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23 weeks pregnant: What to expect

Your baby at 23 weeks pregnant

Your baby is the size of a small aubergine (length: 9-11”; weight: 501 grams).

Hearing voices. Now that bones in the ears have hardened, your baby can hear your voice. Give your little one a daily treat by reading, talking or singing to him or her. The more your baby hears your voice, the more familiar it will sound at birth.

Super sac. The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby is the perfect place to grow into a healthy newborn. The salty fluid keeps baby warm, protects him or her from infections, and is buoyant enough to exercise that developing body. Right now the amniotic sac contains about a pint of fluid, which is refreshed every three to four hours.

Your pregnancy at 23 weeks

Get to class. Most antenatal classes are designed to start around the 32nd week of pregnancy. As well as learning about birth and newborn babies, these are a great way of meeting other mums who’ll be experiencing new motherhood at the same time as you.

Iron it out. Many women are slightly anaemic before they get pregnant, and 20 percent of women are treated for iron-deficiency anaemia during pregnancy. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath and fainting spells. You can treat anaemia by eating iron-rich foods like red meat, lentils and leafy greens, like spinach and greens.

Preeclampsia check. If your blood pressure is too high, your doctor may keep an eye out for preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy characterised by high blood pressure, edema (swelling) and protein in the urine. This condition affects about 7 percent of pregnant women and catching it early is crucial. This is the reason you are always asked for a urine sample at an antenatal check. If left untreated, preeclampsia can cause decreased blood flow to your placenta. If you notice any of the symptoms of preeclampsia, including blurred vision, headaches, or sudden swelling of your hands and feet, call your doctor immediately.

Did you know? Baby’s weight will double in the next four weeks, but right now his or her skin hangs loosely on the body, until fat development catches up. Also, your little one can hear your voice, so spend some time talking or singing to him or her – baby will recognise your voice at birth!

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