Although your baby is still receiving oxygen through the placenta, once birth occurs, her lungs will start taking in oxygen on their own. In preparation for the outside world, your baby’s lungs will now begin 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 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. The inner ear, because it is part of the vestibular system, controls balance in the body.
An important prenatal test, the glucose screening, is usually performed sometime during weeks 24 to 28. The glucose screening checks for gestational diabetes, a temporary type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and can cause newborn problems such as low blood sugar.
During the glucose screening test, you’ll drink a sugary solution and then have your blood drawn. If your blood sugar levels are abnormal, you’ll have further tests, which your health care provider will discuss with you.
Usually gestational diabetes can be controlled with a strict diet (similar to the one a diabetic follows), but sometimes medication, such as daily insulin, will be needed during the course of your pregnancy.
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.