23 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms and What to Expect
Your Growing Fetus at 23 Weeks
Your baby is probably as light as 1.1 lbs. of feathers by now. Yes, light as a lot of feathers! At 11.4“ that’s about as tall as a Barbie doll. Or maybe a Ken doll.
- If you had a stethoscope you would very likely be able to hear a heartbeat now. It’s strong and distinct and a mind-blowing sign that there’s a little human onboard.
- Baby is listening in now, too. Paying attention to the world outside and able to respond to loud sounds. Mom’s voice is most likely soothing.
- While this baby is still breathing the amniotic fluid he or she is floating in, those lungs are developing more and more blood vessels to grow more lung tissue. The more lung tissue, the more oxygen can get into the blood. But this process of breathing air is still a ways off. For now, the baby is making blood vessels like crazy.
- Baby is starting a growth spurt phase and set to gain around six oz. each week. So in about four weeks from now your little passenger will have doubled his or her weight. And you will probably notice that. Your feet most definitely will!
Pregnancy Superfood for Week 23
Quinoa is not a grain, it’s a seed. Red, black or white quinoa is a gluten-free “complete” protein which means it has all nine amino acids that a human body cannot produce on its own. This is an important fact if you eat a vegan diet.
We can’t produce these amino acids so we have to eat them in fairly equal amounts and quinoa serves them up in an easy to cook package. You get cholesterol-lowering fiber; 25% more protein than a refined grain; and these little seeds deliver anti-inflammatory alpha-linoleic acids, oleic acids, and omega 3-fatty acids even after they’ve been cooked.
You also get iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper. The quinoa seed has a bitter taste if you don’t remove the “saponin’ covering. Just put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly and it’ll come off.
Cooking quinoa is easy. You can use 2 c vegetable broth or water to boil 1 c quinoa and you’ll have 3 c cooked quinoa. Put it all in a saucepan and bring to a boil then cover and cook on low for 15 min. Let stand and cool, covered for 5 full min. You can add garlic, rosemary or pepper to taste.
Here’s a great recipe:
Easy Quinoa And Roasted, Buttery Veggies:
- Preheat oven 400 F
- In a saucepan boil 1c quinoa + 2 c water, reduce heat (low), cover and cook 15 min.
- Cool covered a full 5 min
- In a skillet melt: 8 tbsp butter + 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- Arrange vegetables on the baking pan:
- ½ butternut squash (seed, peel, large chunks)
- 2 parsnips (peel, halve 1” pieces)
- 2 carrots (peel, halve 1” pieces)
- ½ red onion (large chunks)
- Cover veggies in half the garlic butter, add salt and pepper, toss. Roast 35 to 40 min (golden brown). Allow it to cool a minute.
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 1/4 c pine nuts
- 6 oz arugula
- 1 c Parmesan
How to Prepare:
- Pour the other half of the garlic butter into a bowl whisk with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Put pine nuts in a skillet, toast on low 5-7 min (light brown). Set aside.
- Place arugula in a large bowl, add vegetables, garlic butter dressing, quinoa, pine nuts, and toss.
- Shave Parmesan on top. Serve warm.
Top Tip for Week Twenty Three
By now you absolutely have a belly and that means weight on the tissues around the bladder. If you haven’t been religious about doing Kegels now is the time to tone up that pelvic floor.
Kegel 10 seconds, relax 10 seconds. This will help with bladder control and increase circulation to the muscles and other tissues you will use during delivery. That means better recovery after.
If you’re already having a little trouble with that then try doing a kegel whenever you lift something cough or sneeze. You will be ever so grateful once you’ve delivered and you don’t have the hemorrhoid horror stories that you’ve heard by now.
You’ll also have much better bladder control than the ladies who forgot to do this simple thing. It’s easy if you pair them with an activity like washing dishes, making breakfast, washing your face and putting on makeup or doing your hair.
Your best bet is to do them on a schedule and whenever else you think about them. But definitely, do them!
Inspirational Message of the Week from Already Moms
“You are the closest I will ever come to magic.”
Big Efforts from your Co-Creator
Bathroom duty. Your partner has been spending a lot of time running to the bathroom. It doesn’t take long but she has to pee a lot more than usual. So let’s make this a tidy, inviting, calming environment.
Make sure her favorite scented soap or hand lotion she likes is always there. Is it time to upgrade the hand towels and make this a cheery space? Is the lighting flattering to a pregnant woman’s face?
Public restrooms. While no one expects you to go into a ladies room and check it out it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of the places you take your pregnant lady. If you’re wandering around a flea market you want to make sure there are facilities she can use and, if not, just how far will you have to go to get her to a restroom?
When dining out or shopping at a mall take a second to find out where the ladies rooms are located and point them out now and then so she doesn’t have to think about it or ask anyone. Know the distance and direction and you will have done your partner a huge favor.
This Art of Allowing
You are at 23 out of 40 weeks. A little over halfway through the full-term pregnancy. Are you saying it now? Are we there yet? The bump is a belly, you’ve been through all the classic symptoms and you are ready, so ready to have that baby.
It looks a lot like a whole baby but it’s just not quite there yet and the last half of the show is stretching out before you. This is a time you will never forget so now that the fear of miscarrying is over and you have those sonograms to show you the fingers and toes you wanted to see you can relax and enjoy the quiet; the planning; the partnership of making room for a new character in your book of life. Allow yourself to experience each moment consciously because this baby will only be born once.
Pregnancy Symptoms of Week Twenty Three
Swollen ankles: and feet, of course, the ongoing and never-ending sore, puffy foot problem. Getting in enough walking time is actually beneficial since it keeps the fluids moving but putting your feet up and enjoying cool foot baths will help too.
One precaution: if there is excess fluid retention in your feet and ankles be sure and check with your doctor. A little puffiness is expected but if it’s sudden and excessive or more than a little around the face and hands you need to make sure these are not symptoms of preeclampsia.
Nipples and your breasts: are going through a lot of changes now. They are preparing to become breastfeeding pump stations. Your nipples will likely darken and stick out as though erect.
The color is just pigmentation and as the milk glands grow the nipples get the signal to take the right shape for a baby’s mouth. Those little bumps around the areola, Montgomery’s tubercles which are tiny little oil glands intended to keep the nipples moist.
You may not have noticed them until now but they’re there to do a job so don’t worry about them but sometimes they itch. A little Lansinoh HPA Lanolin moisturizer on a nipple pad inside your bra can help.
This type of lanolin should be fine even if you have wool allergies. But if that doesn’t work try ice packs to calm the nerve endings.
Lactation: It’s not unusual for your breasts to leak a little even at this early point. There may a little colostrum escaping which is fine. This is the vitamin-laden substance that baby gets before the milk. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty left for baby.
Bladder leakage is also a common problem.
By now you’re feeling the need to pee a lot more often than usual. That’s baby putting pressure on the bladder. Lots of it and it doesn’t help that he or she is moving around now, either.
Leaking: is bound to happen now then but the only thing you need to worry about is that this is urine and not amniotic fluid. It’s very easy to tell them apart as the amniotic fluid has absolutely no odor.
Discharge: maybe just a little more problematic at this point. Aside from urine, which is the normal and amniotic fluid which is not you could have a yeast infection, an STD or bacterial vaginosis. These can all be treated so make an appointment to see the doctor and get it fixed.
Things to watch for:
- Itchiness can be bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection or an STD so make an appointment with your doctor
- A clear fluid that runs down your leg after you’ve been laying down for a ½ hour could mean your amniotic sac may have ruptured. (Call your doctor right away)
- A colored discharge could be a sign of an STD. Anything from yellow to green, brown or pink needs medical attention.
- A distinctly fishy-smell after sex could indicate about of bacterial vaginosis that your doctor will want to know about.
Your Body will Change and It’s Necessary
Are your breasts just out of control? Well, they have to go through some massive changes in order to make food for that baby. They might be doing a little experimentation with expressing milk just now which is fine but kind of alarming if you’re not ready for it.
They’re going to keep growing and stretching and making colostrum perfecting that formula so baby’s first shot is a vitamin-rich protein powerhouse. But if you find that you’re leaking now you might need nursing pads to stay dry while you’re out and about.
Our Recommended Remedy for Week 23
- Avoid air fresheners. We want everything to smell nice but commercial air fresheners from sprays to the kind you plug into your wall are not good for your lungs.
- Whatever you breathe can wind up in your blood so you’re exposing baby at the same time.
- Even scented candles can emit particulate matter that is bad for your health so try to rely on cleanliness and natural smells like a bowl of lemons or a small pot of pinks, even cut flowers.
- It’s better to get that happening now so you’ll have a good idea of what will keep the house fresh when you have some stinky diapers to contend with.
Our Best Advice to Soothe The Uncomfortable
Aches and pains
Baby is big enough to start bending your spine a bit. That adds up to backaches and joint discomfort. Keep moving as much as possible but go slowly and try and little gentle dancing and rocking around the house.
Nothing more than a slow waltz is necessary to keep the joints “oiled”. Baby is sensitive to motion at this point and will probably enjoy this as well and later when there are an ace and a name to go with this little bundle of sweetness it will feel familiar to be rocked and waltzed around whenever he or she is fussing.
Hydration is just as important for both of you. Most non-pregnancy related backaches can be eased by drinking lots of water because lack of hydration allows tissues to collapse, pinching nerves; forcing ligaments to do more work; and grinding away on cartilage.
Find a spot where you can lay down undisturbed for 15 min every now and then. With a little experimentation you should be able to assemble a collection of pillows that you can put between your knees, behind your back, behind your neck, and under your hips if necessary.
Dress them up a little so they look inviting and soothing, wrap them in happy colored fabric and ribbons or get an inexpensive but great looking grouping from a discount store. Just make sure you want to cuddle up to them when you’re in pain.
A little lavender and rice filled eye cover or a cool eye mask can ease a headache and shut out the light.
Then again, there’s nothing so comforting as the warm sun or a nice massage with warm oils to ease the aches. Even if you don’t have time for a full massage you can work a good oil or scented lotion into your hands and relax those muscles. Once a single part of the body starts to relax the rest will follow.
Preparation for Motherhood
- Let’s make some really grown-up plans. Do you have a will? We are not suggesting you’ll need it now but this is a turning point in your life and you want the baby to be well-taken care. If you don’t already have a bank account just for a baby this is a good time to start this very basic, very important process. Baby will need shoes, a car, college and more!
- Have you and your husband discussed health insurance for your child? Will it be his insurance from work or yours?
- Investigate the subject of vaccinations and discuss this with your partner and health provider. If you’ve already picked out a pediatrician you really want to have a talk about this and make sure you’re on the same page. These are really important issues that require thoughtful, well-educated deliberation so this is a very good time to find out the latest information available to you and talk about it.
Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guides