Pregnancy week 23
(Sparx Media)

How's the foetus during 23 weeks?

  • Here come those developing lungs.
  • Your baby weighs about 501g and is about 28.9cm long from crown to heel- mango-sized!
  • Your baby's lungs are developing surfactant - a substance that will help the lungs to expand after birth. 
    The fingernails are completely formed and the bones of the middle ear begin to harden. 

What's with my body: Leg cramps

  • You may be woken in the night by an excruciating leg cramp, especially if you suffer from a shortage of calcium. If you have leg cramps, straighten your leg and flex your ankle. Get your partner to massage your calf muscles. 
  • You may see your abdomen move as your baby does his acrobatics inside. 
  • Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates.
  • Your baby is really starting to look like a baby as she puts on weight! You're probably also starting to gain weight too.

How your baby's growing:

Baby is approximately 28cm and this week begins the rapid growth of baby's brain and brain cells which will ultimately control her breathing and all other vital functions.

The pigment that colours your baby's skin is being deposited this week. Your little one has a bit of a wrinkled appearance right now, as skin is developing faster than fat. You may be feeling more active movement lately, as your baby's busy moving her fingers, toes, arms and legs on a regular basis.

This is the week to do your foetal anomaly scan: this is where a trained ultrasonologist checks your baby very carefully looking for any possible structural abnormalities. It is usually easy to determine the baby's sex at this stage.

How you may be feeling:

You may find that you're putting on some weight now, which is good. Your body needs extra nutrients, though you still don't need to 'eat for two'.

The closer you get to your due-date, the more trouble you may have falling asleep. Here are some tips for a good night's rest:

  • Use cushions in bed to support your bump or prop yourself up if you have indigestion or heartburn.
  • Keep the room well-ventilated and avoid getting too hot.
  • If you have insomnia, try to lie down and rest for seven or eight hours a day, even if you don't sleep.
  • Exercise during the day may help you sleep better at night.
  • A massage or gentle stretching may also prime you for bed.

Tip of the week

Now might be the time to add something a bit different to your exercise routine. Whatever exercise you do, be prepared to adapt your routine to your growing belly:

Cut back on the number of days you do serious workouts or, if you're a runner, try walking, which is as effective as running, provided you walk fast and far enough. Just make sure you're doing your 30min of exercise daily.

Another good option is aqua-jogging in the deep end of a pool using either a flotation belt or a pool noodle - a great alternative if you feel unstable on land but still want that endorphin release, and to keep you cool.

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