The facial features are near perfection. The arms and limbs are well developed. Your little one looks so adorable in the ultrasound snapshots. She seems a miniature version of the tiny bundle you will cuddle in your arms approximately three months down the line.
Your baby is 11 ½ inches in length and weighs slightly over a pound.
The face is fully formed only a little wrinkled. Don’t worry; the wrinkles will even out as soon as the fat padding fills in under the skin. The eyes are formed, but the irises still lack pigment. Other body proportions such as the limbs, arms, toes and fingers are also fully formed. Thus, the fetus resembles a newborn only it is smaller.
Compared to the past few weeks, there is a substantial increase in fetal movement. If you sit still, you can see your baby wriggle and writhe under your clothing. Your baby’s tiny ears are quick to pick up surrounding sounds. He or She listens carefully to your heartbeat and your voice. Not only this, it also listens to your favorite music tracks, your pet dog bark and the loud honking of the cars. Your little one’s doing every bit it can prepare for the outside world.
The reproductive organs are also getting more specialized. The ovaries in a girl have already developed and contain millions of eggs. By the 23rd week, the uterus also develops and both the organs move into their final place. In case of a boy, the testicles until now are situated in the abdominal region. During the 23rd week, they descend into the groin. Another development is the formation of tiny nipples.
At present your baby derives oxygen and other nutrients from the umbilical cord. However, the body is getting her ready for her first breath. The lungs continue to mature. The blood vessels in the baby’s lungs grow and develop. The lungs also produce a substance called surfactant. The surfactant helps the lungs inflate and deflate without difficulty. The breathing movements your baby practices help strengthen the diaphragm muscles.
Changes to Your Body
Weight gain is one of the most conspicuous pregnancy changes at this stage. You may have roughly gained about 15 pounds. Slight swelling in the ankles and feet is also common. The swelling occurs as a result of water retention (edema) caused by poor blood circulation in the legs. The aching back (we know is killing you) will remain for a few weeks and may get worse. You may also feel a little off balance. So, be careful when performing daily activities and change your positions gradually.
The 23rd week may also bring in some dental problems. These include swollen, painful or bleeding gums. Visit your dentist or health care provider about it. Starting from this week, you may experience Braxton Hicks Contractions. The Braxton Hicks Contractions prepare you for real labor.
Tips for the 23rd Week of Pregnancy
- You should visit your health care provider regularly. He will monitor the growth of your baby by checking measuring the height of your uterus.
- You should also monitor fetal movement. Talk to your health care provider if you do not feel any movements.
- You can raise your feet for a while to reduce the swelling. Do not sit or stand in one place for a very long time. You should see your doctor if the swelling is too severe or sudden. It could be a sign of preeclampsia.
- Correct your posture, exercise and find a comfortable sitting and sleeping position. You should sleep on your side as it does not put much pressure on the back.
- Exercise will improve blood circulation to a great extent and thus help to deal with swelling in the legs and cramps.
- Regular Dental checkups are also a must.
- Update your insurance policy and inquire about the cover.
- Make an appointment for the Glucose screening test if you still haven’t.