You are well past the midway point of your pregnancy, but there are still many weeks to go. Your pregnancy symptoms are not as bad as they were during the first trimester, which means this is the time to get the nursery painted and ready for your baby. Make the best of your new-found energy and do all the shopping necessary for your baby.
23 Weeks pregnant
You’re in the 23rd week of your pregnancy, and you are steadily gaining weight. Your baby is also gaining some serious weight and will double his weight in just the next four weeks. The growing bump is putting additional strain on your back now. Keep a check on your posture. If you are sitting on your desk the whole day, make sure that your chair is adjusted correctly.
1. Increased vaginal discharge
Thin and white vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy. Contact your doctor if you experience bleeding or any other change in vaginal discharge.
As your center of gravity shifts due to your expanding belly, you may feel a bit off-balance. The pregnancy hormones are also loosening your ligaments and joints. Take care, and do even your regular tasks slowly.
3. Swollen ankles and feet
You may find swelling in your feet and ankles by the end of the day. Some swelling in your feet is normal during pregnancy, and you can deal with it by putting up your feet and drinking lots of water. Excessive swelling, on the other hand, can be a sign of preeclampsia.
4. Braxton Hicks contractions
You may notice your belly getting super tight sometimes. Your muscles are flexing and preparing for labor. These false contractions are known as Braxton Hicks Contractions. They go away when you change your position.
Pregnancy hormones cause an increase in blood flow, which may lead to swelling and bleeding in your gums. Continue flossing and switch to a soft bristle toothbrush.
Almost half of all pregnant women suffer from constipation at some time during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones make your digestive system sluggish. As your uterus grows bigger, it puts pressure on your rectum, causing your system to slow down. Eating more fiber and upping your fluid intake can prevent constipation.
7. Frequent bathroom breaks
As your growing uterus starts putting more pressure on the bladder, you may feel the need to pee more frequently than usual.
You may also have difficulty sleeping. Some women experience stage and vivid dreams. Anxiety, body pains, and other worries may be the reason for these dreams.
9. Tingling hands
Swelling in hands can put pressure on the nerves of the wrists, which then causes aching and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Take regular breaks when you are working on your computer. Your elbows should not be higher than your hands when you are at your desk.
Your body at week 23 of pregnancy
At 23 weeks pregnant, your belly measures about 21 to 25 cms from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. You have already gained between 12 to 15 pounds. This weight gain may cause stretch marks in shades of pink or purple on your belly, breasts, and thighs.
Your breasts may also start leaking colostrum around this time. Colostrum is a sticky white fliud, the first form of breast milk. The palms of your hands and the soles of your feet might appear red. You also may be more prone to heat rashes and skin tags now.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also lead to mood swings. Contact your doctor if you feel sad or are tearful suddenly. According to a study from the UK, the plasma hormone levels during pregnancy can also affect memory in pregnant women (1).
Your baby at week 23 of pregnancy
By the end of the 23rd week, your baby will reach the milestone of weighing one pound. He is between 11 to 14 inches long now.
- Your baby’s heartbeat is strong enough to be heard through the stethoscope now.
- Your baby’s lungs are developing. Though they cannot work now, your baby is practicing breathing motions.
- Lanugo, the fine hair that covers the delicate skin of your baby, will darken now. It will be visible on an ultrasound scan.
- Your baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes are forming, and his vision is improving.
- His ear bones are hardening, and he can now hear you.
- Your baby’s nipples are also starting to form.
Tips to be followed when you are 23 weeks pregnant
1. Eat well
Remember to continue eating regularly scheduled, balanced meals. If possible, opt for organic produce. Organic produce has fewer pesticides and is also likely to be fresher as they are preservative-free.
You must stay hydrated. While water is the best, you can also drink juice and milk. Drinking milk also provides you calcium, which is essential for you. Staying hydrated helps prevent headaches, cramping in legs, and urinary tract infection.
3. Kegel exercises
Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises help to deal with common pregnancy and postpartum symptoms like hemorrhoids and poor bladder control.
Your gums are more sensitive and susceptible to inflammation and bleeding during pregnancy. It is a good idea to visit your dentist during your pregnancy for cleaning to prevent dental problems.
5. Reduce stress
If you are dealing with stress or depression, call your doctor immediately. Studies show that stress, depression, and anxiety can lead to preterm delivery and low birth weight in children (2). You can reduce stress by joining a chat group for expectant mothers. Do yoga, tai chi, mediation, and relaxation exercises.
6. Plan for your maternity leave
Find out about your maternity rights and benefits. Speak to your employer about when you want to take your time off.
7. Prepare for your delivery
It is always an excellent plan to start thinking about and preparing for your delivery in advance. Think about the delivery method you want to opt for and the place you want to deliver (hospital, clinic, or home).
Your week 23 of pregnancy doctor’s visit
You see your doctor only once in four weeks during the second trimester. You may not have your doctor’s appointment this week. Enjoy your time off now as there will be many more doctor’s appointments during the third trimester. Between the 23 to 28th week, you will take a glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes, and another blood test to check for anemia.
Tips for the partner
While your partner is arranging for her maternity leave, it is time for you to inquire about your paternal leave. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. However, not everyone is entitled to it (3). If you are not entitled to FMLA leave, you can request your employer for some time off.
If your partner is feeling anxious about delivery and parenthood, you must step up and provide her with the emotional support that she needs. Encourage her and reassure her. Talk to her and ask her what she needs from you.
At 23 weeks, you are looking as pregnant as you feel. Backaches, swollen feet, tingling in hands, headaches, Braxton Hick’s contractions and clumsiness, are some of the symptoms that you may be feeling. Take it easy, relax, and plan for your maternity leave.