The Inside Story: Your Baby in Week Twenty-Three

Your baby is walking around your belly a lot this week, and her eyes may even flutter open occasionally.

This week your baby is so busy that it feels like she's walking around in your belly. And guess what? That's exactly what she's doing, pushing her feet against the uterine wall in preparation for taking those first steps alone. At this point, your baby is about 11 inches long and weighs just over 1 pound. She is developed enough to have a chance of surviving outside of your body with intensive care. Her nostrils are unsealed, and she's capable of muscular breathing, but her lungs need a little more time to mature.

Her other organs are almost in full gear. Her pancreas can now produce insulin and makes more if she's exposed to high levels of blood sugar in your body. Her brain is still growing rapidly inside her skull, which has four plates that aren't completely closed to allow for that brain growth. Even after birth, these skull plates won't be completely joined, because the human brain triples in size during the first year of life.

Your baby's lips are more distinct, and her eyes may flutter open occasionally, though she won't really open them fully until the 7th month. She has more pigment in her skin this week, and more fat is accumulating beneath it.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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