By 23 weeks, your baby bump may be showing! But what else should you know about this time in your pregnancy? Let’s look at what to expect during this major milestone.
Your baby at week 23 of pregnancy
Around this time, your baby has probably started to look like, well, a baby! Among other things, your baby’s eyes and lips are taking shape. They will continue to gain weight, eventually filling out their currently wrinkly skin.
You may notice more movement in your belly at 23 weeks.
Those light flutters you may have felt earlier in your pregnancy will soon become full-blown kicks. This is because your baby will move more as their muscles develop and their coordination improves.
How big is your baby at 23 weeks?
At approximately the size of a squash, your baby is around 11 inches (28 cm) long and weighs approximately one pound (450 g). From this point forward, your baby will steadily gain weight and get stronger with better muscle coordination each week.
Baby positioning at 23 weeks
With your due date about four months away, the baby will experience some significant growth in the next few weeks.
Since birth is still not too close, your baby is not yet in their delivery position. Their head is closer to your diaphragm while the legs point toward the bottom of your uterus. Since the baby is still small, their position can change during the day.
Pregnancy week 23 fetal development
By this point, your baby will have developed all the organs they need to survive outside the womb if they were born prematurely. Blood vessels in your baby’s lungs are developing in preparation for breathing outside of the uterus.
Your baby’s skin looks thin and translucent quality. They’re looking fairly red due to visible blood vessels, but their final skin color will develop once pigment deposits grow.
Your baby’s hearing is strengthening as the bones in their middle ear begin to harden. They can hear loud sounds outside the womb like sirens or a vacuum cleaner. You may even notice your baby responds to specific sounds, such as your voice or music.
Your body at week 23 of pregnancy
Most notably, at 23 weeks, most people have developed a fairly noticeable baby bump.
You may also feel stronger movements like wiggles and nudges from your baby as they gain strength and coordination.
What else happens at 23 weeks?
You may notice:
- Stretch marks across your body, especially over the hips and belly
- Cramping in your leg muscles, especially the calves or feet
- Moderate swelling in your ankles or feet due to increased fluid in your body (this shouldn’t be sudden or extreme)
- Tender bleeding gums when brushing your teeth
As your baby continues to grow, you will too. Many pregnant people at this point have gained around 10 pounds (4.5 kg), but this varies significantly per person.
23 weeks pregnant belly
Most noticeably, your bump is continuing to expand to make space for the baby. Your belly’s fundal height (measured from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus) is 21 to 25 centimeters (8.3 to 9.8 inches).
Because your growing belly changes your center of gravity, your balance may vary from day to day.
23 weeks pregnant symptoms
Each pregnant person’s experience is unique, but there are some common symptoms you may experience this week, such as:
- Constipation, as the large intestine has decreased motility during pregnancy
- Headaches or migraines, which can be caused by muscle tension in the upper back, shoulders, and neck as your spine shifts to accommodate your growing baby
- Difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or vivid dreams, which can be caused by hormones, anxiety, or general discomfort
Morning sickness from the first trimester has likely subsided by now. However, you may still find that your appetite is changing and you feel more sensitive to particular tastes and smells, which can lead to nausea.
You may also experience Braxton Hicks contractions, which can be uncomfortable but are usually painless and sporadic. Braxton Hicks contractions are just your uterus getting ready for birth.
However, if your contractions involve severe cramping, abdominal pain, or bleeding, contact your health care provider immediately as it could signal early labor.
23 weeks pregnant ultrasound
As your baby continues to develop, their features will appear more recognizably on ultrasounds. Your baby may also move around more, allowing you to get a closer look at their features.
Your baby’s 23-week ultrasound will also measure for healthy growth, including their head circumference, abdomen, and femur length (the longest bone in the body).
23 weeks pregnant lifestyle
Fueled by a second-trimester energy boost, you may feel more inclined to join specialty pregnancy groups or fitness classes. Prenatal yoga is a safe, popular form of exercise and can improve your overall well-being. Yoga and light stretching can also reduce discomfort related to muscle cramping and lower back pain.
If you are feeling anxious as your due date approaches, you may want to try different stress management techniques to help ease your mind and relax your body.
Your health is vital to the health of your baby, so it’s helpful to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. Some high-risk infectious diseases like TORCH syndrome and German measles can result in serious complications for your baby but are avoidable with regular handwashing, healthy dietary choices, and consistent sleep.
Sex at week 23 of pregnancy
Some people have a higher sex drive during their second trimester. As long as you’re not on bed rest, go for it! On top of lifestyle changes to alleviate pregnancy-related symptoms, sex can help boost your mood.
However you choose to have sex, make sure to listen to your body. Lying on your back may feel uncomfortable at 23 weeks, so feel free to experiment with different positions to find the best fit. Some pregnant people experience slight cramping around the pelvis or abdomen during or shortly after an orgasm, which is totally normal.
Here are some key planning steps for your baby’s arrival:
Planning for maternity leave
If you work currently, consider how much time you’ll be taking when your baby arrives. Get to know the maternity leave rights in your country and whether your employer has any parental leave benefits. When you feel ready, speak to your employer about parental leave.
Preparing for labor and delivery
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start thinking about your labor and delivery plan. Think about your priorities for giving birth and speak with your health care provider or midwife about your desired delivery method or location (hospital, home, clinic, etc.).
As your baby’s birth gets closer, certain parts of the plan may not go exactly as anticipated, but it is still helpful to have an outline of your priorities.
Getting ready for the baby’s arrival
You may notice an increased interest in looking at baby items like clothes and accessories. While you may not be fully “nesting” (feeling an urge to prepare for the baby’s arrival), consider starting a list of what you might need.
Friends or family members who have had children can offer some ideas for baby essentials and tips.
Questions to ask your doctor
As you approach your third trimester, consider asking your health care provider when to schedule your glucose screening test. Usually administered between weeks 23 and 28 of pregnancy, this test screens for gestational diabetes.
High blood sugar can impact your baby’s health but may not cause any symptoms, which is why screening is important.
If any of your pregnancy symptoms involve pain or persistent discomfort, ask your health care provider about treatment options.
Now that your baby’s features are more pronounced and you’re looking as pregnant as you feel, you may find that this pregnancy is feeling more and more “real.”
Track your symptoms using Flo in pregnancy mode to monitor your progress from week to week!