Baby Growth at 23 Weeks Pregnant
A big growth spurt occurs this week as your baby has grown to the size of a large grapefruit. At around 12 inches long, your baby about 1.25 pounds in month 6 of your pregnancy journey, and its face has now fully formed.
Your baby can also hear outside sounds such as a leaf blower clearing the streets. While these noises will still be muffled by layers of skin, uterus, and amniotic fluid, this is an incredibly exciting step in your baby’s developmental stage. Did you know that at first, your baby can hear only lower-pitched sounds? This means they can hear male voices much more clearly than female voices - sorry mom!
During this time small capillaries have been forming, giving your baby’s skin a less translucent, pinker look. This pink tone is true in all skin colors as a result of the developing veins and arteries right underneath your baby’s thin skin. Baby’s skin is also sagging a bit waiting for more fat to develop, and in the next several weeks your baby will start to fill out even more as fat continues to deposit all around.
While your baby sleeps they will be very quiet. Once awake, you might feel them getting quite active, throwing a few punches to your stomach every so often. You may even start to notice that your baby develops a sleep and awake routine that they could even continue to follow after birth. So if your baby is kicking a lot at night, be prepared as they might follow this routine in the real world. Just remember, if you start seeing your t-shirt move, it’s just your little one dancing inside! I wonder what song they’re dancing to?
You And Your Body at 23 Weeks Pregnant
Your mind might start to feel more fuzzy in these upcoming weeks – don’t fret – this is completely normal thanks to the key pregnancy hormone, progesterone. It is very common to experience blurred vision and carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Your feet and ankles can become more swollen too, and you may also start to see stretch marks forming around your stomach.
An average pregnancy belly at 23 weeks ranges from 21 to 25 centimeters from your pubic bone to the very top of your uterus, your doctor will measure this at your next visit as a way to track baby’s growth. You can expect to gain around 12-15 pounds and if you are carrying twins you may have gained 20-23 pounds; hang in there!
Other body changes include Braxton Hicks contractions, backaches, abdominal aches, leg cramps, migraines, constipation, and the linea nigra. This is just another beautiful indicator of the life you are growing inside of you.
Now that you have reached week 23, you’ll still only see your OB once a month, so while each week is a big step in your pregnancy, you may not have a doctor's appointment or ultrasound at this time. Take it as some time off from the doctors, as you will soon be spending more time there the closer you are to labor day!
Typical Symptoms at Pregnancy 23 Weeks
Common symptoms include fetal activity like spontaneous punches and kicks from your little one. These are in addition to swollen feet and ankles, overall bloating, backaches, bleeding and/or swollen gums, and Braxton Hicks contractions.
It can be a confusing and slightly worrying sensation when you notice your belly getting super tight while your muscles contract. This is referred to as Braxton Hicks contractions and commonly occurs during week 23. The reason these contractions occur is because your body and muscles are practicing for labor and the sensations you will feel on this magical day. It’s another symptom that is just part of the course of pregnancy.
One of the most common symptoms of pregnancy is – you guessed it – backaches! As your baby grows and starts to add more pressure on your spine it soon stresses your back muscles. Backaches are incredibly common, but if you start to feel sharp unbearable pains, get checked out.
Consult with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms (which could be signs of preterm labor): an significant increase in vaginal discharge or a change in discharge (including bleeding or spotting), abdominal or menstrual-like cramping or more than 4 contractions in an hour, increased pressure in the pelvic area, or lower back pain (if you’ve never experienced it before this point).
Pregnancy Week 23 Tips and Advice
As it is very common to experience swollen ankles and feet, we recommend putting your feet up when you can, taking regular walks, getting fresh air outside, and as always, drinking lots of water. Remember to stretch along with your exercise, and don’t stay in one position for too long. You may consider support stockings or compression socks to help during this time. If your fingers are starting to swell, you may want to remove your rings now. You might choose to wear them around your neck so they don’t get stuck on your fingers in upcoming weeks!
Since you are more than halfway through your pregnancy, it is important to start finalizing your maternity leave and time off once your baby is born so you are prepared and ready to give them the attention and care they need. Lastly, get as much sleep as possible because once that baby comes your bedtime routine is going to be very different.
Try sleeping with a pillow between your legs and resting with your knees bent if you’re having trouble sleeping and and/or are experiencing back pain. If you’re experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, try the following: gently shaking out your joints, taking stretch breaks, and propping your arms up at night.
A few other considerations to keep in mind are working with a doula, who is a trained labor coach equipped to help you with delivery and labor. If you hadn’t previously considered a doula and are now re-thinking, this second trimester is a good time to start your research and talk to your doctor. Lastly, try nursing pads if you are experiencing milk leakage from your breasts.
In terms of finances, this is a good week to touch base with your health insurance company to see how you are currently covered. If there are any adjustments that need to be made try and do them around this time so that you can feel more assured that a key part of your finances is sorted before delivery day.