23rd Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development And Bodily Changes

23rd week pregnancy

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 23 Weeks?

At 23 weeks, you are in the sixth month of pregnancy and will be entering the third trimester in a few weeks.

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How Big Is Your Baby At 23 Weeks?

In this week, your baby is about the size of a large mango (1). The baby measures 11.38in (28.9cm) in length and weighs 1.1lb (501g) (2).

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Baby Development In The 23rd week

The baby’s movements are more prominent this week, and you can feel the kicks getting stronger. The baby’s body parts also continue to develop this week.

Body organsDevelopment
Face (3)Fully formed.
NipplesDeveloping.
Bone marrow (4)Begins making blood cells.
LungsDeveloping. Alveoli are growing (5). Starts producing surfactants that help baby stay inflated after a breath (6).
SkinFat starts depositing beneath the skin, which is loose and wrinkled (7).
Eyes (8)Rapid eye movements begin.
ReflexesBaby starts gripping and gets startled.
Hair (6)Begins to develop color.
PancreasStarts developing insulin.

With these developments, you will notice specific pregnancy symptoms this week.

[ Read: 25th Week Pregnancy ]

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What Symptoms Of Pregnancy Do You Experience In The 23rd Week?

Symptoms you experience in the 23rd week are:

  • Weight gain, ideally according to the BMI (9).
BMIBelow 18.518.5 – 24.925 – 29.930 and Above
Weight gain (pounds)12-1810-177-135-10
  • Edema or water retention causes slight swelling in feet and ankles.
  • The growing fetus demands more nourishment that increases your appetite and makes you feel hungry all the time.
  • Due to hormonal changes, the nasal membranes cause increased secretion of the mucus causing nasal congestion.
  • Nasal congestion due to swollen mucus membrane leads to snoring.
  • The pressure put by the growing uterus on the bladder increases the frequency of urination.
  • The extra weight of the baby puts more pressure on the lower back causing a backache. It may be more painful in women carrying multiple babies.
  • The hormonal fluctuations cause swelling, loosening, or bleeding of the gums.
  • Progesterone relaxes the gastrointestinal tract and slows down the digestion process. So the food stays in the tract for a long time, making you feel bloated.
  • Swelling during pregnancy puts pressure on the nerves in the wrists and hand, causing a tingling in the hands, also called carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • The increased blood flow in the lower body causes the veins in the legs to swell up, resulting in varicose veins.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular contractions that are less painful. They prepare your body for labor.
  • The hormonal fluctuations increase the vaginal discharge that protects the uterus by preventing any bacteria from entering the vagina.
  • Dehydration or staying hungry can lead to occasional headaches.

These symptoms bring in emotional and physical changes in you.

[ Read: 26th Week Pregnant ]

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Changes In The Body At 23 Weeks

Here are some physical and emotional changes you may experience this week:

Physical changes:

  • Enlarged belly with a protruding belly button
  • Stretch marks
  • Discoloration of skin, as some dark patches develop due to increased melanin. Linea nigra also gets darker.
  • Nipples become darker and bigger.

Emotional changes:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

If you experience any other changes that are not typical of pregnancy, call the doctor.

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When To Call The Doctor

Call your doctor right away in the case of (10):

  • A contraction in every 10 minutes (five or more in an hour)
  • Fluid leak from the vagina, due to rupture of the amniotic sac
  • Period-like cramps
  • A low and dull backache
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
  • An unusual increase in vaginal discharge
  • Blood from vagina

Some of these symptoms or others may indicate preterm labor. Next, find out how to identify the signs and symptoms of preterm labor at 23 weeks.

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Preterm Labor At 23 Weeks Of Pregnancy

A pregnant woman is at the risk of preterm labor between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy (11). There are only 10-35% chances of survival if the baby is born during this week. The percentage of any disability in babies born at 23 weeks is 61% whereas severe impairment is 17%. (12).

[ Read: 27th Week Pregnancy ]

Risk factors for preterm labor include (13):

  • Abnormalities of reproductive organs, such as a short cervix
  • Previous preterm labor
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pregnancy with multiple babies
  • Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Certain developmental abnormalities in the fetus
  • High blood pressure
  • Being underweight or obese before pregnancy
  • Pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization
  • A short time gap between pregnancies (less than six months)
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar) and gestational diabetes (which occurs only during pregnancy)
  • Rupture of the uterus if you have had a prior c-section or have had a uterine fibroid removed
  • Placenta previa
  • Women of the African race
  • Age of the mother (less than 18 years and more than 35 years)
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs
  • Exposure to certain environmental pollutants
  • Domestic violence including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Stress
  • Lack of social support
  • Long working hours that require long periods of standing

If you notice any unusual symptoms, tell your doctor about it immediately. Otherwise, schedule the weekly prenatal OB/GYN visit.

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Your OB/GYN Visit

During the prenatal visit the doctor will check:

  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Fetal heart rate with a fetoscope

An ultrasound may also be done to get comprehensive details of the fetal anatomy. However, it may not give details about all the organs. It detects any congenital defects or abnormalities in the fetus (14).

Based on the tests, the doctor will tell you about any changes needed in your diet or lifestyle. You should also continue to take care of yourself at home so that the pregnancy progresses smoothly.

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Tips For Mom-to-be

Here are the tips to follow for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Drink fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat home cooked food. Include salmon, pollock, and anchovies, which are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid fishes such as tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel that have high levels of mercury.
  • Stay calm and avoid any stress.
  • Take vitamin supplements with folic acid and iron (recommended dosage 27 mg daily) (15).
  • Avoid smoking, drugs, alcohol consumption and excess caffeine.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Indulge in mild exercises like walking to stay energetic.
  • Maintain oral hygiene.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothes.
  • Do not take any medication without the doctor’s permission.
  • Do not clean the cat litter, to avoid toxoplasmosis.
  • Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.

Take your partner’s help to make life a little more comfortable at this time.

[ Read: 28th Week Pregnant ]

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Tips For Dad-to-be

Here’s what your partner can do:

  • Create a welcoming environment at home.
  • Help you with the daily household chores.
  • Go with you to all the prenatal visits.
  • Go shopping for maternal items.
  • Plan a dinner date.
  • Give you a good neck and foot massage if needed.

What’s amazing now is that you can sense the baby’s movements, although you cannot see what’s happening inside your womb. There may be a little discomfort, albeit temporary. Try to focus on what’s good at this time and stay happy. After all, your baby stays inside the womb only for nine months. So enjoy every moment of it.

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Want to share your experiences with us? Tell us about them in the comments section.

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shreeja pillai

Postgraduate in Chemistry and content writer. She has worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company and also holds a diploma in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. She is a writer for MomJunction and aims at providing informative articles based on health and wellness. Apart from writing, she takes a great interest in music and traveling. know more about her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shreeja-pillai/
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