Your baby is close to 28.9cm long, weighing around 500g and has the proportions of a newborn now – she’s about the size of a large mango.
This week your little one’s cheeks are getting chubbier and as she lays down more fat over the coming weeks, her skin will become more opaque. At the moment, it is fairly transparent with a reddish tinge from the blood vessels just beneath the surface.
Her ears are becoming much more adept at picking up sound and she can now hear noises that are further away, though they’d have to be quite loud – a noise like a police siren or a dog barking.
The amount of time your baby spends asleep and awake is around the same as it will be when he is born: around six hours awake and 18 asleep in any 24-hour period, and she’ll sleep in set positions. Some even say your baby is capable of REM ‘dream sleep’ now.
You might just be beginning to feel the strain of pregnancy around this time, with your 23 week bump growing faster than ever, and your body starting to take it easy.
Is your back aching? Check your seating arrangement at work if you have a desk job, and take regular breaks. Put your feet up when you can at home. All these things should help alleviate strain on your back.
Some mums find they go up a shoe size in pregnancy – usually this is due to feet widening as your body flattens them down. It’s important to wear good quality, supportive footwear, particularly if you are suffering with puffy ankles, or tired aching feet. High heels are probably best left for weddings and parties at this stage. Not only for comfort reasons but as you’ll be more unbalanced, you might find yourself toppling over!
If you are thinking about jetting off on a holiday, there are a couple of things to remember. If your flight is more than five hours, there’s a small risk of blood clots – deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – so you need to ensure your circulation is tiptop. Drink plenty of water, move about the cabin every 30 minutes or so, and make ankle circling movements in your seat when you remember to.
Used to doing intensive exercise? You might find you naturally slow down your pace around this time. It’s hard to carry on as you were with the increasing bump and weight. Keep up the exercise though as it will help keep you physically and mentally fit for the time ahead. Even if you’re exhausted, try to remember to do your stretching exercises before you climb into bed.
You might be experiencing pins and needles in your hands. This is commonly due to a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the thumbs and forefingers. Compression from water retention on the carpal nerve pathway is the most frequent cause.
It’s a bit early to get involved with pre-baby cooking and freezing but you might want to have a think about choosing some recipes that you and your partner might fancy having after your baby is born. With both of you tired and busy, you’ll be pleased about having some tasty meals all ready to reheat from the freezer.