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Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
..where little means a lot

Note: The length, weight and size mentioned below are only a guideline, as these vary from baby to baby and from one pregnancy to another.

What is going on with your baby during week 23?

  • From crown to rump your baby measures at 8 inches, and weighs about 1 pound. Fetus is now the size of a bag of coffee beans.
  • First layers of fat are deposited causing baby's skin to fill out; muscles are still growing.
  • Your baby's lungs are developing rapidly this week - they are starting to produce the substance that lines the sac in the lungs (surfactant).
  • Your baby is still receiving oxygen from the placenta - there is no air in the lungs until after birth.
  • Although your baby resembles a baby, it is still frail and fragile with little body fat and wrinkled loose-hanging skin.
  • The blood vessels in the brain are delicate and immature at 23 weeks.

Week 23 Fetus

Changes in you at this stage Week 23

  • As your size expands you may want to keep a close watch on sodium which can make you swell and bloat.
  • As your baby gains weight, so do you.
  • With expansion, the tendency to itch grows more serious. Invest in any cream that smells good and absorbs well.
  • Your doctor should be monitoring your expanding uterus and weight.
  • Around this week your uterus may begin practicing for labor and delivery; these warm up contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions are also called false labor
  • The ligaments supporting your abdomen are continuing to stretch and the joints between the pelvic bones are softening and loosening in preparation for childbirth

Good to Know in Week 23

In General

  • Your baby's brain has begun to grow very quickly now especially in the germinal matrix, a structure in the center of the brain that manufactures brain cells. This structure disappears before birth but your baby's brain continues to expand until the age of 5.
  • One pound of what you are carrying now is your baby.
  • Fetal heart rate slows down when the mother is speaking, which suggests that fetus is calmed by your voice.
  • Kegels exercise your pelvic floor muscles and keep them strong. Strong pelvic muscles will help you push your baby out, and prevent major urine leakage after you have your baby. But there is only so much kegels can do. Despite 100 kegels a day every day, some women still pee a little when they sneeze or laugh.

Wholesome Advice in Week 23

  • If you are on your feet a lot consider wearing a support hose or special stockings to help relieve the pressure on your legs.
  • Typing on the keyboard can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. Consider wearing a supportive wrist band and investing in an ergonomic keyboard, if you haven't got one already.
  • It is important that you stand, walk and sit with good alignment. Your lower back should be well supported and it should be more straight than curved. If you lift weights or do aerobics watch yourself in the mirror constantly to eye your stance.

Your actions can impact your baby's growth at this stage

Unpleasant truths about Weight

  • Gaining weight in pregnancy can lead to a progressive weight problem for a lot of women.
  • After the baby you will have a lot of issues to deal with and exercise and diet will probably not rank high in your list of priorities.
  • Your metabolism slows down with age; you will not be able to shed the pounds as easily as you did when you were younger.
  • Every pregnancy increases a woman's risk for obesity by 7% and her partner's by 4%.
  • Weight loss by pregnancy may not work for you - while breastfeeding can burn 500 calories per day, it also makes you really hungry.
  • Exercise alone is not enough; you will have to work real hard at cutting calories.

Overweight and Pregnant

  • An obese mother can make 3½ times more likely for her baby to be born with spina bifida and 3 times more likely for the baby to born with a defect known as omphalocele (the defect causes the intestines to protrude through the navel). Researches suspect the link between obesity and these birth defects is a diet high in empty calories and low in vitamins.
  • Women who gain more than 40 pregnancy pounds also increase the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer by 63%!
  • If your BMI is 30 or higher consider getting medical help.

Women who exercise on the average:

  • Gain less excess weight and therefore are less likely to suffer from complications
  • Have shorter labors
  • Have fitter babies
  • Retain less fluid
  • Sleep better and feel more energized
  • Have bodies that regulate their temperature and use oxygen more efficiently
  • Have lower risk of injuries from accidents. Women who do not exercise suffer from strains and sprains
  • Are less likely to suffer from depression
  • Physically recover faster after childbirth
  • Are less likely to suffer from falls
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Common Concerns in in Week 23

I am experiencing conflicting emotions about my pregnancy - is this normal?

  • It is very normal to feel this way. Such feelings arise from your adjustment to your pregnancy; you are heading towards a path of incredible changes that will involve many aspects of your life. Your feelings of conflict come from your attempts to deal with all the questions and concerns you have. This can happen if you are having your first baby or expanding your family further.

Is it true that it is not unusual to experience pain the uterus during pregnancy?

  • As your uterus expands you may start to feel slight cramping or even pain in your lower abdominal region on the sides. Your uterus tightens and contracts throughout your pregnancy. Some women don't go through this, which is also normal. However if the contractions are accompanied by bleeding from the vagina, alert your doctor immediately.

Weekly Nutrition advice in Week 23

  • You may have to watch your salt intake during pregnancy. Excess sodium causes water retention leading to bloating and swelling.
  • Avoid foods with high salt such as salted nuts, chips, pickles, canned foods and processed foods.
  • Food labels will indicate the salt content per serving. However some foods have no indications like fast foods. You have to be careful there.
  • Create the habit of reading labels before buying it off the shelf. Go easy on fast foods such as burgers and fries.
  • Some foods with high salt content to give you and idea of what you are digging into:

Food Serving Portion Sodium Content (mg)

Salt 1 teaspoon 1938

Hamburger 1 regular 963

Cola 8 oz 16

Oatmeal cup 523

Potato chips 20 regular 400

Cottage cheese 1 cup 580

American cheese 1 slice 322

Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.

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