Week Twenty-three of Your Pregnancy


Week 23 Info


Weighing in at a pound, and at eight inches long, your little one is starting to really look like a baby!  You can compare her size to a box of sugar or a bag of coffee beans.  Her skin is filling out as the first layers of fat are deposited and her muscles grow.  During the next month, her weight may almost double.  She's starting to drink the amniotic fluid she's floating in, and her digestive system is mature enough to absorb nutrients.  And not only is your baby starting to drink and taste, but all of his sensory systems are maturing as well.  The bones of her inner ear are beginning to harden and her pancreas is developing "the pancreas is very important in the production of insulin".  Your baby's fingernails are almost fully formed and the lanugo "fine hair" that covers his body is getting darker.  Your baby continues to grow in preparation for the journey of birth.  Your baby can often hear loud noises in the womb from now on so don't be surprised if your baby seems to move around a bit when you are vacuuming or in an environment where loud noises are quite common.
Your baby still has lots of room to move around, so the kicks, punches and movements you had felt before will continue.  In fact, there will be times when you will be able to see your baby moving from the outside!  This is a good time to get Dad to feel the baby moving, too.

You may find yourself having "or starting" mood swings.  Don't worry; these are normal and will subside either late in your third trimester or shortly after the birth of your baby.  These mood swings are due to the rising hormone levels as your body readies itself for delivery.  Dads, do something nice and totally unexpected like doing the laundry without being asked or bringing home dinner after work.  Let mom know how special she is and show her how special you are.

Your regular prenatal appointments will continue and your prenatal provider may palpate your abdomen. This palpation is the provider's way of feeling the position of the baby.  They will also continue the use of a tape measure to measure your fundal height "cm measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus". Your fundus "top of your uterus" will be approximately one to one-and-a-half inches above your navel at this point.  You may worry if you are a bit bigger or smaller than the average, but it is normal for you to be individual in your measurements as every mother is different.  However, if you continue to worry, be sure to ask your doctor about your concerns.

The important thing about exercise during pregnancy is to just do it. The benefits are immeasurable, such as an improved sense of well-being and a reduced risk of medical interventions for you and your baby at delivery. Walking is as effective as running during pregnancy, provided you walk fast and far enough. Or you can try running in the deep end of a pool using either a flotation device or a pool noodle.

As you get farther along in your pregnancy you will probably start experiencing more frequent Braxton hick's contractions. Some physicians refer to them as false labor. They do actually serve a purpose, helping to prepare the cervix for the process of effacement and dilation. This describes the process whereby the cervix thins out and opens up in preparation for delivery.

If you notice that your contractions stop when you change positions or relax, you are probably having Braxton Hicks contractions and not true labor contractions. Drink a glass or two of water if they become bothersome, because dehydration can sometimes increase the frequency of contractions.

Call your doctor however if you notice any of the following, which may be signs of pre-term labor-

Contractions that increase in frequency and duration.
Contractions that are longer than 60 seconds and occur less than 5 minutes apart for an hour or more.
Contractions accompanied by bloody or watery discharge.
Contractions accompanied by lower back pain.
More than four contractions an hour or any contractions occurring at regular intervals.
More than likely you'll find that you come to recognize Braxton Hicks easily enough, and welcome them as a sign that your body is preparing for the momentous task of labor to come several weeks down the line.

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