It’s week 23, just a little past the halfway point of your pregnancy. You’re probably “looking pregnant,” so be prepared for comments about looking too big or too thin, or hopefully just that you look great and glowing.
If you have any concerns about where you are on the healthy weight gain spectrum, speak with your healthcare provider or nurse. Everyone has an opinion, but the word of a trusted healthcare provider should be the one you listen to most.
Changes in Your Body
Along with that growing bump in your belly, you may notice a little swelling in your feet and ankles.
You may have to set aside some of your favorite pre-pregnancy shoes for awhile. And don’t be surprised if, even after you deliver, your feet have flattened and lengthened just enough to require new shoes.
Average weight gain at 23 weeks is 12 to 15 pounds. This weight gain may lead to stretch marks on your belly, thighs, and breasts.
Or, they may not show up for several weeks if at all. If some stretch marks appear, they’re likely to become less noticeable over time following delivery.
Your breasts may start producing colostrum this week. Colostrum is an early form of breast milk that’s a little thicker than what you’ll produce after birth.
This is normal, though don’t be concerned if no colostrum is present. It doesn’t at all mean you’ll have difficulty nursing. Colostrum may not appear until much closer to delivery.
Your baby has probably reached, and maybe slightly exceeded, the 1-pound mark, is nearing 1 foot in length, and is about the size of a large mango or a grapefruit. Weight gain has been fairly slow and steady up to this point, but from now on, your baby will really start to put on weight.
Lanugo, the soft fine hair that eventually covers most of the baby’s body, may become darker. You may be able to notice it the next time you have an ultrasound.
The lungs are also developing. They’re not ready to work on their own, but your baby is practicing breathing motions.
By 23 weeks, your baby is also moving around more. Unfortunately, these moves are set to baby’s schedule, not your own. Be prepared for your baby to possibly do some dancing once you lie down to go to sleep. Remember, though, this is only temporary.
Twin Development at Week 23
Choosing one name is hard enough, but you’ll need to think of two full names for your twins. For ideas, try searching online or browsing name books at your library or local bookstore. Nameberry.com has a naming guide for twins. The website has name suggestions for twins who are both boys, both girls, or a boy and a girl. It even has celebrity name suggestions. There’s no right or wrong way to name your twins.
One of their tips is to think about keeping the styles of the names consistent. You certainly don’t need to stick with the same initials, like Sam and Sally.
Many women at this stage of their pregnancy find their appetites increasing. Keep healthy snack foods around. Some ideas include:
Easy access to healthy snacks will make it easier to avoid reaching for that bag of chips or candy bar.
You may also find yourself snoring these days. Increased nasal congestion is common among pregnant women, and, unfortunately, this can lead to snoring. If snoring is disrupting your sleep, or your partner’s, try sleeping with a humidifier. Nasal strips may also help.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
Get into the habit, if you haven’t already, of staying well hydrated. Water is best, but fruit or vegetable juices are fine, as well as milk. Drinking milk will also help to meet your daily calcium intake requirement.
Many herbal teas are safe for pregnant women, though you may want to talk with a healthcare provider about which teas in particular are okay. There are actually products listed as pregnancy teas, which are considered safe for you and your baby. In particular, teas made with red raspberry leaf are associated with healthy pregnancies and deliveries.
Staying hydrated will help you avoid headaches, uterine cramping, and urinary tract infections. Urine that is pale yellow or almost clear is a sign of adequate hydration, while bright yellow or orange-brown urine is a sign that you are clearly dehydrated.
When to Call the Doctor
Because your uterus is sitting right on your bladder, you’re starting to make more frequent trips to the bathroom. You may find that you’re starting to leak a little, either when you laugh or cough, or just because you don’t quite make it to the bathroom in time.
Though uncommon at this stage, it’s possible that some of that leakage may be amniotic fluid and not urine. This can occur when the membrane of the amniotic sac surrounding the baby ruptures.
You’ve probably heard women refer to the time that their water broke. In labor, you want that amniotic sac to rupture to help move the birth along. This early in pregnancy, though, is much too early.
If you ever feel a gush of fluid, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Amniotic fluid is usually odorless, so if you notice even a small amount of leakage that doesn’t smell or look like urine, tell your healthcare provider immediately.
Think about getting a home blood pressure monitor and learning how to use it. A sharp jump in your blood pressure could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a very serious pregnancy complication. Talk with your healthcare provider about pre-eclampsia and what symptoms should prompt a call to the doctor or 911.