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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.

This article covers fetal development, and mom’s body changes when 23 weeks pregnant.

Your baby is becoming more skillful 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.

What to Expect When 23 Weeks Pregnant?

How Many Months is 23 Weeks Pregnant?

You are currently in your second trimester and the sixth month of your pregnancy journey.

As you know, pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (280 days) or 9 months.

This might get confusing if you think that one month has 4 weeks because then it seems that pregnancy actually lasts 10 months. However, a month doesn’t last for 4 weeks, but 4.3 weeks on average, and every month (except for February) has 30 or 31 days.
This means pregnancy actually lasts around 9 months and one week.

There is also confusion around how many weeks/months pregnant you are and what week/month of pregnancy you are in.

To reach a certain week/month of pregnancy, you need to complete all the days/weeks in it fully. For example, if you are 5 weeks and 3 days pregnant, it means you are in your sixth week. To reach the full 6 weeks of pregnancy, you need to complete all the days in week 6 first. So when you reach 5 weeks and 7 days, you’ll be pregnant for the full 6 weeks and enter your seventh week.

The same is with months. If you are in your 6th month of pregnancy, it means you are pregnant for the full 5 months (the months you fully completed), plus a certain number of weeks. After you complete all the weeks in month 6 (5 months + 1/2/3/4 weeks), you will be 6 months pregnant and enter your seventh month.

You can read more about how to calculate pregnancy months here.

Your Baby at 23 Weeks

How Big is my Baby at 23 Weeks?

The fetal age of your baby is now 21 weeks. The fetal age is calculated from the date of conception. That is why fetal age is usually two weeks behind the gestational age. However, because it is usually impossible to know when exactly the conception happened, this is the less precise and common way to measure pregnancy.

Most of the youngest babies ever who survived being born too early have been born at the beginning of this pregnancy week.

Over the next few weeks, survival rates will skyrocket, from around 20% this week to over 75% in the premature survival rates.

Your baby is tipping the scales at over a pound (450 gr) now and is gaining that much-needed fat. Her length is almost 11.5 inches (29 cm) from head to heel, and she is now approximately the size of a large mango.

What Does my Baby Look Like at 23 Weeks Pregnant?

Although the skin is still quite red, wrinkled, and slightly saggy, your little one is developing those much need fat deposits, which will soon fill out that extra space.

The skin looks more reddish in color due to losing its transparency and forming pigment.

Your baby’s limbs are now in proportion with the head.
 

Fetal development

Many fascinating things are happening within the womb as your baby clutches the umbilical cord, sucks its own thumb, and grabs other parts of the 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.

At this point, a baby might respond to light and will maybe move if you shine a flashlight on your belly. Your little one also hears your voice, so talk or sing to your baby whenever possible.

Blood vessels in the lungs are developing to prepare your little one for life outside. The pancreas is continuing to produce insulin. Bones are hardening, and all of the systems in place are maturing for that big day.

Mom’s Body when 23 Weeks Pregnant

The Belly

At this point, you probably feel your baby’s kicks. You might also notice if your baby has a routine. When he is sleeping, he is less active. When he is awake, you’ll feel him moving around and kicking.

Don’t worry if you’re still unsure whether you felt the kicks or not. Sometimes it takes a bit more time, especially for first-time moms who aren’t sure if what they feel are the kicks or something else. But you’ll be feeling those flutters pretty soon, as they’ll become more noticeable.

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 it 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.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Your breasts have probably grown in size at least a bit by now. At 23 weeks, some women might notice the colostrum leaking from their breasts. Colostrum is an early form of milk produced when starting breastfeeding but might first appear during pregnancy in some women. It is more yellow and thicker than the milk that comes in later. It is nutrient-dense and full of protein and antibodies.

With an increase in blood volume in the lower extremities, many women have to make frequent trips to the bathroom. 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 legs are also very common, especially for those women who happen to be on their feet during the day for an extended period of time.

With your baby and your belly growing, backaches are starting to be more common.

Some women can already feel Braxton Hicks contractions at this point. These are perfectly normal and pose no risk to you or your baby. Your muscles are 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, make sure to discuss any severe swelling of your hands, feet, or even 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.

Things to do and buy this week

Stay active to relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms, such as constipation, hemorrhoids,  and back pain. Exercise can also boost your mood, help you stay healthy, and prevent excessive weight gain.

Make sure you drink enough water. It can help relieve headaches and prevent urinary tract infections.

Try to limit the caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day, which is approximately two cups of instant coffee.

Valuable online birth classes:

Week 23 Pregnancy Video

Diary of a Daughter

What’s it really like being 23 weeks pregnant…? Here’s a true diary from a 23 weeks pregnant mom (Me..!)

I feel good again!

But my baby never sleeps! So active! I wonder if she/he will be the same when born. The kicks wake me up at night almost every night.

Are you also 23 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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References:

Image: Image of 23 weeks belly by Graham and Sheila

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