23 weeks pregnant is more than half of the way through pregnancy, and there are some exciting developments going on at this stage of development. Your baby is in the process of developing lungs, which will allow them to breathe outside of your body, and your body itself is gearing up for lactation in order to feed your baby in a few months.
How big is a 23 week baby?
At 23 weeks, your baby is probably around 11 and a half inches long, and weighs about 1.1 pounds. You’ll be hitting that foot long mark soon, and you’ve passed the 1 pound threshold. That’s exciting progress. For reference, your baby is now around the size and weight of a long, thin melon or a marrow. It’s hard to come up with a precise comparison, though, as everyone’s baby will be developing slightly differently and will be slightly different sizes and weights.
Your baby at 23 weeks
At this point in its development, your baby is just on the edge of some major changes. At 23 weeks, most of its effort is being put into developing blood vessels in its lungs in order to allow it to breathe once it is born. For now, though, it’s still breathing amniotic fluid inside the womb, but it’s starting to prepare everything it needs to survive outside.
A 23 week baby is also well on the way to developing a strong circulatory system. Its heartbeat should be strong at this point, and can be heard through a stethoscope! Fun fact, though: your 23 week baby is still transparent! It won’t have started to store fat deposits yet, which is the point at which it will stop being transparent, but for now you could see through it if you looked at it directly! It’s also able to hear a little bit at this point, detecting your voice and some very loud sounds around it. It won’t be able to hear everything that’s going on, but it’s well on its way to that stage now.
While your baby might not have grown all that much in the last week or so, it’s about to kick off a major growth spurt. Over the next four weeks, it should double in weight to around 2.2 pounds, putting on about 6 ounces or so every week. That’s a big step up in its development, so be prepared for some changes there!
Your body at 23 weeks
Just as your baby is going through a lot of changes at the moment, your body is going through a lot of changes too. Here’s a quick run down of the sorts of changes that you may be experiencing at 23 weeks present.
At this point, your breasts will start to change from being purely decorative to beginning lactation. You may notice that they start to leak slightly. It won’t be proper milk at this point, only a little bit of colostrum, but you might still want to buy some nursing pads to protect your clothes anyway. Your nipples will also be changing for the same reason, and may start to darken at this point, and stick out a bit more. They’ll go back to normal once you finish breastfeeding, but at this point they’re getting ready for easier feeding of your baby.
You’ll find that by 23 weeks, your baby is large and heavy enough to put a fair bit of pressure on your bladder. That means that you’ll probably need to pee much more frequently than normal, and you might even leak a little bit. That’s perfectly normal, and an unavoidable consequence of having a baby squeezing your bladder 24/7!
In all likelihood, your feet and ankles will have swollen up a little bit at this point. This is because you’re retaining water, and can be dealt with by raising your feet up when you sit, and making sure you change positions often and exercise regularly. If you make sure you drink more water, too, this might sound counter intuitive, but it’ll help your body to retain water less.
And now, the bit that nobody really wants to talk about. Vaginal discharges! It’s completely normal to experience more discharge than usual at this point in pregnancy, but if it looks significantly different from normal, you should see a doctor. If it’s itchy, or funny smelling, or oddly colored, or just doesn’t stop at all, check with your healthcare provider, because this could be a sign of other issues.
You and your life at 23 weeks
You’re solidly over the half way line at 23 weeks, but there’s still 17 weeks to go, so you should do what you can to keep busy and look after yourself at this point. Keeping fit during pregnancy is important, and it’s worth scouting out pre natal yoga, swimming or pilates classes at this stage in your journey.
You might not be up for quite as much socializing at this point as you were 23 weeks ago, but it’s worth the effort keeping up with friends. Even if it’s only for a little bit, seeing your friends can help keep you happy and feeling normal!