24 weeks pregnant – Does drinking alcohol affect your unborn baby?

24 weeks pregnant
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I decided to visit my hubby after work and meet up with some of my mates in the pub as I was getting bored always being at home. We were standing outside chatting because it was a really nice evening and I saw a heavily pregnant woman drinking a glass of white wine. Someone then offered her a pint of beer and she started drinking that too. I grabbed hubby’s arm and pointed to where the woman was standing and he was shocked too. I was always told that drinking while pregnant would harm the baby. Messages avoiding alcohol during pregnancy were all over the place, i.e. advertised on the TV, at the hospital, at the doctor’s, on the internet and newspapers – most of these sources said the same thing – that drinking affected unborn babies.

One of my friends told me that it was ok to drink the occasional glass of wine as it wouldn’t cause any problems and you can do everything in moderation, but drinking excessively could affect the growth of the baby’s face, organs and brain, as well as damaging the baby’s nervous system. Apart from all of that, the smell of alcohol actually makes me feel sick, so I found it really easy to give up drinking because it makes me feel nauseous.

But, how many units can you actually have during pregnancy, if any? Does it really effect the baby or is it all hearsay? Personally, if it does show to effect the baby then surely you can give up drink for nine months, right?

A fun fact – The baby is the same size as an ear of corn!

The science part

24 weeks pregnant

Your baby at 24 weeks

  • Baby is getting better at storing experiences from its sensory organs
  • Your baby will remember what you are eating, as well as the sounds coming from outside of the womb
  • Your baby is in sync with how you are feeling – when you’re happy so is baby
  • Baby can sense your stress too, so try not to overdo it. Put your feet up and find time for gentle exercise. Relax!
  • Your baby is growing eyelashes and eyebrows!
  • Your baby is also getting taller!
  • Your baby is making lots of funny faces, and opening and closing their mouth. They’re sucking their thumb too!

Your pregnancy signs and symptoms

  • You’ve been putting on weight slowly up to this point, but the most dramatic weight gain is on its way! The next six weeks you will see a jump in your weight
  • Your heart and lungs are working overtime, so don’t be surprised if you’re feeling out of breath and feel hotter than normal
  • Have you got baby brain yet? This is quite normal!
  • Your uterus is now above your belly button – you may feel your ligaments stretching and feel slight twinges. Stretch marks may appear, which is very common and gradually fade after the baby is born. Keep your skin moisturised to help your skin’s elasticity

Your next steps

  • Talk to your bump because your baby will be listening
  • Keep your iron intake up to prevent anaemia
  • You should be offered a test for gestational diabetes soon. Gestational diabetes affects around 14% of women during pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes, your midwife or GP will explain how diet and exercise can help you control it.
  • If your baby stands a chance at surviving if you gave birth now.
  • Keep your superfood diet up so baby gets the most out of your diet

Note:  These are just general ideas of how you and your baby are getting on. Don’t forget that every baby develops differently. If you are concerned about your baby’s development, please consult your doctor or midwife.

*Illustrations by Charlotte Watkins. 

If you have any questions about her work, please contact Charlotte via her website, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn*

Leyla Preston (599 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/