When you are 23 weeks pregnant you might be getting comments on how big or small your baby bump is. Most of the time, such comments have nothing to do with reality, but are more due to people’s misconceptions about how big a baby belly usually is at this point time.
Your baby is becoming more skilful at using his or her hands and can be seen grabbing the umbilical cord in an ultrasound. To have a peek into the womb, take a look at these fetal development videos.
In this article:
Your Baby’s Development
The fetal age of your baby is now 21 weeks. Your baby is tipping the scales at over a pound (450 gr) now, and is gaining that much needed fat. His or her length is almost 11.5 inches (29 cm); resembling a little doll.
Although still quite red and wrinkled at this point in time, your little one is still developing those much need fat deposits. The skin will have a tendency to look more reddish in color due to losing its transparency and forming pigment.
Many fascinating things are happening right within the womb as your baby clutches the umbilical cord, sucks its own thumb and grabs other parts of its body as it carries about movement inside.
These regular punches and kicks inside your uterus help your little one develop those growing muscles and prepare them for a world of touch once the big day arrives.
Blood vessels in the lungs are developing in order to prepare your little one once they enter into the outside world, and the pancreas is continuing to produce insulin. Bones are hardening and all of the systems in place are maturing for that big day.
The youngest babies to ever have survived being born too early, have been born in the beginning of this week. Over the next few weeks, survival rates will skyrocket, from around 20% this week to over 75% in the premature survival rates here.
This week, you may notice that your navel is now an “outie” instead of that previously neatly tucked in one you once had. This is due to the stomach muscles stretching continuously but will return to its natural position once your baby is born.
Your approximate weight gain at this point in pregnancy should be around 15 pounds (7 kg) on average, but remember that each pregnancy is different and if your health care provider is not worried that you have gained more or less than that, you shouldn’t worry either.
With an increase in blood volume in the lower extremities, many women have to make frequent trips to the bathroom now. Those trips are the most annoying at night, but heck, they are because your baby is growing. There is also an increase in vaginal discharge.
Muscle cramps in the leg muscles are also very common, especially for those women who happen to be on their feet during the day for an extended period of time.
Braxton Hicks contractions can be sometimes felt by some women from this point onward. These are perfectly normal and pose no risk to you or your baby; it is just your muscles getting ready for the big day when your little one arrives. They are not painful, but can sometimes cause discomfort.
Be sure to discuss any pains or issues that you may have at your next prenatal examination.
Water retention known as edema can cause your hands and feet to swell slightly. Although your body will get rid of that extra fluid you are carrying around once your baby arrives, be sure to discuss any severe swelling of your hands, feet or even in your face and around your eyes with your medical practitioner. This excessive swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia and should not be ignored or taken lightly.
Week 23 Video Gallery
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Are you also 23 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!
- See what your baby is up to in these fetal development videos
- Premature survival rates week by week
- How your breasts change during pregnancy and after
MayoClinic (2011), Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Joanne Stone MD and Keith Eddleman MD (2008) The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
Nilsson, L; Hamberger, L. (2004) A Child Is Born.
Soderberg, L. (2010) Mammapraktika. B Wahlstroms.
Image: Image of 23 weeks belly by Graham and Sheila