Once you've arrived to pregnancy week 23, that new baby living inside you can hear you, reacts to the food you eat, and is probably keeping you up at night with all that tumbling inside your tummy. However, the good news is that you are more than 50% along with your pregnancy and over the next few weeks, you'll start that nesting routine that all mothers experience as they prepare for the birth of their baby.
By the time your baby has reached the 23rd week of development, they pretty much look like a newborn baby – just a whole lot skinnier. Your baby has grown from 4 centimeters in week 11 to almost 30 centimeters by pregnancy week 23. Their bodies have developed proportional lengths for arms, legs, torso and head by this point. This new baby is also starting to 'breathe' more frequently – with inhale and exhale rates that can approach about 44 cycles per minute. They are truly becoming a little person – having developed all of the major 'parts' that will help them live outside the womb once they are born.
Deep inside your womb lays a very energetic little baby who is growing each day. Their eyes are completely developed but still waiting to take on a color that suits them best. In their current living space – the placenta is quickly starting to shrink around them, and they are capable of taking short breaths as their respiratory system is pretty much fully developed. Your new baby has pretty little ears that most likely can hear what you're saying, listening to and yes – hear you singing in the shower.
The baby has grown to about 30 centimeters long and has almost passed the 500-gram weight limit. They basically look like a tiny, fully-developed baby; but they are still pretty skinny and have lots of baby fat that needs to be packed on to help them stay warm outside of that 98.6-degree sauna they currently occupy.
Mommies need to stay nourished as they enter week 23 of their pregnancy as they are truly eating for two (or maybe three or more if you're truly blessed in that way). You will most likely be packing on a few extra pounds (if not, there is an issue!), but it's very important that you maintain a very healthy, fiber-rich diet. Several hospitals and OBGYN offices have in-house Registered Dietitians available to speak with about what type of foods are best for you and your baby during each phase of pregnancy.
On the symptoms side of things – let's face it; it's going to be a long last three months. Moms typically develop muscle aches and pains as their baby grows. One of the most common symptoms that pop up in week 23 and beyond is back pain. By adding support to your back though use of pillows or specialty maternity clothing, you can significantly reduce the onset of many common aches and pains.
As we discussed earlier, there are going to be some aches and pains that start to expand as your belly grows. One of the biggest issues pregnant mommies have is with their feet. It's very typical that during a normal pregnancy, mom may see an increase in her shoe size by up to one full size! With this being said, it's critical to pick shoes that are built more for function as opposed to style. Sorry moms, those awesome high heels that you bought on sale a few months ago may not be the best shoes to wear from here on out – but keep them handy for after baby is born!