Get ready for a major growth spurt — beginning this week, your baby will likely double in size over the next month or so.
And with those pregnancy hormones on overdrive, you may start noticing that foggy, hazy feeling known as "pregnancy brain."
One solution? Make post-it notes your friend and stick little reminders where you'll see them around the house.
Your Baby at Week 23
At a Glance
23 weeks pregnant is how many months?
If you're 23 weeks pregnant, you're in month 6 of your pregnancy. Only 3 months left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
How big is my baby at 23 weeks?
At around 11 inches long and just over a pound, this week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain.
Your baby should double his weight over the next four weeks alone — and you may feel as though you do too.
Baby's skin and organs
Baby's skin is a bit saggy since it grows a lot faster than fat, but soon he’ll start to fit his frame as fat deposits fill things out.
By the time your baby is born, he will be pleasantly plump and filled out, from chubby cheeks to chubby toes.
And although at 23 weeks pregnant your baby's organs and bones are visible through his skin, he'll become less transparent once those fat deposits settle in.
You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat through a stethoscope
You’ve probably heard your developing baby's heartbeat through a Doppler a number of times already, though you never get tired of hearing it, but by now you or your doctor might also be able to hear it through a standard stethoscope (though sometimes, it can be tricky to find). What a heartthrob!
Your Body at Week 23
New symptoms start
Yes, the baby you're expecting is cozily ensconced in your abdomen, but by now you've probably noticed that pregnancy affects you from head to toe — and pretty much everywhere in between.
At 23 weeks pregnant, your mind is fuzzy (this is your brain…this is your brain on progesterone) and your feet are growing. The palms of your hands and soles of your feet might be red and you might be more prone to heat rash and skin tags.
Stretch marks are blooming in vibrant shades of pink, red, purple, reddish-brown or dark brown on pretty much every available surface of skin and…wait! What's that funky dark line running down the center of your belly?
Believe it or not, it's called the "dark line" — or linea nigra. A common emblem of pregnancy that may be more noticeable in darker-skinned women, the linea nigra runs between your belly button and your pubic area. It's caused by the same pregnancy hormones responsible for all the skin discolorations you might be seeing, like the darker shade of your areolas and the deeper tone of the freckles on your arms and legs.
Some women, again, usually those with darker-skin, notice discoloration on the face too, especially in the area around the nose, forehead, cheeks and eyes. It's called the mask of pregnancy (or melasma) because it appears as a mask-like configuration on the face.
Rest assured, you won't be playing masquerade for much longer. All these skin changes will fade within a few months after delivery. In the meantime, bring on the concealer — though not the bleaching creams, which won't work anyway.
Learning to relax
Is your growing bundle of joy making you a quivering bundle of nerves? Breathe, baby, breathe!
Now's a great time to learn some soothing relaxation techniques — and not just because they can help you cope with pregnancy worries and, soon, labor contractions. They'll also come in handy during those new-parent moments when baby won't stop crying, the phone is ringing and it's just you (and your little one) in the house.
Yoga is a fabulous de-stresser, if you have time to take a class. But here's a pregnancy meditation technique you can use just about anywhere, anytime, to soothe your soul:
1. Sit with your eyes closed and imagine a relaxing, peaceful scene, like a sunset over your favorite beach, waves gently lapping the shore or a serene mountain vista with a babbling brook.
2. Working your way up from your toes to your face, concentrate on relaxing every muscle one-by-one. Breathe deeply through your nose, exhaling through your mouth, and aim for 10 to 20 minutes if you can swing it.
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 23
Tips for You This Week
It can be almost as hard to get a good night's sleep when you're pregnant as it is when you're a new parent. In fact, according to one study, a whopping 78 percent of women experience sleep problems at some point, or many points, during pregnancy.
With all that’s going on in your body — and brain — it’s no wonder that a full night’s rest can be so elusive. If you find it hard to get comfortable, try sliding a pillow between your legs and resting with your knees bent.
While you’re weeks away from meeting baby, it’s time to start thinking about maternity leave. Connect with both HR and your supervisor to make sure you’re all on the same page and you’re familiar with the details.
Keep a bottle of water by your side at all times. Staying hydrated helps maintain your additional blood volume, renews amniotic fluid and bolsters milk production.
A general rule of thumb: Try to drink between eight and 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day, though it really varies based on your body type and size, how active you are and so on.
Be sure to talk to your practitioner about what works for you and your situation.
Now that it's being squished by your growing uterus, your bladder makes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria — and that can lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI). Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can reduce your chances of developing a UTI during pregnancy.
Drink lots of water and cranberry juice (though the second remedy has mixed results), ideally one that doesn't contain added sugar.
Check your urine color — if it's dark, not straw-colored, you're not getting enough fluids and could be setting yourself up for a UTI.
Other tips: Don't hold it in — pee as soon as you feel the urge and can find a bathroom. Concentrate on completely emptying your bladder when you go to the bathroom, and try leaning forward when you pee. Wipe from front to back.
Lastly, clean your genitals and the areas surrounding them, particularly after having sex. Wear all-cotton underwear and take showers rather than baths whenever possible.
Now that you've passed your first trimester, are you thinking about getting your hair straightened or curled at the salon? You might want to reconsider.
There is the possibility that your hormone-infused locks will respond oddly to the chemicals — for example, you might end up with a ball of frizz instead of a crown of ringlets. There's also a slight chance that the substances can be absorbed through the scalp and into your bloodstream.
Highlights are considered safe by most practitioners, however, since the color isn’t applied as close to the scalp. So are milder treatments like all-vegetable dyes or ammonia-free blends, so chances are you’ll be able to create those auburn or gold tones with no problem.
But ask. An ultra-cautious practitioner or stylist may recommend against any chemical processing until after your baby is born.
You can't go wrong by filling your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables — whether they're organic or not.
Still, organic foods may have a few benefits, including fewer pesticides in organic produce than conventional fruits and vegetables (if there's any at all).
Organic foods are also free of artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives. Organic produce does tend to be more expensive than conventional fruits and vegetables and can have a shorter shelf-life.
Remember, what's most important is choosing a wide variety of nutritious foods and fresh, ripe fruits and veggies in a range of colors. And no matter what kind of fruits and veggies you buy — conventional or organic — you'll need to wash your produce meticulously in cold water before eating it.
Everybody (and their pregnant neighbor) is doing it — but is Pilates the right exercise for you? Absolutely — and it's not a stretch!
This mind-body discipline focuses on strengthening your core and elongating your muscles, increasing tone, strength and flexibility — just what you need when you're exercising for two.
Just be sure not to try any of the moves on your own if you’re a novice. Best to practice them with a Pilates instructor, preferably one who specializes in prenatal exercises.
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