23 Weeks Pregnant
At 23 weeks pregnant, baby is getting ready for their big debut by listening in on what’s going on in the outside world. We know you’re getting ready too. Just remember: While having the nursery painted and stocked with diapers is important, there are some less fun to-dos you should have on your radar—namely, financials. Week 23 of pregnancy is a good time to call your health insurance company to see how you’re currently covered and decide what adjustments you’ll need to make for baby. Consider writing a will if you don’t have one, or updating your current one. And how’s baby’s savings account going? If you’re like, “what savings account?” now is a good time to start one. Even making small deposits will help once you factor in the time value of money—the earlier you start saving, the faster your money will compound. One study found that kids who have their own savings account are more likely to go to college, and another one estimated the average cost of raising a baby until age 18 to be over $226,000. Whoa!
You’re 23 weeks pregnant, and baby is as big as a grapefruit! The average 23-week fetus measures 11.4 inches from head to foot and weighs 1.1 pounds. Yep, baby’s almost a foot long, and at 23 weeks, baby size is finally able to be weighed in pounds! And baby isn’t just getting bigger, they’re also getting even cuter and starting to look more like a baby.
How many months is 23 weeks? At this point, you're five months pregnant. It can get confusing, we know—those 40 weeks of pregnancy don't break out cleanly into nine months. That's why doctors refer to your stage in pregnancy by week, not month.
While you’ve kissed first trimester nausea and fatigue goodbye, you’re probably dealing with the discomfort that 23 weeks pregnant symptoms can bring. This can include:
- Swollen ankles and feet. Some puffiness is totally normal. Deal with it by putting your feet up as much as you can, taking regular walks and drinking lots of water. Call your doctor if you get extreme or sudden swelling, which can be a sign of a dangerous pregnancy complication called preeclampsia.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. It’s a totally weird sensation the first time you notice your belly getting super tight! Your muscles are flexing, basically to prep for the Wonder Woman-like tightening they’re going to have to do during labor. So as long as they go away quickly, they’re just par for the pregnancy course. Drink plenty of water and change positions frequently to stay comfortable.
- Backaches. Sorry, but lingering backaches are to be expected, as your growing baby starts to bend your spine and stress your back muscles. Backaches are especially common for women who are 23 weeks pregnant with twins. Pain, on the other hand, could be cause for concern, so tell your OB if it really hurts.
- Bleeding and/or swollen gums. You probably didn’t expect pregnancy to affect your mouth! Pregnancy hormones increase your blood flow, making your gums more likely to swell and bleed. If your mouth is feeling more sensitive than usual, switch to a soft bristle toothbrush and continue flossing with TLC. And stick with your normal dental exam routine, seeing the dentist at least every six months. In fact, your dentist may want to do extra checks while you’re pregnant—but will avoid X-rays, which aren’t usually recommended for pregnant women.
What to expect at 23 weeks pregnant
Are things getting real at 23 weeks? If your 23 weeks pregnant symptoms have you wondering what’s going to happen to your body over the remainder of your pregnancy, you’re not alone. Pregnancy is incredible, and some may even call it magical, but it also wreaks havoc on your body. If you’re feeling anxious about what’s going on with your body or about caring for this new human that’s arriving soon, take a deep breath. These feelings are perfectly normal, and it’s okay to feel a little freaked out. Share your feelings with your doctor, your partner or a trusted friend so you can talk and let those emotions out.
A typical 23 weeks pregnant belly measures about 21 to 25 centimeters from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. (That’s the fundal height of your 23 week baby bump.) At 23 weeks pregnant, you’ve probably gained about 12 to 15 pounds. And if you’re 23 weeks pregnant with twins, you should have gained at least 23 pounds so far. By gaining the recommended amount of weight for a twin pregnancy, you’ll reduce your risk of preterm labor.
At 23 weeks pregnant, baby movement probably feels pretty cool—and it’s always a comfort knowing baby is in there wiggling around. If you pay attention, you’ll get to know your 23-week fetus’s routine: Baby is less active when they’re sleeping and a kung fu master when they’re awake. Some parents even swear their newborns kept similar routines after birth as they did in utero. So, if your kicker is keeping you up at night, consider this a warning!
Wondering what you’d see if you had a 23 weeks pregnant ultrasound? Well, baby is forming little nipples (yeah, really!) at this stage. And your cute little 23-week fetus’s face is fully formed—they just need a little extra fat to fill it out. Baby is entertaining themselves by listening to your voice and your heartbeat and can even hear some loud sounds like cars honking and dogs barking.
You’re seeing your OB only once a month right now, so you may not have a doctor’s appointment or a 23 weeks pregnant ultrasound. Enjoy a little time off from all the doctor’s poking and prodding and having to pee in a cup! And you may be done with your genetic testing.
In the third trimester, you’ll be busier with appointments, seeing your doctor every other week. And you may not feel as energetic as you do now. So use this time to get stuff done and out of the way!
What does baby do at 23 Weeks?
A 23-week-old fetus is working hard on brain development, building muscle by kicking and punching and gaining the fat that will make those cheeks so kissable. Baby is also practicing breathing and reacting to what happens to your body. You might notice baby responds when you drink hot or cold beverages and gets active after you eat. You might also find that baby seems to sleep when you move around but likes to start their gymnastics routine right when you’re ready to sleep. Welcome to parenthood!
Should you feel your baby move everyday at 23 weeks?
The answer depends on several different factors, including the position of your placenta and whether this is your first pregnancy. It’s possible that you haven’t felt baby move yet, and some first-time mothers don’t feel baby kick until close to the third trimester. The position of your placenta also impacts how soon you feel baby move, so you may only feel a few movements. Regardless, there’s no need to count kicks until 28 weeks. Pay close attention after you’ve eaten, as the rise in blood sugar often makes baby more energetic.
Get outside and enjoy the sun
Getting your vitamin D is important when you’re pregnant, and spending time in the sun is the best way to get it. Get outside every day and enjoy 5 to 30 minutes in the sun (depending on your skin tone). Just be careful not to overdo it and get a sunburn!
Plan for time off
Now that everyone can see that you’re pregnant, it’s a good time to finalize your maternity leave for after the baby is born. Make sure you’ll still have insurance coverage and enough money to get by without worrying.
Look into childcare if you’ll need it
If you’ll need childcare soon after baby is born, get it set up now. It might seem early, but in certain places, childcare spots can be hard to come by. Consider whether you want a childcare center or a nanny, and think about the benefits, challenges and budget considerations for your family.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed Novemember 2020 by Patricia Pollio, MD, a New York-based ob-gyn and director of the department of obstetrics & gynecology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York.