23 weeks pregnant
How is your baby growing at 23 weeks?
Your baby should now be more than 28cm long from head to heel and weigh up to about 550g. During the next month your baby may almost double in weight, with a layer of fat appearing beneath the skin and the muscles developing at a rapid pace. Pigment should be starting to appear in your baby's skin, so it will be losing its transparency. Around this stage your baby's fingerprints and footprints will be forming.
Your baby's lungs will continue to develop, but they won't be ready to start breathing in air. The pancreas continues to develop steadily and the baby may be able to produce insulin for breaking down sugars.
The bones in the inner ears – which contribute to balance – should now be developed and have hardened, which means your baby should be able to feel the sensation of being upside down when he or she is turning head over heels inside your womb. This will be an active week for your baby, who should be enjoying moving about in the amniotic fluid. Your baby's activities might even be noticeable through your skin if there are any strong movements.
How are you changing in week 23?
You may notice that you feel clumsy as your bump gets larger and your centre of gravity starts to shift. If your belly button was an "innie", don't be surprised if it suddenly changes sides and becomes an "outie". It should go back to being an "innie" after the baby is born.
If you notice that you have a clear to yellowish vaginal discharge that has a faint smell, don't be alarmed – this is normal. However, if the smell or colour changes significantly, you may have an infection and should contact your doctor or midwife.
There are a number of causes of bleeding in the second and third trimesters – both minor and serious. These include changes in the cervix leading to bleeding after sexual intercourse or you may have a vaginal infection. A fibroid - a non-cancerous growth in the womb - may cause bleeding if implantation takes place near it. More seriously, if the placenta comes away from the wall of the womb, known as placental abruption, there may be bleeding – but there may be no bleeding and you may only feel pain. A low-lying placenta may result in heavy bleeding. Sometimes the cause of bleeding remains elusive.
If at any time you notice bleeding from the vagina, call your doctor or midwife – even if the bleeding stops. You will be monitored, perhaps in hospital, to determine the cause of bleeding and the best actions for you and your baby.
What you need to know in week 23
To avoid injury to your baby when travelling in a car – a possible cause of injury to pregnant women – ensure you position your seat belt properly. Place your shoulder strap diagonally so it sits between your breasts and over your bump, and position the lap strap across your thighs, under your bump.