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The 23rd week of pregnancy: what happens to the baby and mom

In the 23rd obstetric week of pregnancy, most of the pregnancy has already passed, and you have been in this “interesting” condition for more than 5 months. You become calmer and start to get used to your temporary condition. The baby slowly resembles a real human being – it continues to evolve and has learned a lot in the recent past.

Even if a mother for a moment forgets that she is pregnant, the baby immediately reminds her about it, with a couple of little kicks. In addition, the baby is now getting another important skill – he learns to breathe and is actively training his lungs.

The size and development of the fetus in the 23rd week of pregnancy

Pregnancy week 23 sizeDuring this period, the fetus gradually develops, grows, and gains body mass. Over the last week the baby has added another 100 grams, and now, in the 23rd week of gestation, it weighs about 400-550 grams. The height can reach 29 cm – at this point fetus grows less intensively and increases in length by 1 cm.

Despite the fact that the baby began to actively build up body fat and its weight increases rapidly, it still looks red and wrinkled. This is because the skin grows at a much faster rate than adipose tissue, and the excess skin hangs in folds. The skin itself does not look as transparent as it used to – this happens due to the formation of a special red pigment.

The baby’s face is getting more pronounced facial features. The nose, eyebrows and ears are already clearly visible. The neck has finally been formed.

The twenty-third week of pregnancy is marked by the fact that the fetus begins to clearly demonstrate the ability to make permanent respiratory movements. You may recall that previously, he did this only occasionally. In the course of such exercise amniotic fluid can enter the lungs – that is what promotes their maturation. These exercises are done at a frequency of 50-60 times per minute and sometimes take a break for a period of up to 1 hour.

 The development of the fetus at 23 weeks' gestationThe baby’s lungs are forming alveoli that produce surfactant – a substance which prevents lung sacs from collapsing after inhalation. If it is missing, the alveoli may stick together, causing severe respiratory failure after birth. However, there is no reason to worry now, because there is still plenty of time to accumulate surfactant.

In addition to the lungs, the other organs of the child are actively developing as well.

  • The gastrointestinal tract has been fully formed – now the stomach, esophagus, intestines, liver, pancreas look just like in an adult’s.
  • The function of the endocrine glands is improving. They can already independently produce hormones affecting the growth and development of the small organism, as well as promote proper metabolism.
  • The spleen is performing its protective function – this organ produces lymphocytes and monocytes and is involved in maintaining the quality of red blood cells.
  • The nervous system of the baby is also well-formed. The child is able to respond to bright lights and loud noises – his facial expressions and specific movements attest to this.
  • Genitals are already differentiated, and now an ultrasound will show exactly what gender to expect.
  • In addition, there is an ongoing active development of the bones and muscles. The nails of the fingers is finishing their final formation.
[attention type=yellow]In the 23rd week, expectant mothers can sometimes feel rhythmic movements such as twitching. That’s because the baby can swallow a small amount of amniotic fluid, which leads to hiccups.[/attention]

By this time, the brain size has increased by multiple times, and the child has mastered new habits and skills.

  • The baby can put a finger in his mouth and suck it. This way, he develops the muscles of the face and prepares for breastfeeding.
  • Sleeping is replaced by periods of wakefulness, and the baby is actively moving. He can turn and hold both, horizontal and vertical, positions.
  • Scientists claim that the baby already sees his first dreams – rapid movements of closed eyes are evidence of this.

What’s going on with a mom in the 23rd week of pregnancy

 Photo of mother`s belly 23 weeks pregnant

In contrast to the first trimester of pregnancy, your belly is now already clearly visible to others, and it would be difficult to hide your interesting condition. The height of the uterine fundus is 23 cm, and the organ itself is already 4 cm above the navel. You can see photos of tummies in the 23rd week of pregnancy above.

By the 23rd week, women normally gain 400-500 grams of weight weekly. If this figure is much higher, most likely you will be recommended to stick to a diet.

Somewhere in the 23rd week of pregnancy, the fetus begins to make active movements. Now you can easily identify what the baby is doing: sleeping, flipping or playing. As a rule, the activity increases in the evening, at a time when a mother lies down for rest. You can soothe your baby by stroking your belly or singing a lullaby.

Future mother is 23 weeks pregnant

The undoubted advantage in the second trimester of pregnancy is the action of hormones, which improve the condition of the nails and skin. However, it’s the imroved hair growth that makes women most happy. It’s true that the increased “hairiness” may appear in unwanted places, but there is no reason to be upset, because it will go away after childbirth.

Some unpleasant symptoms can start to bother a future mom.

  • The appearance of discomfort on the sides of the abdomen as a result of stretching of the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus.
  • Around this time, there are the first training contractions or “Braxton Hicks .” This is a short-lived “hardening” of the abdomen caused by a slight spasm. This is how the body prepares for childbirth.
  • Also, you may have uterine hypertonus. This occurs in response to movements of the baby or yourself. All you need is to relax and take deep breaths.
  • Increased sweating. Alcohol-free antiperspirants will help to solve the problem.
  • Dryness and itching of the skin, as well as the appearance of stretch marks can bother the future mother. This is due to the growth of the abdomen and hormonal changes.
  • There are other inconveniences: the center of gravity is shifting, which affects the posture and gait. Some women are experiencing calf cramps. This is due to a lack of calcium in the body.

As for the vaginal micro flora, it is very vulnerable right now. Normally, discharge in the 23rd week of gestation should be homogeneous with a slightly sour scent. Also, you may experience yellowish secretions from the breast.

[attention type=yellow]If in the first trimester it was typical to be irritable and experience mood swings, but now many women notice a growing dissatisfaction with their appearance when looking in the mirror, because the belly has grown considerably. As a rule, the situation is solved with the support of the husband and friends. However, sometimes it may be necessary to consult a psychologist.[/attention]

Analyses, examinations and ultrasound in the 23rd week of pregnancy

Ultrasound of the fetus after 23 weeks of pregnancy

A doctor’s appointment in this period happens once every two weeks. It is necessary to take a urine test with the same regularity. At the appointment, the nurse records your weight, and measures the height of the uterine fundus, as well as blood pressure. In addition, the doctor will listen for the baby’s heartbeat.

If any problems have been previously identified, it may be neccessary to take a blood test or Doppler study. Also, your doctor may suggest a follow-up ultrasound procedure. All this is done to rule out abnormalities in the fetus, and if any are found, to take timely appropriate action.

We might add that when a future mother is Rh-negative, she should take a blood test for antibodies every two weeks. A positive result may require intravenous immunoglobulin.

In the 23rd week, there is no indication for a mandatory ultrasound test.  However, at this time the baby gets more pronounced facial features, starts active movements, and watching him on the monitor will bring his parents a lot of joy. After all, you may already be able to guess whom the child resembles more. In addition, you can accurately determine the sex of the child.

Modern equipment allows to do it all in real-time by 3D and 4D ultrasound. Carrying out this procedure is safe for the mother and fetus. We invite you to watch a video of a fetal ultrasound of the 23rd week of pregnancy and the baby, and see photos above.

Possible abnormalities

The 23rd weeks refers to the second trimester, a period of relative calm. The dangerous period of the formation of the child’s organs is behind you and you can breathe easier. However, you need to carefully monitor your condition and listen to your instincts, as fading of the fetus or premature labor are still possible. This may be a concern at this time and it is necessary to pay attention.

  • The appearance of discharge is characterized by a curdled or foamy texture, green or pronounced yellow color and a sharp odor. There may also be redness and itching in the genital area. These symptoms can be caused by a genital infection. Visiting a doctor in a timely fashion will help to resolve the problem and avoid harm to the fetus.
  • Bloody discharge. If you find even a very small red spot on your bedding, do not wait for your next doctor’s appointment and call an ambulance immediately. While the fetus is sufficiently developed, premature labor in this case can end badly.
  • The appearance of regular contractions, accompanied by pain, shivering, or fever can also be a sign of preterm labor. Do not delay and call an ambulance.
  • If you felt less than 10 movements of the fetus in one day: even though in the 23rd week, there may be some calm days, it is better to make sure the baby is all right and see a doctor.

Mom’s nutrition in the 23rd week of pregnancy

The main dietary recommendations remain the same – variety and nutritional quality.

  • Remember the basic principles of food consumption in the 23rd week.
  • Do not forget about daily consumption of fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries – they saturate the body with vitamins and help to support the immune system.
  • Calcium should be taken every day in sufficient quantity. Yogurt, cottage cheese, and if necessary, vitamins can assist with this.
  • The body of a pregnant should receive a sufficient volume of liquids. The best choice is pure water without carbonation. Drink compotes and fruit drinks without sugar.
  • Limit your intake of salt: it retains fluid which can cause edema.
  • Eliminate products containing chemicals and various additives. You should not have smoked, fried and canned food.
  • To avoid weight gain you should seriously limit the use of flour and sweet products.
  • It is advisable not to use highly allergenic products such as citrus fruits, strawberries, eggs, chocolate, and whole milk.
  • Do not forget that food should be fractioned, 5-6 meals a day.

Skin care and exercises

 Skin care at 23 weeks' gestationDue to the expanding belly skin can become dry, peeling and itchy. In addition, in this period stretch marks on the abdomen and thighs may appear. No need to wait for after childbirth to take care of yourself. Now is the time to take care of this problem.

The perfect solution is to use moisturizing oils and creams. Apply them daily after showering or bathing. For the shower, it’s preferable to use products without aggressive additives and scents: these can further contribute to dry skin.

[attention type=yellow]To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, it is necessary to purchase special products. It would be better if you buy them at the pharmacy, where you can buy creams and lotions designed precisely for the needs of pregnant women.[/attention]

In order to maintain muscle tone and well-being, do not forget about exercise. In the 23rd week, the best solution would be water aerobics or yoga with breathing exercises. However, before starting, it is best to consult with your doctor.

Also, try daily walking, preferably in the fresh air. This is useful for mom and baby. Remember about morning exercise: it is enough to warm up for 10 minutes, and your condition will be noticeably improved.

Sexual activity in the 23rd week

Sexual relations in the 23 week of pregnancyThe second trimester is the best time for having sex. In this period, sexual relations take on new dimensions and qualities than before.

However, there are situations when you should abstain from sex:

  • multiple pregnancy;
  • history of miscarriages;
  • low position of the placenta.

Helpful recommendations for future moms

If you are not yet used to your appearance and pregnancy in general, simple recommendations can fix this and help you to enjoy every day.

  • Try to sleep no less than 8-10 hours a day – this will promote a good mood throughout the day.
  • Talk with your baby, stroking the tummy. Invite the future father to participate in this.
  • The baby can hear sounds and it’s time for him to get to know both parents.
  • Eat right and walk more.
  • If you want to eat something forbidden, indulge yourself, but in moderation.
  • Already in this period, you are receiving a variety of advice, ranging from lifestyle to upbringing of the child. Remember, only you know what is best for you and your baby

Video about 23rd week of pregnancy

We invite you to watch this video guide on pregnancy, where you will learn about the features of a child’s development in the 23rd week. You will also receive useful information about proper nutrition for the expectant mother.

The second trimester, and, in particular, the 23rd week is a great time in the life of the pregnant woman. The first period, full of difficulties, is in the past, and there is is still enough time before delivery to relax and fully enjoy your unusual situation.

[attention type=yellow]Of course, each woman finds herself differently during this period. We invite you to share your moods and feelings, ask questions and learn how others feel in this fortunate position. Perhaps you’ll find something in common, and maybe discover something new for yourself.[/attention]

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