At 23 weeks pregnant and with your baby bump now clearly visible, you can openly say ‘I’m pregnant!’ – and then tell everyone what stage your baby’s development is at in week 23 of your pregnancy.
Your baby’s development
This week your baby is the size of a… grapefruit.
Your baby’s major organs are at an important point this week.
· Her lungs are in their final stages of development and are preparing for use in the outside world by breathing in amniotic fluid, as well as starting to line themselves with surfactant (a substance that helps the alveoli in the lungs stay open to receive oxygen).
· Her heart is well developed and is now big enough to be seen fully on an ultrasound – chambers, ventricles and all!
· Her skin – the largest organ of the human body – is growing faster than the fat and muscle that will fill it.
Your physical pregnancy changes
Your tummy is growing and is probably much more prominent now. On the plus side, you’ll be able to proudly answer ‘Yes!’ when people ask if you’re pregnant. The downside though, is that sleeping will be far less comfortable – time to make use of your pillows!
Some other physical symptoms you may begin to experience are:
· Braxton Hicks contractions – these should be painless contractions at the top of your uterus, which prepare mums-to-be for labour. If you experience any painful contractions, it’s recommended that you seek advice from your doctor.
· An increase in vaginal discharge – a clear or milky coloured discharge is perfectly normal during pregnancy. If you should start to feel itchiness or discomfort, visit your doctor to check for a yeast infection.
· Night-time cramps – maintaining healthy salt/sodium levels, drinking plenty of water and stretching your muscles out before going to bed are great preventatives.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
Excess hormones and the physical strain on your body may cause headaches around week 23 of pregnancy. Depending on the cause (stress, dehydration, lack of fresh air or exercise, or even caffeine withdrawal if you are still having the occasional cup) and the severity of your pain, there are a number of ways you can tackle them.
Make sure you’re drinking lots of water and eat regularly as headaches can be caused by dehydration or low blood sugar. Take some time out and treat yourself to a lie down in a cool, dark room – you might just be overtired. A complementary therapy such as acupuncture, shiatsu or reflexology may also help.
Your week 23 pregnancy checklist
· Make sure you have some extra pillows handy for a good night’s rest – not for your head, but for supporting your expanding belly.
· Buy a refillable water bottle and keep hydrated.
· Start stretching your leg muscles before bed.
· Take time to de-stress each day – it might help headaches and other common niggles.
· Consider complementary therapies – relaxing as well as healing.
· Say goodbye to standing on public transport! Make the most of that now-visible baby bump.