Week 23 of Your Pregnancy
The birth might seem like it’s a long way off, but now is the time to start preparing for being a parent. Having a baby will change your life. If possible, plan not to have any additional upheaval in the first few months after the baby is born, such as changing your job, renovating or moving house.
PREGNANCY WEEK 23
Your Body at Week 23 of Your Pregnancy
A dark line called linea nigra runs between your belly button and your pubic area. You may have darker areolas. Some women, usually those with darker-skin, 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).
You may be getting used to feeling your baby’s movements in the womb. Cherish these light kicks now before they get more powerful and sometimes even painful.
Appetite and Food Cravings
You may start feeling more hungry and may have a lot of food cravings. This is quite normal. Just so that you don't eat junk, make sure to stock your kitchen with some healthy and tasty snacks. Also, make some rules for healthy eating.
Bloating and Gas
Progesterone causes bloating, burping and passing gas. It causes the smooth muscle tissue in the gastrointestinal tract to relax. This slows down digestion, which can cause you to feel bloated. Your expanding uterus places increasing pressure on your rectum, which can disrupt muscle control and lead to the passing of gas.
These are spasms in your calves, which you may usually feel in the night time. Try to stretch your calves before going to bed, it may help relieve some pain.
Pregnancy hormones cause gum inflammation, making them more susceptible to bacteria, irritation and bleeding. While this is normal, it’s important to keep flossing and brushing regularly. Also see the dentist at least once during pregnancy to avoid gum disease.
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
During pregnancy your body tissues accumulate excess fluid that is needed to support you and your baby, this may cause swelling in your ankles and feet. Because fluid tends to pool in the feet due to gravity. Reduce water retention in your feet by avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time — and try to keep your legs elevated when you can. Also keep yourself hydrated.
You may start seeing stretch marks around this time of your pregnancy. Many women get stretch marks, it maybe due to genetics, it may be due to rapid weight gain. Keep the area well moisturised with a pregnancy safe cream, butter or oil and keep yourself well hydrated. Try to not scratch as it may worsen the skin.
Many women have stuffy nose during their pregnancy and this is again due to hormones and increased blood volume. But, if you have a fever, coughing, sore throat, then it's probably a cold or another infection. Talk to your doctor, and eat foods high in vitamin C.
As your belly gets bigger, your lower back curves more than usual to accommodate the load, resulting in strained back muscles. Try to soothe these sore muscles by getting a prenatal massage, even from your partner, or taking a warm bath or shower.
Heartburn and Indigestion
If you’ve got a burning sensation from the depths of your stomach to your mouth after you eat, then you’ve got pregnancy-induced indigestion and heartburn. Avoid heartburn triggers like spicy or fatty foods and caffeinated drinks and ask your doctor about pregnancy-safe heartburn remedies.
Starting in the second trimester, your baby's getting bigger and bigger, and consequently, you should be too. Your growing baby is demanding more nourishment. Listen to your hunger pangs and eat when you need to; try to choose foods that fill you up and meet your nutrient needs, like high-fiber grains, produce and lean protein. Aim for slow and steady weight gain, around 2 kgs each month on average, but again it depends on your medical condition and pre pregnancy weight.
Hormones relax your bowel muscles, so they are not that efficient in moving the waste products out from your body. Add high-fiber foods to your diet, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with plenty of fluids, too.
Your brain-cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy. Pregnancy-induced brain fog is a fact. You may forget stuff that you had no problem remembering earlier, like maybe why you walked in the kitchen, where you placed your keys and so on. Don't worry it will get better on its own.
Swelling during pregnancy can put pressure on nerves in the wrists and cause the aching and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. If you work at a computer, take frequent hand-stretching breaks and make sure your wrists are straight and elbows aren’t higher than your hands when you’re at your desk.
Your Baby at Week 23 of Your Pregnancy
How big is my baby?
Your baby now weighs about 540g and measures about 20cm from head to bottom – about the size of a papaya. They are covered in fine hair, called lanugo, which is getting darker. The hair on their head and their eyebrows is developing colour.
The baby is practising to breathe in the womb, but they are still getting all their oxygen from the placenta.
Their brain and nervous system are developing rapidly. They can now recognise light, sound and pain. Their vision is improving and they will know the sound of your heartbeat. Their pancreas is producing insulin.
Those subtle flutters you've noticed may begin to feel stronger. Instead of something like butterfly wings, baby movements will evolve into gentle kicks and jabs. At 23 weeks, you can begin making note of patterns associated with your baby's movement. Are they more active after you eat? Do they get a little wild when you lie down for the night?
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