In Week 23, your baby will experience a “growth spurt” while listening to the sound of your heartbeat. Baby’s growth adds to your weight gain, but you might want to watch the food you eat more carefully because of the upcoming glucose test you may have to take next week! But first, let’s take a look at how the Week 23 Mom and Baby is like!
23 Weeks Pregnant: Belly and weight gain
The fundal height, the distance from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, is 22–28 cm. The lower abdominal region protrudes more with each passing day. As the fetus grows, the uterus becomes much bigger than an adult’s head.
You will continue to gain weight as the baby grows, so do watch your weight carefully and refrain from overeating. If your morning sickness takes a turn for the better sometime during the second trimester, you might be guilty of overeating as you started enjoying your meals again and started feeling mentally better. Try to fight the temptation to eat fried foods and add in a bit of exercise to your everyday regime.
In Week 23 of pregnancy, you should ideally put on 1 pound every week and have put on 12–14 lbs (5.4–6.4 kg) since the start of pregnancy – note that this is just a standard. Your ideal weight gain might vary depending on your built and lifestyle. If your weight gain is nowhere near the ideal, you ought to ask your OB-GYN for advice and watch your diet more carefully.
Glucose Screening Test
Your OB-GYN might have told you about the glucose screening test you will take sometime between Weeks 24 and 28. You will be asked to drink a sugary drink and have your blood glucose level checked later. If the test results indicate an above normal level, you may need to do an oral glucose tolerance test.
An oral glucose tolerance test will most likely require you to go down to the doctor’s again another time, and you will have to fast for at least 8 hours before the test. For the oral glucose tolerance test, you will drink a sugary drink and the results will tell your doctor if you have gestational diabetes or not.
Symptoms: Nipple discharge
In Week 23 of pregnancy, transparent or yellow sticky liquid might leak from your nipples. That liquid will eventually become breast milk. In the early stages of pregnancy, estrogen secreted causes the mammary glands to develop while prolactin secreted promotes the production of breast milk, which causes the mammary glands to open up.
In actual fact, breast milk is constantly secreted in the body in the second trimester of pregnancy, but the effects of estrogen and progesterone stop breast milk from leaking out. Hence, the liquid secreted from the nipples during this period of time is different from the colostrum (milk secreted after delivery, contains high protein and antibody content) and breast milk. The rumor that you won’t be able to produce any breast milk if this happens to you is also not grounded in any science, so you can simply ignore that.
If you leave the secretion as it is, your nipples might become dry and cause nipple cracks after delivery, clean them up with cotton and keep the nipples as clean as you can. Also, tight underwear can get in the way of the development of the mammary glands, so try to wear underwear and clothes that are loose-fitting.
23 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly
23 Weeks Pregnant: Size and weight of fetus
The fetus in Week 23 is 25–30 cm and weighs 450–700 grams. Each week, the fetus’ body weight will increase by 200 g and as their body becomes bigger, it will become increasingly difficult to see your baby’s entire body in a single frame on the ultrasound scanner monitor.
- The skin is wrinkled and transparent
Muscles, bones and internal organs develop
The pancreas develops and starts to secrete insulin, which plays an indirect role in fetal growth
The fetus’ auditory senses develop and the fetus can hear surrounding noises, the sound of Mom’s heartbeat, Mom’s breathing, Mom’s stomach growling or sounds coming from the bowel
23 Weeks Pregnant: Hypercoiled umbilical cord
The umbilical cord in the uterus is like the coiled cord of the telephone. When the cord is extremely coiled, the blood flow to the baby decreases and the baby does not get the nutrients needed for growth.
This condition can be observed from Week 20 up to the full term of the pregnancy and can result in the restriction of fetal growth or even death while the fetus is still in the uterus. A hypercoiled cord also endangers the baby during labor because it can cause perinatal asphyxia (harm to brain and other organs due to the insufficient intake of oxygen).
The reason why hypercoiled cords are formed is not known, nor are there any telltale physical signs on the mother’s body from which to predict the occurrence of a hypercoiled cord baby. However, in the case of hypercoiled cords, fetal movements gradually become weaker. Consciously feel for fetal movement and make it a habit to check every day. Don’t be negligent – remember that your baby only has you to rely on.
Symptoms: Prurigo of pregnancy
Some moms break out in tiny red bumps that look like insect bites during the course of pregnancy. This is called prurigo of pregnancy, and prurigo can occur anytime during pregnancy and can continue for some time even after delivery. The cause of prurigo is not known, and it does not pose any risk to your baby.
However, as the itchiness can stress both the mother and baby, it’s best to go and treat it without further delay. If your skin is itching, seek out your OB-GYN or get a referral for another doctor who can treat your condition.
23 Weeks Pregnant: Who’s in your belly? Boy or girl?
Fetal movement continues to grow stronger, making you all the more excited for the day when you will finally get to meet your baby! The prenatal checkup will tell you the sex of your baby – that will further add to your excitement, right? Have you gotten some baby clothes and products that will soon be put to good use? Time is ticking away, and it’s best to start preparing for life postpartum – you’d have your hands both literally and figuratively full when Baby finally comes along!