Children grow very quickly; just ask any mother or grandmother. By the time you reach your 23rd week of pregnancy, you may begin to agree with this common sentiment. Your baby is rapidly changing and preparing for life outside your womb. Although some days may seem to drag, changes are occurring within your body as it adjusts to the growing size and increasing demands of your baby. By 23 weeks, your pregnancy is past the halfway point and you may be eagerly anticipating your due date.
Average pregnancies include three separate periods, known as trimesters. Your 23rd week of pregnancy falls within your second trimester. Like the other two trimesters, this middle trimester includes numerous changes that involve both you and your baby.
Your baby weighs around 1.1 lbs at 23 weeks and measures about 11 inches long. He is starting to accumulate a layer of fat under his skin; however, he still has a wrinkled appearance. Your baby hears the beating of your heart and the rumbling of your stomach. You may notice your baby responds to loud noises by becoming more active.
You may still experience occasional mood swings during your 23rd week of pregnancy. Although your expanding belly causes you to feel a little clumsy, you may find you enjoy this period of your pregnancy. You might notice some slight swelling in your ankles, frequent urination, heartburn and general discomfort. These changes may cause difficulty getting a good night’s rest.
Your doctor may advise you to sleep on your side to allow sufficient circulation to the placenta. You may feel your uterus tighten and contract. These practice contractions, known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, help prepare your uterus for labor. These contractions usually occur randomly and don’t cause pain. Although you can expect slight swelling around your ankles, report any severe swelling to your doctor. Sudden or severe swelling in your lower extremities or slight swelling in your face and hands might indicate the early stages of pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that affects some women during pregnancy.
Enjoy your normal activities as long as they don’t tire you out or cause discomfort. Set aside time to rest and relax, especially if you can’t get a good night’s sleep. Continue to eat a well-balanced diet. Wear comfortable maternity clothes that allow room for your expanding belly. Use gentle stretching exercises or yoga to relieve occasional back pain.
- the young pregnant woman on white background image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com