Pregnancy week 23

Week 23 of Your Pregnancy

Your baby is continuing to grow at week 23 of pregnancy, and your body is transforming before your eyes. Here's what to expect.

Welcome to your 23rd week. You've been in your second trimester for over two months and—hopefully—feel settled into your pregnancy. At the same time, you've likely heard that the big day will be here before you know it as you live life with a bump that's more noticeable week by week. It'll grow with your developing unborn baby as the days and weeks pass. Here's what's happening on the inside this week.

Pregnancy Week 23 Quick Facts

  • At 23 weeks, you're six months pregnant
  • You have 17 weeks until your due date
  • You're in your second trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 23 Weeks

At 23 weeks, your baby is about 11.38 inches long and weighs approximately 1.10 pounds. That’s like the size of an eggplant.

week 23

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 23

While many people say the second trimester is the easiest and least symptomatic of the three, everyone is different, and your body is continuing to change. As a result, you may start experiencing more and more symptoms as you near the end of the second trimester including:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Round ligament pain
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Thicker, shinier hair
  • Tiredness 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue

A nosebleed likely isn't a welcome symptom, but it results from the increased blood volume needed to support fetal development, explains Sunoz "Sunny" Soroosh, CNM, WHNP-BC, MPH, a certified nurse midwife with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. As for bleeding gums, those are likely due to pregnancy gingivitis.

Round ligament pain is typically felt in the groin. To alleviate the pain, "you can try using an abdominal support belt or 'belly band,’ and warm—not hot—baths or compresses," Soroosh says. Keep in mind, for some people, stretching may make the pain worse as it's the stretching of the ligament that causes the discomfort to begin with.

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. Increased blood volume causes blood vessels to swell so those itchy, painful varicose veins in your rectal area can expand. Increased pelvic pressure due to pregnancy can also contribute to hemorrhoids. Over-the-counter medications, witch hazel pads, or sitz baths can help treat them. "It is very important not to strain while having a bowel movement," adds Soroosh. "It will aggravate the hemorrhoids, so make sure to use a 'Squatty Potty' or stool under your feet when using the toilet, and include plenty of fiber and fluids in your diet to keep your stool soft."

Enjoy the thicker, shinier hair—a welcome result of hormones. Take it easy if you're tired, and discuss consistent sleep problems with your provider.

Developmental Milestones

You may not know it, but your developing fetus is gaining fat and growing this week. "Be sure to continue a healthy diet and good nutrition," says Soroosh.

You may wonder if you signed your little one up for an in-utero karate class this week. "The baby may start to kick a lot more than before, and you may see your stomach move with these kicks," Soroosh says. "You may also notice them moving in response to sugary beverages such as juice."

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

In complication-free pregnancies, you will typically see your doctor around 24 weeks. If you've scheduled yours a couple of days early, this check-up may happen in your 23rd week of pregnancy.

"During your doctor's appointment, your provider will check your blood pressure, urine, and listen to the fetal heartbeat," says Brittany Noel Robles, M.D., MPH, CPT, an OB-GYN and personal trainer specializing in postpartum people. "Some patients may also get a formal ultrasound at this time, depending on your baby's growth."

Your provider will also measure the fundal height by putting a tape measure around your belly. "[It's a way] to measure the baby by measuring your belly," Dr. Robles says.

While no other additional tests are done at this time, Dr. Robles stresses you can opt out of certain things that may seem routine, such as a weight check.

"Don't hesitate to bring up any questions or concerns with your provider so that you can get the best individual care based on your goals," adds Dr. Robles.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

What vaginal discharge is normal?
Some vaginal discharge is normal. "The amount of discharge during this time is increased due to the effects of high levels of progesterone," says Katerina Shkodzik, M.D., OB-GYN, medical advisor at Mira. There isn't anything to worry about, notes Dr. Shkodzick, as long as there are no signs of vaginal infections. These symptoms might include:

  • Cottage cheese discharge
  • Yellow/green discharge
  • Itching or burning in the vaginal area
  • Discharge with a fishy smell
  • Painful sex or urination

Everyone says your libido rises in the second trimester. Mine hasn't. Am I normal?
Give yourself grace if your sex drive hasn't increased in the second trimester. Just because it does for some, doesn't mean it will for you. "Everyone is unique and may have different libido during pregnancy," says Dr. Shkodzik. "Someone may have some discomfort in the lower abdomen due to uterine ligaments stretching, bloating, constipation, or backache that consequently make one not feel comfortable to have sex."

Other reasons someone may not want to have sex include fatigue. Though having sex during pregnancy is typically safe, Dr. Shkodzik says some people are also afraid to harm the baby. Any reason is a valid one to not want to have sex. So is no reason at all.

"There is no right or wrong way to feel," Dr. Robles says. "The most important factor is to feel comfortable and not force anything that isn't enjoyable for you. Speak with your provider to explore other ways to connect and be intimate with your partner."

I am experiencing massive disappointment about my baby's sex. I feel horrible. What should I do?

Finding out your unborn baby's assigned sex can feel exciting. But you may also be upset—and then upset at yourself for being upset. Go easy on yourself. "It is understandable to feel disappointed about your baby's sex," Dr. Robles says. "Your feelings are valid; take time to process your emotions. Give yourself time, be kind with yourself, and seek support. Try and connect with other parents to share your feelings and get advice from others who understand what you are going through."

Things You Might Consider This Week

Your due date is about 17 weeks away—and that can feel like almost an eternity. But it can sneak up on you (and some babies come a bit early, including first ones—mine made his entrance at 39 weeks and took me by surprise). Chipping away at to-do's a little bit at a time can help you feel less overwhelmed as the big day approaches, whenever that winds up being.

One item that can't wait much longer: The one-hour glucose test, which screens for gestational diabetes. This test can be done between 24-28 weeks. But appointments can book up, so Dr. Robles suggests looking into it sooner rather than later.

Ditto for child care, especially as daycares have waitlists. Speaking of which, it's up to you when to tell your boss you are pregnant if you’re working. But if you haven't yet, Soroosh suggests considering breaking the news around this week. "It will be a good time for you both to start preparing for your maternity leave," Soroosh says.

Your employee handbook will have your company's guidelines on the lead time needed for parental leave, and your HR department can walk you through any paperwork you need to fill out.

Katerina Shkodzik, M.D.

Don't hesitate to work with a psychotherapist at this time in case of signs of depression or anxiety.

— Katerina Shkodzik, M.D.

Support You May Need This Week

Pregnancy can be a physical and emotional rollercoaster, and symptoms can come and go. You deserve support for all of them.

"Consider any meditation course or classes to manage sleep problems and any mood changes that appear," Dr. Shkodzik says. "Don't hesitate to work with a psychotherapist at this time in case of signs of depression or anxiety."

Self-care is important, but so is surrounding yourself with people who support you. Continue (or start) building the village that will lift you up as your pregnancy reaches the end and the fourth trimester begins.

"Do your best to have people you care about around you as the third trimester approaches. It doesn't have to be physical connections either," Dr. Robles says. "There are many online support groups you can become a part of. Also, reach out to your provider for referrals to services such as a doula, childbirth classes, and lactation counseling. In addition, your providers can help you apply for WIC if needed, as well as connect you to mental health professionals."

Head over to week 24 of pregnancy

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