It’s week 23, just a little past the halfway point of your pregnancy. You’re probably “looking pregnant,” so be prepared for comments — hopefully, they’ll focus on how great and glowing you look.

If you have any concerns about where you are on the healthy weight gain spectrum, speak with your doctor or midwife. Everyone has an opinion, but the word of a trusted pro should be the one you listen to most.

23 weeks pregnant: What to expect

  • You may start to notice stretch marks on your belly, thighs, or breasts.
  • You may have swelling in your feet or ankles.
  • You may notice an increase in your appetite.
  • Your baby is the size of a mango, and maybe over 1 pound.
  • Baby’s lungs are developing and you may notice them moving around a bit more.
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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 a while. And don’t be surprised if, even after you give birth, your feet have flattened and lengthened just enough to require new shoes.

Average weight gain at 23 weeks is 12 to 15 pounds, though this is variable based on your own body. 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 will be perfect for what your baby needs in the first few days of life. It’s a little thicker than the milk that will come in around 3–5 days after birth.

This is what usually happens, 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.

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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

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. 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, your baby sleeps a lot on the inside, so the movements shouldn’t keep you up all night.

By 23 weeks pregnant, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • slight swelling in your feet and ankles
  • colostrum production
  • increased appetite
  • nasal congestion
  • snoring
  • frequent urination

For your increased appetite, keep nutrient-dense snack foods around. Easy access to good snacks will make it easier to avoid reaching for anything processed.

Increased nasal congestion is common during pregnancy. 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.

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 dairy or soy milk will also help you meet your daily calcium intake requirement.

Many herbal teas are safe during pregnancy, though you’ll want to talk with your midwife or doctor about which teas in particular are OK.

You’ll do want to avoid red raspberry leaf herbal tea or supplements, which has limited scientific evidence to show that it’s effective. Some research also suggests it may have adverse effects.

Staying hydrated will help you avoid headaches, uterine cramping, and urinary tract infections. Urine that’s pale yellow or almost clear is a sign of adequate hydration, while bright yellow or orange-brown urine is a sign that you’re likely dehydrated.

Because your uterus is sitting right on your bladder, you’re starting to make more frequent trips to the bathroom. You may find 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 very 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 people 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.

At this point in pregnancy, if you ever feel a gush of fluid, call your doctor, midwife, 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 professional immediately.

It’s also important to keep up with regular prenatal visits. Among other things, your doctor will check your blood pressure at every visit. A sharp jump in blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia, a very serious pregnancy complication.

Talk with your doctor or midwife about preeclampsia and what symptoms should prompt a call to 911. If you have a higher risk of preeclampsia, your doc may recommend getting a home blood pressure monitor and learning how to use it.