's body are becoming much closer to those of a newborn baby. Up until the third month, his head accounted for almost half of his overall length. Now his head, trunk, and legs each account for a third. At birth your baby's head will still be large in proportion compared to an adult's, but it will be just a quarter of his overall length.

Still very skinny, your baby is now starting to fill out more as fat reserves continue to be laid down. Up until this point most babies are approximately the same size and weight. Genetic and especially environmental forces increasingly come into play, influencing how quickly your baby can grow and whether his full growth potential is eventually reached.

Because different babies increasingly vary in size from this stage of pregnancy, ultrasound dating becomes less accurate at determining the number of weeks you are into your pregnancy. The best time to date the pregnancy is between 11 and 14 weeks, simply measuring top to bottom (the crown rump length) (see Your first scan). The 20-week scan (see Your 20-week Scan) also dates the pregnancy very accurately from the head and abdominal circumferences and the bone measurement in the leg.

If your first scan is at this late stage, it is only possible to estimate roughly the stage of pregnancy and age of the baby. It is never appropriate to change your due date if an earlier, more accurate scan has been performed.

It's all in the belly

The general story goes that if you're carrying your baby low, you're having a boy, if you're carrying high, then you're having a girl. The truth is, the way you carry is probably determined by the tone of your abdominal and uterine muscles as well as the position of your baby.

According to those "old wives," there are other physical clues: if you've gained weight on your face and it's round and full, you're having a girl. If your right breast is larger than your left, it's a boy-and if your partner gains weight, you're "definitely" having a girl!

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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