Your baby is still receiving oxygen through the placenta. But once birth occurs, his or her lungs will start taking in oxygen on their own. In preparation for that, your baby's lungs are developing the ability to produce surfactant. Surfactant is a substance that keeps the air sacs in our lungs from collapsing and sticking together when we exhale, allowing us to breathe properly.
Because the inner ear — which controls balance in the body — is now completely developed, your baby may be able to tell when he or she is upside down or right side up while floating and making movements in the amniotic fluid.
An important prenatal test, glucose screening, is usually performed sometime during weeks 24 to 28. The glucose screening test checks for gestational diabetes, a temporary type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and can cause problems in the newborn, such as low blood sugar. Gestational diabetes may also increase the chances that a woman would need a cesarean section because it can lead to the growth of very large babies.
During the glucose screening test, you'll drink a sugary solution and then have your blood drawn. If your blood sugar levels are too high, you'll have further tests, which your health care provider will discuss with you. Gestational diabetes usually can be controlled by eating a well-planned diet and getting regular exercise, but sometimes medication, such as daily insulin, will be needed during the pregnancy.
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