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Pregnancy Week 23

What to expect when you’re 23 weeks pregnant

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
pregnancy marker barbie doll

Baby development at 23 weeks pregnant

Your baby has so much to communicate already, even at 23 weeks: an audible heartbeat, movement as your baby explores your womb and the fascinating sensation of hiccups low in your torso.

At week 23, your baby measures over 11 inches and about 1.1 pounds. This is about the same size as a Barbie doll!

Feeling anything new from your baby? They may be having bouts of hiccups, which cause small, jerking movements in your uterus.

The chambers and major blood vessels of your baby’s heart can be seen on an ultrasound this week, and you can hear their heartbeat with a stethoscope. Ridges form on your baby’s palms and the soles of the feet — the foundations for fingerprints and footprints. Surfactant cells in your baby’s lungs now produce a protein that will let them breathe independently after birth. Plus, your baby can move all of their muscles and is getting stronger.

Week 23 pregnant belly

A typical pregnant belly at 23 weeks measures 21 to 25 centimeters from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. Have you gained a pound or so since last week? You’re right on track!

Common pregnancy symptoms at 23 weeks

What you’re feeling is real, and the work you’re doing — growing a human — is often hard. Your mounting stress may be caused by hormones, the impending change to your entire existence and/or the probable upheaval of your significant relationships. Rest assured, it will all work out in the end. It may be a lot of work, however, so reach out to a therapist, your obstetrician or another health care provider if you’re struggling to cope. It’s normal.

  • Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids plague many pregnant women in the second trimester — they're caused by your uterus gradually putting more pressure on your digestive tract. These swollen varicose anal veins will probably benefit from home remedies, such as a warm soak in the tub, regular applications of witch hazel to the sore spots and, if you must sit for a while, a doughnut seat.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: A common culprit behind the tingling sensations in many pregnant women’s hands and wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by fluid retention putting pressure on the nerves. This usually resolves after pregnancy, and self-help measures, such as wearing wrist splints, can help in the meantime.
  • Water retention and circulation issues: Water retention and sluggish circulation in your lower extremities may also cause your feet and ankles to swell, particularly in warm weather. To relieve edema during pregnancy, elevate your legs often and avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long stretch of time.
  • Vaginal discharge: It’s fine if you have increased vaginal discharge as long as it’s milky and mild-smelling. Contact a medical practitioner if you’re significantly itchy or the discharge smells off or looks discolored.

family in kitchen playing

Pregnancy checklist at 23 weeks pregnant

At 23 weeks, you’re just about six months pregnant. You may want to brush up on the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, including back pain, pressure in the pelvic area, cramps, watery discharge or your water breaking.

Reminders for
Week 23
  • Visit the dentist. Now that first-trimester pregnancy symptoms have subsided and morning sickness isn’t keeping you homebound, this is an ideal time to visit the dentist. Pregnancy increases your risk of getting cavities and makes your gums more susceptible to bleeding, inflammation and infection. Routine dental care and elective dental procedures can be done at most any time during pregnancy, but the second trimester is often the safest and most comfortable time.
  • Up your calcium. Your baby’s bones are hardening; remember to keep up your daily intake of calcium!
  • Monitor your blood pressure. Those with high blood pressure need to be on the lookout for other symptoms of preeclampsia, which can include high blood pressure, swelling, headaches, some vision problems and protein in your urine. Preeclampsia can cause decreased blood flow to your placenta.

Explore pregnancy by week
Week 22 | Week 24


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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.