23 Weeks Pregnant

23 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

You might be surprised to know that your baby can hear your voice, thanks to recent ear development. Give her a daily treat by reading, talking, or singing to her. Your partner can also do the same!

When you’re 23 weeks pregnant your baby is probably getting plenty of shut-eye. Most of her snooze time — about 80 percent of it, actually — will be spent in what’s called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. During REM sleep your baby’s eyes move and her brain is very active.

You might not have given too much thought to the fluid that surrounds your baby in the amniotic sac, but it actually plays a very important role: It creates the perfect environment for your baby to grow into a healthy newborn. The fluid helps keeps her warm, and cushions her as she grows.

Experts recommend drinking lots of water during pregnancy not only to benefit your overall health but also because the water you drink actually helps form the amniotic fluid.

If you’re 23 weeks pregnant with twins, take a look at our twin pregnancy week-by-week guide to find out more about what your babies are up to!

The Size of the Fetus at 23 Weeks Pregnant

At 23 weeks, your fetus is about the size of an eggplant.

To get an understanding of how your little one is developing inside your uterus, check out the illustration below:

23 weeks pregnant

Mom's Body at 23 Weeks Pregnant

By the time you’re 23 weeks pregnant, you may have gained about 10 to 15 pounds of weight. It’s always a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider periodically to make sure that your pregnancy weight gain is healthy.

You can also read up on pregnancy weight gain facts and advice.

If your provider determines that you're gaining too much weight or not enough weight, he or she can offer advice to help you stay on track. For example, if you’re gaining too much, your provider may recommend adjusting your diet and exercising more.

Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy will make it easier to slowly lose those extra pounds after you’ve given birth. 

At 23 weeks pregnant, you can probably feel your baby’s movement, although some moms-to-be may need to wait a little while longer.

At some point in the next few months, your healthcare provider may ask you to monitor your baby’s movements by doing a set of “kick counts” each day. To do this, you would choose a time of day when your baby is usually active, and keep track of how long it takes to count 10 movements that your baby makes.

Give your provider a call if it takes more than 2 hours to feel these 10 movements, or if you detect any overall changes in your baby’s movement. 

If you are wondering how many months pregnant you are at 23 weeks, here's your answer: you are about six months pregnant! Just one more month and you’ll be in the home stretch, the third trimester. You’ve got this!

23 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

At 23 weeks pregnant, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • Aches and pains. As your belly grows and you gain weight, it’s normal to feel some aches and pains, both as you move around and when you try to rest. At around 23 weeks pregnant, you might have sore muscles or have a mild headache from time to time. To help relieve muscle aches and pains, try things like taking a warm bath, massaging the affected area, or applying a heating pad to the sore spot. For headaches, lie down and apply a cool pack to your head. For severe pains, and for headaches that don't go away, always contact your healthcare provider. You should also check with your provider before taking any over-the-counter pain relief medications, even for ones you used to take before you were pregnant.

  • Leg cramps. You might be experiencing this symptom if you’re 23 weeks pregnant, because it’s quite common in the second and third trimesters. What you can try is to massage your calves in long downward strokes, and to flex your foot up and down — this stretch might help resolve the cramp right away.

23 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Take a look at how much salt is in your diet, and make sure you’re eating salty foods in moderation. Experts recommend consuming no more than one teaspoon of salt per day, so avoid high-sodium foods like processed meats and canned soups.

  • It’s important to do what you can to avoid food poisoning, and to recognize the signs of it early, as getting this kind of illness can be dangerous for your baby. The signs of food poisoning typically include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, aches, and abdominal cramps. If you think you have food poisoning, contact your healthcare provider right away for treatment. Of course, your best strategy is to avoid getting food poisoning; here are some tips on how to do this: o Don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood and eggs o Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating them o Wash your hands well with hot, soapy water, particularly after preparing a meal o Wash kitchen surfaces after cooking o Unless they are cooked until steaming hot, avoid cold cuts, deli meats, and smoked or pickled fish o Read up on what you should not eat while pregnant. This article doesn’t just explore food poisoning risks, but gives you lots of other great advice too.

  • If your blood pressure is too high, your doctor may keep an eye out for preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, edema (swelling), and protein in the urine. Though this condition is more common in the third trimester, it can occur any time after 20 weeks, and catching it early is crucial. Your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose preeclampsia by checking your blood pressure and by testing your urine for protein levels. If you notice any of the symptoms of preeclampsia, including vision problems such as seeing spots, a persistent headache, sudden swelling in your feet and hands, feeling nauseous, sudden weight gain, or having trouble breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. If left untreated, preeclampsia can cause decreased blood flow to your placenta, and can affect your kidney, liver, brain, and eyes.

  • Get to know the signs of preterm labor, just in case! Preterm labor is when labor starts before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy. If your healthcare provider recognizes soon enough that you’ve gone into labor, he or she may be able to postpone the birth, giving your baby precious extra time in the womb to grow and develop. That’s why you should keep an eye out for the signs of labor and tell your provider right away if you think you’re experiencing them. Signs include a constant lower backache; vaginal discharge that is watery, mucus-like, or bloody; pressure in your pelvis; abdominal cramps; diarrhea; regular contractions; and your water breaking.

  • Do you have older children? If yes, now could be a good time to start preparing them for the arrival of their baby brother or sister. They may have lots of questions about where babies come from, so be prepared for unexpected reactions! With younger children, it may be best to tell them that you’re expecting when they ask questions about your changing body. If you’re feeling unsure about the best way to navigate this area or broach the topic, ask your healthcare provider for advice.

  • Would you consider giving your child a name based on a specific theme? Perhaps something fit for a prince or princess? Or a name inspired by your favorite flower? Or perhaps a name that sound strong and powerful, inspired by mythology? Check out these lists of baby names, curated by theme:

23 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Does loud noise affect your baby’s hearing development?

  • How can you tell if you’re doing Kegels correctly?

  • What are the benefits of reading or playing music to your baby?

  • What is the heaviest amount you can safely pick up at this point in your pregnancy? What is the safest way to lift an object?

23 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • You’ll love looking back on this time, so create lasting memories by organizing a maternity photoshoot while you still have the energy. You could hire a professional photographer, or ask a friend who you know takes lovely pictures. You could create a love-heart shape with your hands and place them over your bump, or place mini mittens over your belly. You could do the photoshoot in a beautiful outdoors spot, or in the nursery, if it’s ready. Plus, you could have some individual shots, and then have some shots with your partner or loved ones. For some extra inspiration, take our quiz to discover your maternity photoshoot style.

  • If you have time this week, read this article on pregnancy warning signs you should not ignore. It's always wise to prepared and to know what to look out for.

  • Wondering how prepared you are for your baby’s arrival? Don’t worry – you still have time to get everything as prepared as it needs to be.

  • Have a little extra energy and feel like doing something creative? Why not download these pregnancy milestone cards, and get creative with documenting each month of pregnancy. For example, you could create your baby’s first photo album and add photos of your growing belly alongside a printout of these milestone cards. This is a lovely memento that you can then share with your baby in the years to come. You can also print these cards and use them to share your pregnancy journey with your loved ones on social media.

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