Welcome to Scary Mommy’s pregnancy week by week guide! We’re here to give you all the info about what to expect when you’re expecting: be it week by week symptoms, your baby’s development, your changing body, or ultrasounds and appointments. Here’s everything you need to know about week 23.
Your Body at Week 23 Pregnant
You’re Probably Showing
At this stage, your bump has likely fully popped and people can probably tell you’re pregnant. If you are a sitcom actor and your character isn’t pregnant, be prepared to have to constantly carry file folders, large handbags, and plants in front of your abdomen from now until when you give birth.
This also means that people are probably commenting on your new size and shape. If anyone tells you that you’re either too big or too small for your gestational phase, try not to take it personally. Folks get all sorts of awkward around pregnant people and unfortunately, say some pretty inappropriate things. If you actually are concerned about your size, talk to your doctor about it — not your buttinski coworker.
You May Be Leaking
You probably don’t need us to tell you that your uterus is now located directly on top of your bladder. And yes, that means you may be leaking a little more than usual. Thankfully, you’re just peeing your pants a little. But if you’re worried and leaking more than just a little, here’s how to tell the difference between pee and amniotic fluid: Unlike urine, amniotic fluid is odorless, so that’s a good clue. If your membranes have ruptured, this means you’re leaking amniotic fluid, and it will come out in either a sudden gush or a constant trickle. If that’s the case, contact your doctor immediately.
There May Be Swelling & Stretching
Get ready to get bigger. No, we’re not just talking about your bump — your feet and ankles may start to swell too. The average weight gain at 23 weeks is 12 to 15 pounds, and you may start to notice some stretch marks forming. That’s all part of the pregnancy package, so don’t panic.
Your Baby at Week 23 Pregnant
At 23 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a plate of poutine, weighing in at around 1 pound and is approximately 11 to 14 inches long. At this point, your baby is really making use of all those nutrients you’re feeding it and putting on some weight.
Your baby is also continuing to grow fine hair, known as lanugo, which covers its whole little body. The difference is that now it’s getting a little darker, which means it’ll be easier to spot in an ultrasound. Between the new low-lights and filling out, that fetus is really starting to look like a human baby, and not just a blob.
Your Symptoms and Health at Week 23 Pregnant
Here Come the Hemorrhoids
First the leaking and now hemorrhoids? It’s your lucky week! Unfortunately, you may start to notice that your anus is particularly sore and that you’ve developed hemorrhoids. This is totally normal, but that doesn’t make it any more comfortable. Try soaking in warm water or using an over-the-counter remedy recommended by your doctor to help with the pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Yes, of course we know that we should all be staying hydrated, but mama, this is especially true for you right now. Water is best, but feel free to mix it up with fruit or vegetable juices, milk, or herbal teas. Stay away from caffeinated beverages, because those are diuretics, and the last thing you need right now is something else that makes you run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Want a quick and only semi-gross way to check your hydration levels? If your pee is pale yellow or clear, you’re good to go. If it’s a more robust yellow, drink some more.
You Are Getting Very Sleepy
You’ve probably been tired since you hit puberty, but get ready for it to really kick in around the 23 week mark. You may find yourself wanting to go to bed early and take naps — and if you’re able to do those things, that’s great! If your bump is getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, try using a pregnancy body pillow in different positions to support it as it grows.
Get Ready For Your Maternity Leave
Now is also the time that you should be finalizing any maternity leave plans or paperwork with your employer. It’s probably also a good idea to review your rights in the workplace as a pregnant person, because you have enough to deal with already without having to handle discrimination.
As sleepy as you may be feeling, you might also have random bursts of energy this week. If you’d like to make the most of this, give prenatal yoga a try. It can help with relieving pain and stress, getting you a better sleep and increasing your flexibility before birth.
The contents of this article have been medically reviewed by Ruth A. Tessler, M.D. in July, 2019.
Written by Elizabeth Yuko.
Follow Preggo Nancy’s pregnancy journey week-by-week and share in her joy, her symptoms, and even her pregnancy cravings.