Baby's Growth and Development at 23 Weeks Pregnant
Much of your baby's development during the 23rd week of pregnancy focuses on preparing for her first real breath once she is born. Here’s what’s happening this week:
- Your baby weighs slightly more than a pound now, and she’s about the length of an ear of corn.
- Your baby's lungs develop rapidly this week as they prepare for birth.
- Her lungs are producing a substance called surfactant that allows the lungs to inflate and deflate without collapsing or sticking together.
- Blood vessels in your baby's lungs also are growing and developing in preparation for breathing.
- Your baby is making breathing-like movements for practice, moving amniotic fluid in and out of her lungs.
- Although your baby is getting all of the oxygen she needs from your placenta, this practice is important for developing her diaphragm muscles.
- By your 23rd week of pregnancy, your baby actually looks like a baby. She still has little body fat and still is trying to fill out her wrinkly skin.
Your Changing Body at 23 Weeks Pregnant
While many developments are occurring within your body at 23 weeks pregnant, like many pregnant women, you might find yourself wondering about weight gain. This might be true as you see a consistent gain on the scale from week to week.
- By the 23rd week of pregnancy, most women are gaining an average of a pound a week. By the end of your pregnancy, you might have gained 25 pounds to 35 pounds, or more. See below to find out where that weight goes.
- Your doctor will discuss what's best for you individually.
- Back pain probably continues during your 23rd week of pregnancy as your stomach stretches and your joints continue to soften in preparation for childbirth. Your lower spine will probably continue to curve backward, allowing you to keep your balance while still supporting the weight of your growing baby.
- Increased vaginal discharge continues to be thin and white, which is normal. If you experience bleeding, or a change in discharge, contact your doctor.
- A bit off balance, even clumsy? Clumsiness is a normal part of pregnancy as your baby rapidly grows. Not only is your center of balance off at 23 weeks pregnant and beyond, but the hormones that are loosening joints and ligaments can make it difficult to be graceful. Try these tips:
- Take special care and do even normal activities more slowly.
- If you do fall and are concerned, alert your doctor. But remember that your baby is well protected within your uterus and inside a protective cushion of amniotic fluid.
Where's the Weight Going?
These are estimated weights. Every woman and baby is different.
|Baby||6 1/2 to 9 pounds|
|Placenta||1 1/2 pounds|
|Amniotic fluid||2 pounds|
|Heavier breasts||2 to 3 pounds|
|Additional blood volume||3 to 4 pounds|
|Increased fluids||3 to 4 pounds|
|Fat storage||6 to 8 pounds|
Wellness and Nutrition at 23 Weeks Pregnant
A focus on wellness and nutrition continues during your 23rd week of pregnancy. Remember to continue eating regularly scheduled, balanced meals. This will help you keep your energy up.
- Activity doesn't have to mean formal exercise. Right now, while your body might be feeling its pregnancy best, try building a little more activity into your daily routine. Try these tips:
- Park your car further away from the entrance when you go to register at the baby store!
- Choose the steps instead of the elevator to take that file two floors up
- Look for opportunities to move more and sit less as you go about your daily routine.
- Wondering how best to buckle your growing belly? Whether it's around the corner or a long trip, the safest way for you and your baby to travel in the car always is with the seat belt fastened.
- To maximize safety and minimize discomfort, position the lower belt below your stomach, lying across your pelvis and upper thighs.
- Position the shoulder strap over your shoulder, diagonally between your breasts.