At week 24 the baby is now about 8 ½ inches in length and weighs about 1 ½ pounds. More and more fat is being deposited under the skin and for a baby this is a good thing. This means the baby is filling out and starting to look like a human baby on 3D ultrasound.
24 weeks is considered the “age of viability”. Babies born at 24 weeks have about a 60% chance of survival. This is the first gestational age in which survival is greater than 50%. It is definitely not a goo thing to have the baby this early as about 50% of the survivors will have some severs disability. Because of the reasonable survival rates at 24 weeks we tend to shift our thinking at this stage in pregnancy. The baby can survive and survive intact if it is born and that can change decision making processes in tough situations. Babies born early like this need a state of the art NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to improve the chances of doing well. If your body is threatening to deliver at week 24, you may need to be transferred if the hospital you are at does not have the capability of caring for an extremely premature infant.
At week 24 if you go into preterm labor the doctors will aggressively try to stop the contractions. We can use medications such as magnesium sulfate, terbutaline, and nifedipine. These medications have some success in prolonging pregnancy in the face of preterm labor. There is a medication called betamethasone that may also be used. This is a steroid injection that is usually given twice. It helps the baby’s lung mature more quickly. It also can decrease other problems if it is given and the baby is delivered early.