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Your Baby at Week 23
Fetal Weight Gain
At around 11 inches long and just over a pound, this week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain.
Your baby should double his weight over the next four weeks alone (and you may feel as though you do, too).
His skin is a bit saggy since it grows a lot faster than fat — but soon he’ll start to fit his frame as fat deposits fill things out.
By the time your baby is born, he will be pleasantly plump and filled out, from chubby cheeks to chubby toes.
And although at 23 weeks pregnant, your baby’s organs and bones are visible through his skin (which has a red hue due to developing veins and arteries beneath), he’ll become less transparent once those fat deposits settle in.
23 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 23 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 6 of your pregnancy.
Only 3 months left to go! Still have questions? Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
You Can Hear Baby’s Heartbeat Through a Stethoscope
You’ve probably heard your developing baby’s heartbeat through a Doppler a number of times already (though you never get tired of hearing it), but by now you can also hear it through a standard stethoscope. What a heartthrob!
Your Body at Week 23
Yes, the baby you’re expecting is cozily ensconced in your abdomen — yet, by now you’ve probably noticed that pregnancy affects you head to toe (and pretty much everywhere in between).
At 23 weeks pregnant, your mind is fuzzy (this is your brain…this is your brain on progesterone) and your toes (well, your feet, at least) are growing.
The palms of your hands and soles of your feet might be red and you might be more prone to heat rash and skin tags.
Stretch marks are blooming in vibrant shades of pink and purple on pretty much every available surface of skin and…wait! What’s that funky dark line running down the center of your belly?
Believe it or not, it’s called the “dark line” — or linea nigra.
A common emblem of pregnancy that’s more noticeable in darker-skinned women, the linea nigra, which runs between your belly button and your pubic area, is caused by the same pregnancy hormones responsible for all the skin discolorations you might be seeing.
Like the darker shade of your areolas and the deeper tone of the freckles on your arms and legs.
Some women (again, more often the darker-skinned ones) notice discoloration on the face too, especially in the area around the nose, forehead, cheeks and eyes.
It’s called the mask of pregnancy (or melasma) because it appears as a mask-like configuration on the face.
Rest assured, you won’t be playing masquerade for much longer.
All these skin changes will fade within a few months after delivery.
In the meantime, bring on the concealer (though not the bleaching creams, which won’t work anyway).
Learning To Relax
Is your growing bundle of joy making you a quivering bundle of nerves? Breathe, baby, breathe!
Now’s a great time to learn some soothing relaxation techniques — not just because they can help you cope with pregnancy worries (and, soon, with labor contractions), but because they’ll come in handy in your life as a new mom (for the times when the baby’s on a crying marathon, your spouse is working late, you just burned the last clean pot and your mother’s on the phone…again).
Yoga’s a fabulous de-stresser, if you have time to take a class. But here’s a pregnancy meditation technique you can use just about anywhere, anytime, to soothe your soul:
1. Sit with your eyes closed and imagine a beautiful, peaceful scene (a sunset over your favorite beach, waves gently lapping the shore, or a serene mountain vista, complete with babbling brook, for instance).
2. Working your way up from your toes to your face, concentrate on relaxing every muscle.
Breathe slowly, deeply, only through your nose, and choose a simple word (such as “yes” or “one”) to repeat aloud every time you exhale.
Ten to 20 minutes should do the trick, though even a minute or two is better than nothing.
23 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development
You might be surprised to know that your baby can hear your voice, thanks to recent ear development.
Give her a daily treat by reading, talking, or singing to her.
Your partner can also do the same!
When you’re 23 weeks pregnant your baby is probably getting plenty of shut-eye.
Most of her snooze time — about 80 percent of it, actually — will be spent in what’s called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep.
During REM sleep your baby’s eyes move and her brain is very active.
You might not have given too much thought to the fluid that surrounds your baby in the amniotic sac, but it actually plays a very important role:
It creates the perfect environment for your baby to grow into a healthy newborn.
The fluid helps keeps her warm, and cushions her as she grows.
Experts recommend drinking lots of water during pregnancy not only to benefit your overall health but also because the water you drink actually helps form the amniotic fluid.
Mom's Body at 23 Weeks Pregnant
By the time you’re 23 weeks pregnant, you may have gained about 10 to 15 pounds of weight.
It’s always a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider periodically to make sure that your pregnancy weight gain is healthy.
If your provider determines that you’re gaining too much weight or not enough weight, he or she can offer advice to help you stay on track.
For example, if you’re gaining too much, your provider may recommend adjusting your diet and exercising more.
Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy will make it easier to slowly lose those extra pounds after you’ve given birth.
For additional help, try using our Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator.
At 23 weeks pregnant, you can probably feel your baby’s movement, although some moms-to-be may need to wait a little while longer.
At some point in the next few months, your healthcare provider may ask you to monitor your baby’s movements by doing a set of “kick counts” each day.
To do this, you would choose a time of day when your baby is usually active, and keep track of how long it takes to count 10 movements that your baby makes.
Give your provider a call if it takes more than two hours to feel these 10 movements, or if you detect any overall changes in your baby’s movement.
If you are wondering how many months pregnant you are at 23 weeks, here’s your answer: you are about six months pregnant! Just one more month and you’ll be in the home stretch, the third trimester. You’ve got this!
23 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
Aches and pains. As your belly grows and you gain weight, it’s normal to feel some aches and pains, both as you move around and when you try to rest.
At around 23 weeks pregnant, you might have sore muscles or have a mild headache from time to time.
To help relieve muscle aches and pains, try things like taking a warm bath, massaging the affected area, or applying a heating pad to the sore spot.
For headaches, lie down and apply a cool pack to your head.
For severe pains, and for headaches that don’t go away, always contact your healthcare provider.
You should also check with your provider before taking any over-the-counter pain relief medications, even for ones you used to take before you were pregnant.
You might be experiencing this symptom if you’re 23 weeks pregnant, because it’s quite common in the second and third trimesters.
What you can try is to massage your calves in long downward strokes, and to flex your foot up and down — this stretch might help resolve the cramp right away.
23 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider
Take a look at how much salt is in your diet, and make sure you’re eating salty foods in moderation.
Experts recommend consuming no more than one teaspoon of salt per day, so avoid high-sodium foods like processed meats and canned soups.
It’s important to do what you can to avoid food poisoning, and to recognize the signs of it early, as getting this kind of illness can be dangerous for your baby.
The signs of food poisoning typically include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, aches, and abdominal cramps.
If you think you have food poisoning, contact your healthcare provider right away for treatment.
Of course, your best strategy is to avoid getting food poisoning; here are some tips on how to do this:
Don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood and eggs.
Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Wash your hands well with hot, soapy water, particularly after preparing a meal.
Wash kitchen surfaces after cooking.
Unless they are cooked until steaming hot, avoid cold cuts, deli meats, and smoked or pickled fish.