Your baby is as big as an eggplant. Her brain and hearing are more developed this week, and she's beginning to recognize your voice.
Billions of brain cells will develop in your baby's brain over the next couple of weeks. These will control all of your baby's movements and sensory, and basic life functions like breathing. Also around this time, some major changes are happening with your baby's lungs. Surfactant is being produced, a substance that enables the air sacs to inflate and the lungs to fully expand. Right now she's still breathing amniotic fluid, but when she's born she'll be ready for air.
With the baby-to-be crouched and her legs pulled in toward her chest, you can almost see her complete profile. Images of the baby's entire body are difficult now that she's more than 8 inches in length. She's about to experience a dramatic weight gain in the coming weeks. For now, she's still relatively thin.Read More
That baby of yours sure needs a lot of nutrients. As she uses more and more of the vitamins and minerals passing through your body, you might need an extra dose. That's why doctors sometimes prescribe iron supplements, in addition to your prenatal vitamin, during the second half of pregnancy. The extra boost may help reduce your risk of anemia, a condition in which your body doesn't get the 30 milligrams of iron it needs every day to produce enough red blood cells; this can trigger symptoms like serious fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Contact your doctor right away if you feel any of those symptoms during your second or third trimesters. Anemia won't harm the baby in most cases, but it can really zap your energy levels. The good news, though, is that it's usually easily treatable with a daily supplement.
If upper back pain is your biggest complaint, you may be able to solve the problem with a new, more supportive bra. Some women have trouble adapting to the weight of growing breasts.
By the time Week 23 rolls around, you've had a lot of time to think about parenthood, and what it means to have a real live baby on the way. You might have planned your nursery, and thought about parenting styles (which you may or may not stick to when reality hits), and you might have spent a moment or two considering your partner and what kind of parent he (or she) will be. Sure you love them—that's why you're in this pregnancy situation—but what will they be like when there's the pitter patter to think about?