At Week 23 of pregnancy, Your baby is making a big debut of hearing sounds from the outside world. The hearing sense is getting better as the baby now can not only hear what you are saying but outside voices too. The baby is now taking more space than usual, triggering symptoms like shortness in breath, struggling to maintain balance, pain, and cramps periodically and swollen feet.
What does week 23 of pregnancy look like?
Your pregnant uterus can just extend above your belly button this week. Although the increase depends on women to women. You should have probably gained up to 14 pounds by now, but that is varied according to the woman and pregnancy. Women with different BMI have difference in weight gain but this is approximate.
At 23 week of pregnancy, the movement of the baby would make you feel relieved. It is always to feel your baby moving inside, indicating that everything is okay.
Fetal development at week 23
At Week 23 of pregnancy, your baby is now more than a pound and is around 14 inches in length, almost the height of grapefruit or papaya!
The developments are more than ever and your baby is processing to learn senses and movement as they continue to become clearer
- The ear bones are now getting stronger and harder, with the baby able to hear the mother’s heartbeat.
- Eyebrows and eyelashes are forming as the eye movement gets swift and so does the vision.
- The lungs have been formed but they are still developing. The movements to breathe through the nose is being practiced, until then, the placenta provides the oxygen required.
- The hair that covers the entire body of the fetus, known as Lanugo, is darkening and can be noticed in ultrasound.
What are the symptoms?What are the symptoms?
- Swollen feet and hands
The puffiness in the feet and hand is completely normal. You have to deal with the symptoms because it is the result of the increased water retention in the body which gets collected in the hands and legs.
- Contraction and pain
The Braxton Hicks contractions are your muscles flexing, especially your pelvic muscles that are now practicing itself for the labor. These contractions are completely normal. As long as they go quickly, it is pretty normal. Drink enough water and switch positions if you feel discomfort.
- Skin discoloration
A common symptom of pregnancy during this period is having skin discoloration, more evident for women of color. A line runs through the belly button to the pelvic area. It is the hormones that cause all the discoloration, also darkening the areolas on the breasts and pubic areas.
- Heat rashes
At week 23 of pregnancy, you might notice that your palms and soles are getting red and are prone to skin rashes. The added heat and the hormones cause tension in the soles and the palms. Proper skincare and exercise can relieve you from this symptom, reducing it to the extent that it does not affect you much.
- Avoid hair treatments
If you are someone who constantly takes hair treatments, you need to reconsider it during your pregnancy. It is because your hair is infused with the hormones that can react differently to the chemicals and the heat. It is better to stay away from chemical treatments either on your hair or your body. The chemicals can penetrate through the skin, which can prove to be harmful later on.
- Try to get enough rest
At week 23 of pregnancy, In the midst of frequent contractions and pain during the night, you can feel tired during this time. It is important to make sure you take adequate rest and keep changing positions if you feel the slightest of the pain. Try sliding a pillow between your leg and use pregnancy pillows to get comfortable.
- Stay hydrated
One of the easiest things that all the moms-to-be can take care of staying hydrated. It can be hard to keep reminding yourself to take adequate water while you deal with the symptoms and visit the doctor in your normal schedule, make sure you refill your water bottle whenever you go out.
Special considerations and complications
At Week 23 of pregnancy, the uterus is prone to breeding a lot of bacteria as it is being squished by the growing pregnancy belly and it has a lot of fluid inside it, which can lead to urinary tract infection ( UTI).
There are ways in which you can avoid contracting UTIs, including drinking enough water and reducing sugared juices intake. Check the color of your urine and if it is dark, it indicates that you are not having enough fluid and at risk of getting UTIs. Clean the genitals area and wear clean undergarments. Avoid using public urinals as they are the biggest breeding ground for horrible bacterias.
Usually, At week 23 of pregnancy, the women are worried about preterm labor as they experience leakage, cramps, pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge. It is completely normal as the body prepares itself for labor in the future.
You can check with your health care if it is annoying or making you worried. The body produces a protein called fFN, known as fetal fibronectin.
The protein disappears after week 23 of pregnancy and reappears after week 38. If no fFN is found, you don’t have to worry about preterm labor anytime soon.
Visit the doctor
- If you are at the risk of preterm labor, your healthcare provider may recommend some corticosteroids injections. Injecting with steroids during pregnancy may scare you, but if the pre term delivery is unavoidable, these injections help in maturing the baby’s lungs to improve his or her survival post birth. It is one of the best advances in fetal medicine. It not only helps with controlling the preterm birth but also helps to reduce the risk of respiratory distress syndrome. You can check with your healthcare provider if you need to have these injections.
- You are most likely to schedule your prenatal visit next week or this week. The doctor will track your weight so make sure you keep a check on consistent increase in weight
- You are also most likely to get tested for gestational diabetes. Also, check with the doctor if you require a glucose screening.
Important checklist for week 23 pregnancy
- Continue taking prenatal vitamins
- Do more active yet easy exercises
- Book your prenatal visit appointment
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Get enough rest and use pillows to get comfortable
At week 23 of pregnancy, If you have reached this milestone, remember that you are 5 months pregnant already. It is important to take important decisions at this point to raise the baby, prepare yourself with the maternity leaves, and other plans that you might need to raise the baby.
This time can be stressful with hospital visits, symptoms, and child care planning taking a toll over your mental health, make sure you take enough time to take of yourself, practicing mindfulness, and staying collected.
- Healthline.com:Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms, Overview, & Health Tips You Should Know
- Medicineplus.gov: Pregnancy | Pregnant | Prenatal Care | MedlinePlus
- Womenshealth.gov: Stages of pregnancy