Wow, you’re in month six at twenty three of pregnancy! Once a twinkle in your eye, your fetus’ birthday is looming large with only 17 weeks to go, approximately.
About a month from the start of the third trimester, your current reality features a barrage of varying symptoms. But you might still have energy, so why not make progress on your to-do list before third-trimester fatigue arrives?
Preterm labour is something your doctor might spoken to you about already. Babies born at 23 weeks are highly premature and unprepared for the real world. But they have a higher survival rate than younger fetuses. If you’re at high risk for complications, be extra cautious over this time.
Don’t go anywhere as we delve into the best and worst moments of the second trimester. Need a quick recap of week 23? Look at our FAQS at the bottom of the page.
At a Glance: Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy
- A 23-week-old fetus is about the size of a grapefruit, measuring 30 centimetres head-to-heel.
- Depending on your preferred unit of measurement, they weigh slightly over the one-pound mark or 500 grams.
- Presently, baby skin in the womb appears considerably translucent, wrinkly and red.
- Your skin is currently sun sensitive and may be potentially super reactive to hormones.
- This week’s tips for tired mama’s include lapping up vitamin D and destressing.
Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy Overview
Your grapefruit-sized fetus is going through a growth spurt, so be prepared for more symptoms!
You know about quickening and might be discovering what makes your baby move and when they’re most active.
Are there patterns to baby kicks when you’re 23 weeks pregnant? Like everything else in pregnancy, it can be challenging to pin down exact timelines when it comes to predicting milestones. You might notice kicking somewhat regularly or feel the occasional fluttering at random intervals.
Remarkable developments occur within the brain, which is not only evolving, but also physically expanding. With your baby becoming increasingly responsive to sight, sounds, and touch, their senses are maturing rapidly. The brain structure is also becoming more defined, and its actual mass is growing. Furthermore, neurons continue to connect and form complex neural networks. Your baby’s reflexes, such as swallowing and sucking, improve as a result, which is crucial for breastfeeding and breathing.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy
Now the size of a grapefruit, your baby’s gone up another few centimetres, reaching a height of 30 centimetres. They’ve also crossed the 500-gram growth barrier. They still have much to gain before leaving the womb but are heavier and longer now.
You can expect another growth spurt soon, but here are the latest womb updates until then:
- Your little one’s face looks more baby-like than ever; but those cheeks lack fat folds.
- Your baby’s skin is wrinkly, red, and fairly transparent but becomes less so over time.
- Building from last week, your baby’s moving a lot, and you might notice a unique pattern emerging. Don’t worry if you haven’t felt your baby’s first movement – first pregnancies or the placenta location might impact when quickening occurs.
- The maturation of the baby’s five senses continues into week 23. Your baby’s more alert to noises, recognising and hearing more sounds outside the womb. Their tastebuds are expanding, allowing them to differentiate between tastes.
- You might see lanugo, the first fetal hair that protects your baby in the womb, on-screen if the fuzz is dark enough by the back, shoulders or tailbone. The colour of lanugo can vary between light and dark depending on genetics.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises fetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy
Pregnancy might seem like an endless attack of symptoms, with all areas of the body, from head to toe, affected.
This week, you might notice sore eyes, skin changes, foggy brain, and experience common offenders like heartburn, constipation, weight gain and more.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Eye Problems
While your baby’s eyesight grows sharper, yours might be taking strain. Blurry vision could be related to pregnancy hormones, but just incase, contact your eye doctors to rule out severe health conditions, such as low blood pressure or diabetes.
2. Skin Changes
Sometimes, pregnant skin can be imperfect. It’s common to face various conditions, like acne, oiliness, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks and sun sensitivity.
Fortunately, you can protect your skin and treat issues without harming your unborn child. But steer clear from more serious medications, such as Roaccutane, which has been shown to cause birth defects and can harm your baby.
3. Dental Health Problems
Gingivitis is an oral health condition affecting the gums that a lot of pregnant women experience.
It won’t heal by itself and progressively worsens without necessary dental treatment. Unbearable tooth pain is also common!
4. Head Aches
As your baby gets bigger and shifts your spine, muscle tension in the surrounding areas of the neck, upper back, and shoulders may cause splitting head pain.
Of course, recurring headaches might be due to stress, dehydration and other signs of poor health.
5. Braxton Hicks Contractions
Don’t be deceived by Braxton Hicks’s contractions; you’re not in labour yet, and hopefully, that won’t be for many weeks.
Although false labour contractions might feel strong, they’re often mild compared to the real deal. They should pass if you stand up or move around.
We explain Braxton Hicks Contractions and why you experience them in our week 21 guide.
6. Digestive Issues
Hormones might wreak havoc on your digestive system throughout pregnancy, leaving you blocked up, gassy and bloated. If you’ve had digestive upsets from early pregnancy, you may have learned how to manage them. Still, not having control over these functions can be uncomfortable or even embarrassing.
Breathlessness might feel concerning, but it is another harmless pregnancy symptom.
High progesterone levels might interfere with your respiratory functioning, causing shortness of breath. Other possible causes include an expanding uterus pressing into your diaphragm, reducing your lung’s capacity to expand properly and breathe deeply.
Should you ever be concerned? Get checked out if you experience other worrying symptoms.
How do you tell apart everyday pregnancy experiences with potentially harmful health issues? In week nine, we discussed pregnancy red flags and when to seek medical attention.
Pregnancy includes endless symptoms, so it’s normal to experience other discomforts that aren’t listed above.
Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
Life might be uncomfortable with symptoms building up. Or we could be wrong. You might be coping well and up for some baby preparation.
Whether you’re healthy and raring to go or struggling, why not enjoy some downtime this week? Other family members on “Team Baby” can shop, do chores, make appointments and more, allowing you time to rest.
1. Spend Time in the Sun
Bask in the sunlight and soak up some vitamin D, but remember to protect pregnant skin with sun cream.
Vitamin D, made by the body when exposed to sunlight, is crucial for promoting healthy fetal development and preventing vitamin D deficiencies in adults.
The time you should spend outside depends on how much vitamin D your body needs and is influenced by your skin type, the time of day and the season. Women with darker skin, being more vulnerable to deficiencies, need more Vitamin D, especially while pregnant.
But what if you’re going through a winter pregnancy with fewer daylight hours and weak sunshine that doesn’t quite warm your skin? In that case, we’ve got three words for you: light therapy lamps.
Light therapy lamps treat depression, seasonal affective disorder and other mood disorders, especially during the colder months. However, you can also use them for vitamin D absorption if you’re not getting enough of the mineral naturally. We like this one!
2. Prioritise Eyecare
Unfortunately, pregnancy can affect your eyesight.
Here’s what you should do if you’re experiencing troubling vision.
- Have your eyesight tested.
- Undergo regular examinations over your pregnancy if you have pre-existing eye issues.
- Delay getting new prescriptions, contacts and Lasik eye surgery while pregnant; wait until you’re post-partum.
- Tell your doctor about your symptoms. Impacted vision could be evidence of a bigger health issue.
3. Delay Making Life Changes
Life’s soon to change pretty drastically. Having a baby is a major life upheaval, so we don’t recommend changing jobs or moving.
4. Discuss Leave With Your Partner
How much leave will you take when the baby arrives? What about your partner?
Typically, maternity leave is longer than paternity leave, with the latter providing fathers with two consecutive weeks once the baby’s born.
However, shared parental leave in the UK permits the mother to share her leave with the baby’s other parent.
This law allows both parents to take a maximum of six months’ leave together or stagger it across the offspring’s first year of life. With this rule granting more than the standard 10/14 days for dads, they have more time to spend with their offspring.
Have a discussion about this with your partner. Do you want to take leave with them? Are you concerned about being away from the workspace for too long? Are there financial concerns involved?
5. Identify Your Support Structure if You’re a Single Parent-To-Be
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Truer words haven’t been spoken, especially if you’re a solo parent.
Consider the support you might get from close family and friends when you become a parent. Are your parents close by to help during a tough first few months? Are there services offered in your area to help new mums on their own?
Finding parent support networks you can contact once your bundle of joy arrives might also be a good idea.
6. Limit Your Coffee; Remain Nicotine and Alcohol-Free
Pregnancy can be highly stressful, considering everything you’ve gone through and will experience once your child arrives. It’s natural to seek ways to ease anxiety.
Coffee during pregnancy is fine to enjoy in moderation, but limit yourself to 200 mg daily, which is roughly equivalent to two cups of instant coffee.
Cigarettes might have helped you through anxiety previously, but taking a drag during pregnancy is highly risky. Pregnancy might be your opportunity to kick the harmful habit anyway.
Can you not drink the smallest amount of vino? Over the years, there have been conflicting messages about whether the odd drink is allowed when you’re expecting. However, recent studies show that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink. If you miss beer or wine, have you tried non-alcoholic brands?
Do I Need an Ultrasound for Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy?
Another ultrasound might be scheduled within the next couple of weeks as you enter the third trimester.
With your baby’ growing and gaining weight, you can expect to see your baby’s features more clearly on the next scan.
4D scans are valuable for detecting health abnormalities but might pose unnecessary risks if they’re used solely for entertainment purposes. If you’re considering one, read our article on 4D scans to decide, or consult with an expert to confirm whether it’s safe.
You’ve had genetic screenings and tests done and received the results by now. Are there other health tests you should consider? Yes, read on.
- A glucose test: gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy when your body struggles to produce enough insulin or use the hormone correctly to regulate blood sugar levels. A glucose test checks for gestational diabetes, which involves drinking something sweet and have your blood sugars monitored.
- Blood tests for anaemia: You may become anaemic during pregnancy if your body needs more iron than what is produced. A blood test checks haemoglobin levels, a protein in the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen. A low haemoglobin reading may indicate anaemia.
- Blood pressure Monitoring: high blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious illness that requires medical attention. Regular vital checks during pregnancy are essential, especially if you have pre-existing conditions that elevate the risk of high blood pressure.
FAQ Sections: Week Twenty Three of Pregnancy
All your pregnancy questions about week 23 answered.
1. How Big Is My Baby?
It’s worth mentioning that the size of a 23-week-old fetus varies, but on average, it should measure 30 centimetres from head to heel.
2. How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
Five hundred grams, half a kilogram, or just over one pound!
3. Will I Feel My Baby This Week?
If your baby hasn’t kicked yet, this week might be your week. A first pregnancy or placenta location might delay the first fetal movements, but you’ll feel them sooner or later!
4. What Is My Baby Doing This Week?
Your baby’s five senses are maturing every day; they can hear various sounds, differentiate between flavours, respond to light and more.
5. What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
You might notice a pattern emerging over your baby’s kicks and movement. Lanugo, the fine fetal hair that grows over the body, might grow darker.
6. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Symptoms and Body Changes at Week Twenty Three?
Vision problems, skin issues, a dodgy gut and breathlessness might be some of the symptoms you’re struggling with.
7. What Are Some Good Week 23 Pregnancy Tips and Tricks?
Take a week off from baby planning to relax – sit in the sun, indulge your tastebuds with non-alcoholic drinks, and put off making life-altering plans while pregnant.
Fun Facts for Pregnancy Week Twenty-Three
- Did you know that “placenta” is the Latin word for cake? Ancient Roman texts mention the placenta, a round flat cake with pecorino cheese and honey. This unique pregnancy organ was named “placenta” because its flat and round shape resembles the sweet Roman dessert. It also brings new (literal) meaning to the turn of phrase “have your cake and eat it too” because some mothers sometimes choose to eat the placenta.
- Your uterus is more powerful than the most muscular bodybuilder. It needs to be, considering it’s job to push a baby into the world. Remember that whenever you start to criticise your post-partum body what it’s capable of is truly awe-inspiring.
Week Twenty-Three of Pregnancy Checklist
- Suns out bumps out – enjoy the sunshine and time outdoors!
- Buy some good quality sunscreen – pregnancy skin burns easily.
- Visit an eye specialist if you have vision problems
- Discuss leave with your partner.
- Book a glucose test and anaemia screening, and monitor your blood pressure if necessary.
- Wait around for our week 24 article!