You’re 23 weeks pregnant!
Your pregnancy is in full swing and your baby is growing quickly.
At 23 weeks pregnant, you may notice you are gaining weight steadily each week, which is to be expected as your baby is growing and developing rapidly.
Sticking to a balanced diet and moderate exercise will help you stay in a healthy weight range throughout the rest of your pregnancy. Avoid sugars and grains to help prevent extra weight gain and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
You’re quite likely to be busy between keeping up with your normal life and preparing for life with baby.
You may still be feeling very energetic (in your excitement and nerves), or you may have started to feel your energy wane a bit lately.
If so, it might be time to take it easy on the weekends — but don’t forget to continue to get some regular exercise! Even if it’s just a walk for 20-30 minutes, it offers so many benefits to emotional and physical health.
Moderate exercise, like walking or swimming, will help you to have more energy throughout your pregnancy. It can also ease some of your aches and pains, while having the added benefit of helping you stay in a healthy weight gain range. Regular exercise keeps your upper leg and pelvic muscles strong (which will be useful when it comes time to give birth) and improves circulation, which helps prevent constipation, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles.
23 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
Indigestion and heartburn are significant parts of your life when you’re 23 weeks pregnant. Your uterus is above your belly button now and pushing up against your stomach and your oesophagus. By the end of your pregnancy, you may have lost as much as 5cms of space in these areas.
In addition, your progesterone levels are very high. High levels of progesterone cause the stomach to empty into the small intestine more slowly and delay the closing of the activity between the stomach and the oesophagus. This causes acids to build up in the stomach and back up into the oesophagus. Over the counter heartburn medicines are safe for you. If these aren’t enough to manage your symptoms, talk to your doctor. Avoid eating right before bed, as lying down makes the symptoms worse.
Around this time, you may notice the start of a dark line down the centre of your belly, called a linea nigra. It’s actually always been there, but pregnancy is causing hyper pigmentation that makes it noticeable. It will fade after baby is born.
23 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
Baby’s skin is beginning to thicken and turn more opaque. It will also begin to get pinker as capillaries form. All of your baby’s muscles are working and beginning to coordinate so you might even notice more definite movements rather than the fluttering feeling.
In your baby’s lungs a special substance is starting to be produced in preparation for breathing air after birth. This substance is called surfactant and if a mother goes into preterm labour (before 36 weeks) she is usually given steroids by injection to help baby to increase surfactant levels.
Your baby can hear really well now and can feel your movement. You may notice in the weeks to come your baby is quieter during that day when you are moving around – your body movements are soothing and comforting.
This week, your baby probably weighs between 370 and 566 grams, and is about 28-31 cm long – the size of a large grapefruit.