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23 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development


Welcome to 23 weeks pregnant, and to the beginning of the last month of your second trimester! While every baby and pregnancy is unique, here are some of the things you can expect when you're pregnant at 23 weeks.

Baby at 23 weeks pregnant

At just over a pound in weight, your baby remains delicate and tiny with almost no fat, and with translucent skin that provides a view of your baby’s organs and bones. Also, because their skin grows faster than fat develops, your baby has loose skin just waiting to get filled in. But beginning this week, your baby starts packing on the pounds and will double his or her weight by the end of this month. That fat serves to insulate your baby’s skin and make it less baggy and see-through. At this age babies’ skin begins to “keratinize,” or transform the outer layer into a protective layer of dead cells.

Over the next few weeks, your baby’s lungs will develop rapidly and s/he will practice making breathing movements (despite not having any air to breathe in utero – your baby’s oxygen comes in through the placenta). It’s all in preparation for surviving and thriving outside the womb. Thanks to advancements in medicine, a premature baby born at 23 weeks has a chance of survival, although there would likely be significant challenges and long-term complications for those children

Your baby at 23 weeks moves around a lot and you're probably feeling a great majority of these movements. It's not uncommon for babies to fall into regular sleep and wake patterns and you may even be able to predict when your baby's taking a nap and when s/he's awake. Your little’s hearing is improving as the inner ear organs develop so you might find that s/he moves around in response to your voice. Don't feel silly about talking or singing to your baby – s/he loves hearing from you!

pregnancy week 23 embryo
Weekly development of a human fetus at 23 weeks pregnant.

Your body at 23 weeks pregnant

Your body at 23 weeks pregnant has changed dramatically. You're probably gaining weight at a steady pace by now and your baby bump is definitely noticeable. Expect to gain about a pound a week in this sixth month of pregnancy. 

As you get bigger, you could be feeling like your baby is pushing up into your diaphragm. Your rib cage will expand to accommodate your baby. You might experience needing to breathe faster, but your breathlessness should be diminished. 

Throughout pregnancy, an increase in vaginal discharge is common. However, if you notice that it's thicker or yellow, it could be a sign of a yeast infection and you should talk to your doctor or midwife

If you're feeling a little stressed out when you're 23 weeks pregnant, you're not alone. Your body and emotions are dealing with some major changes, so be gentle with yourself. To help ease that stress, spend time on a favorite activity, whether it's talking with a friend, shopping, or exercising. Getting some exercise can definitely help you work through your emotions, especially during the second trimester. If you have some extra energy, consider getting the baby's nursery put together and wash things like bedding and clothes; feeling prepared for your baby’s arrival can be very calming.

23 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Most women won’t require an ultrasound at 23 weeks pregnant. But if your doctor suspects you might be at risk of preterm labor, s/he might recommend a cervical-length scan. Moms carrying multiples, who have had a previous preterm labor, or who have a history of cervical complications may have cervical-length scans as early as 16 weeks pregnant. Others are identified as at-risk during the anatomy scan. 

The cervical-length scan is a done transvaginally, with the ultrasound transducer placed in the vagina and against the cervix. If it appears that you have a shortened cervix, your doctor may prescribe daily vaginal progesterone gel applications to help prevent premature labor. 

How big is my baby at 23 weeks?

three mangoes hanging from a branch, mango is roughly the size of a 23 week human embryo

At 23 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a mango, measuring 11 inches long and weighing a little over a pound on average.

23 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're 5 months 3 weeks (5m3w) pregnant. 

Common symptoms at 23 weeks pregnant

Here are some of the symptoms you might experience at 23 weeks pregnant.

  • Leg cramps: Commonly occurring at night, spasms in the leg muscles can wake you up with their painful, annoying cramping. When leg cramps happen, try gently flexing your foot or leg, and massaging the area. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and prevent leg cramps as much as possible.
  • Wild dreams: Pregnant women often report having vivid, frequent dreams, another symptom courtesy of hormonal changes. Experts believe they occur because increased estrogen causes longer periods of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the phase of sleep when dreams most often occur.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: These false labor contractions feel like a squeezing sensation at the top of your uterus, or down in your lower abdomen or groin, as your uterus exercises its muscle and building strength in anticipation of labor. Braxton-Hicks contractions are different from true labor because they are irregular in their frequency and vary in length and intensity.
  • More stable emotions: Now that your hormones are finally evening out, you might notice you’re no longer riding an emotional roller coaster.
  • Feeling worried about labor: As your due date approaches, you might feel scared or worried about having the baby. Share your fears with your partner, and also your care provider, who can help you get a handle on what to expect and how you can best prepare for labor and delivery. 
  • Nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums
  • Sluggish digestion: Pregnancy hormones may continue to wreak havoc on your digestive system, resulting in constipation, heartburn, and indigestion.
  • Swollen breasts
  • Waddling posture: By now your weight gain has changed your center of gravity. To help your posture, consider getting some gentle exercise, such as swimming or walking.
  • Backaches
  • Skin pigmentation: Skin pigmentation, such as the linea nigra on your belly, is a common side effect of pregnancy. Any pigmentation will fade and most likely completely disappear after pregnancy.
  • Increased libido: Many women notice they feel “in the mood” more often during the second trimester. Unless your doctor says otherwise, sex is safe during pregnancy
  • Increased appetite
  • Blurred vision: This is caused by water retention and generally disappears after birth. 
  • Dry eyes: Hormones are to blame if you’re experiencing decreased tear production. Your eyes may feel dry and it can make wearing contacts less comfortable.

Pregnancy checklist at 23 weeks pregnant 

Consider crossing these tasks off the to-do list when you’re 23 weeks pregnant.

  • Learn about diaper choices. More and more parents are choosing to use cloth diapers for their babies. Of course, disposable diapers continue to be popular. Have you thought about what you want to do in the diapering department? Some families choose to use both – this doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing decision.
  • Make maternity leave plans. If you're a working mom, now's the time to get serious about your maternity leave. Make a plan with your employer so that everything is covered while you're home with the baby.
  • Do some prenatal yoga. Yoga can help you strengthen your stomach and vaginal muscles, and provide relief to an aching back. Take a class, or try these four simple moves at home. Check with your doctor before doing any new exercise in pregnancy. 

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