pregnancy at week 23

Your baby at 23 weeks is the size of a grapefruit. They are roughly 28.9cm from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length) and weigh approximately 565g. 

The developing fetus is continuing to grow and is starting to sense the world around them. Habits are also starting to form that will continue to serve them once outside of the womb.

23 weeks pregnant fetus weight and size compared to fruit

Your baby at 23 weeks 

A 23-week fetus is looking more babylike than ever. Their face is now fully formed. In the weeks to come, it will fill out with more fat – eventually turning into the cute little face you’ll see at birth.  

Here are the key developments your baby is going through this week. 

Increased movement 

Babies at 23 weeks are becoming more active than ever. When you feel your baby squirming around, take a look at your bare belly. It’s at around this time period that you might be able to actually see them moving around underneath your clothes.

Snoozing away

At 23 weeks, your baby is getting plenty of shut-eye. Most of their rest is spent in REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Just like in the human REM sleep, the fetus’ eyes will move and their brain will stay active. 

Sleep cycle

By this time, you may also start to notice that your baby has developed a sleep-wake cycle. In the weeks to come, you’ll notice this even more. There will be certain times of day when your baby is awake and kicking or sleeping peacefully. 

Your body at 23 weeks pregnant 

pregnancy week 23 belly
Image from Ignacio Campo on Unsplash

Your baby isn’t the only one going through changes. Your body is also going through a transition phase to meet the needs of your growing fetus. Here are some common symptoms associated with being pregnant at 23 weeks. 

  • Skin discoloration. Have you noticed a darkish line running between your belly button and your public area? If so, you’re not alone. This is called linea nigra, or the “dark line”. It’s a common marker of a pregnant belly and is often more noticeable in people with darker skin. As with other pregnancy-related skin discolorations, it should fade a few months after giving birth.
  • Colostrum production. This nutrient-rich milky fluid is an early form of breast milk. Your body starts to produce it between week 16 and 23 of pregnancy. Colostrum is thicker than the normal milk your body will produce later on.It’s called liquid gold, and not just because it’s yellow. Colostrum is highly concentrated with nutrients, making it the perfect first nourishment for your newborn’s tiny tummy.
    You may notice small amounts of it leaking from your breasts. Although this isn’t very common, if it does happen to you, it’s totally normal.
  • Snoring. Even if you’ve never been a snorer before, you could turn into one when pregnant. Nasal congestions, as well as swollen mucous membranes, are to blame for this nighttime annoyance. Snoring can be reduced by running a warm-mist humidifier during the night or wearing nasal strips to bed. 
  • Pregnancy brain. Do you find yourself struggling to focus on tasks or recall certain details? If so, you’re not alone. Pregnancy brain, also called “baby brain” is a very real (and sometimes frustrating) symptom of pregnancy.Experts believe it’s attributed to your body experiencing a major surge of pregnancy hormones, like progesterone and estrogen. This spike is the likely culprit of why your brain might, at times, struggle to focus or think clearly.
  • Bleeding gums. Another by-product of pregnancy is bleeding and/or swollen gums. Pregnancy hormones boost your blood flow which means your gums are more prone to swelling and bleeding. It might be worth it to buy a toothbrush with a soft bristle and be extra gentle when flossing. 

Taking care of yourself during week 23 of pregnancy 

woman drinking water during pregnancy
Image from Daria Shevtsova on pexels

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is very important. Here are a few helpful tips and advice for focusing on your wellbeing. 

  • Eat a balanced diet. Eating healthy when pregnant provides so many amazing benefits for both yourself and your unborn child. It’s associated with healthy birth weight, good brain development, and can minimize the risk of birth defects.
    It will also help you keep your energy levels up and reduce the risk of anemia and other unwanted pregnancy symptoms.Focusing on a balanced diet refers to eating a wide variety of foods. This ensures you’re getting a nice range of nutrients. Also, rather than eating three larger meals a day, you may find it much more comfortable to eat five small meals.
  • Keep hydrated. It’s so important to keep hydrated when you’re pregnant. You need extra fluid to flush out waste and toxins, form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, and build new tissue.
    When pregnant, it’s recommended that you drink between 8 and 12 glasses of water per day, or around 2.3 liters.
  • Get a bit of sun. Spending time outdoors comes with a whole host of benefits. Research shows that it’s good for your mental health, and the sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. This particular vitamin allows us to better absorb calcium and phosphate.

    A bit of sun exposure is also good for your baby. It helps with their bones, kidneys, heart, and brain development.
  • Stay active. Keeping active during pregnancy is one of the best ways to take care of your body. It’s amazing for your wellbeing and can help you build stamina for labor and delivery. It can also decrease your chances of developing certain pregnancy symptoms, like back pain, gestational diabetes, and swelling.Walking, swimming and pregnancy safe yoga are a few activities that can be enjoyed during all trimesters.

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