23 weeks pregnant: what can I expect?
Are you having any fantasy filled dreams or do you see unicorns? Although it may seem weird to you, strange dreams are a normal part of pregnancy.Some common pregnancy dreams include dreams of falling, being trapped, baby’s gender, baby’s appearance and many others.Dreams during pregnancy could occur due to a variety of reasons. It could be because you are constantly waking up in the night now, pregnancy anxiety or hormonal changes. Your dreams could be relaxing to you or some dreams may make you more insecure. Whatever those dreams are, you have to remember not to take them literally especially if they worry you.
Physical changes in you at week 23
- You might start to feel like you have swallowed a cantaloupe as your belly continues to grow. The size of your uterus will now have reached slightly above your belly button.
- You might start to experience pain and numbness in your fingers. This symptom is called the carpal tunnel syndrome. This usually affects concert pianists and typists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the nerves running through the carpal tube in your wrist are swollen or compressed. To relieve the numb feeling in your hands you can shake your hands or avoid sleeping on your hands at night.
- Pregnancy headaches are common because of all the hormonal changes in your body. Not drinking enough water, lack of sleep and food can worsen your headache. Drink plenty of fluids and sleep well to relieve headaches. If your headaches are getting worse and distracting you, seek medical advice.
- Around 23 weeks you might start to have painless contractions known as Braxton hicks. These are practice contraptions of the uterus and during the last weeks of pregnancy the contractions can be extremely painful and feel labor like. Using relaxation and breathing techniques suggested by your midwife will help you deal with these contractions.
- Increase in vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy. Continue to keep your vaginal area clean by changing underwear regularly and wiping yourself from front to back. At any sign of vaginal itching or soreness contact your doctor, as this could be a yeast infection.
Emotional changes in you at week 23
- The roller coaster of emotions during your pregnancy will continue. As your pregnancy develops you will feel excited to the point you are bursting with happiness. The only thing to do here is to spread your joy and go ahead and enjoy your happiness.
- On the downside you may start worrying. You may worry about everything you eat, wondering if a certain food is alright for the health of the baby. You might wonder if it’s okay to take hot showers. If you had been ordered to have a fetal screening in the previous weeks you might be worried about what the doctors will find. It’s natural to worry, when you feel anxious talk to your partner or a supportive friend.
How’s my baby doing?
- You baby will weigh around 500 grams this week and will roughly measure about 20 cm from its head to its rump.
- By week 23 your baby’s lungs will have matured to the point where it can breathe freely and independently. However this depends on the secretion from specific lung cells of a protein lipid complex known as surfactant.
- Your baby’s hearing is getting better now and it can hear your voice and stomach rumblings. However external noises like vacuum cleaner and barking of your pet won’t bother your baby.
- Your doctor can see your baby’s heart chambers and blood vessels on an ultrasound now, to see if it’s formed properly.
- At 23 weeks you baby’s movements will be stronger and you will feel more than little flutters.
Useful tips for you this week
- If you are too tired to cook, you can easily borrow some cook books from the library that will give you recipe ideas on food that you can refrigerate for a week or two.
- Don’t miss your appointments with your doctor. Usually the ante-natal appointments are given at least four weeks in advance. This will give you sufficient time to plan your schedule.
- Stretching exercises have great benefits during labor and delivery. Continue doing them before you go to bed as stretching will also relieve back pain.