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Week 23 of Pregnancy | How Big is Your Baby at 23 Weeks?

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  • Bambino Mio
  • 28 / 06 / 2023

Pregnancy is a time of huge change for you, your body and your life. Our guide will help you through this amazing time, letting you know what to expect at each stage and, most excitingly, what your baby is up to each week.

Your baby is the size of a squash

At 23 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is almost a foot long! To be precise, he or she is 28.9cm (11in) from crown to heel, which is the same size as a butternut squash. They also weigh around 560g (1lb 4oz).


Baby’s very busy in there!

Your baby is gaining more muscle and getting stronger so you’ll be feeling quite a bit more movement by now, with definite kicks, somersaults and stretches going on.


It’s not all about the muscle, though, as your baby’s brain is rapidly growing in size and making more neural connections (1). It’s partly about the fingernails, too, as they now reach the ends of your baby’s fingers.


All this brain activity means that your baby can respond to light now and it’s believed that the light that filters through to the baby helps with brain and eye development (2). If you shine a torch against your belly he or she might react by moving suddenly.


Your 24-week midwife appointment

Although you’re 23 weeks, you can still prepare for your 24-week midwife appointment (3). You’ll be seeing your midwife more often from next week, so get ready to provide wee samples and have your blood pressure checked.


You should also make a few notes of your baby’s movements (4) so you can share this information with your midwife, as well as mention any particular discomforts or worries you have.


How you’re feeling at 23 weeks

So, there’s the Braxton Hicks contractions (5), the varicose veins, maybe a bit of brain fog and some food cravings, but your 23rd week of pregnancy might have some more delights in store…


As your womb grows to accommodate your growing baby, you might start noticing a bit of rib pain as your ribcage expands. The ever-upwards expansion of your belly can also start to put a bit of pressure on your lungs so if you’re feeling this way, it’s time to put your feet up (again) and look over your list of baby names.


One pregnancy symptom at 23 weeks that you might not have expected is changes in your vision. All the extra fluid in your body and the pregnancy hormones can combine to affect your eyesight (6).


It’s usually nothing serious, but you might notice your eyes are drier, which can make contact lenses uncomfortable, or your vision might feel a bit blurry.


If your vision becomes very blurry or distorted and you have a headache, you should call your GP or midwife as these symptoms could be a sign of preeclampsia (7).


Staying healthy at 23 weeks pregnant

Carry on with your healthy pregnancy diet, drink plenty of water, take some light exercise and work on your pelvic floor, just as you are doing already.


Watch out for any new symptoms, such as very blurry vision, or discomfort when you wee, as this could mean a urinary tract infection (8), which is not uncommon during pregnancy. 


Some women can feel a little down during the later stages of their pregnancy and this is nothing to be ashamed of. Pregnancy can be an emotional experience and so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad or worried (9), talk to your midwife as they can offer help and advice.


What you need to think about at 23 weeks of pregnancy

It’s time to get into the habit of carrying your maternity notes around with you, especially if you’re travelling out of town. These notes have information about your pregnancy for healthcare providers if you need medical help at any time.


Start taking pics of your bump if you want - it’s growing fast at this time and so it’s fun to have a photo or video diary of the changes your body goes through.


Speaking of bodily changes, if you haven’t already bought any, it’s time to shop for maternity bras and clothes so that they’re ready for you when you need them.


Citations and References

(1) National Institutes of Health (NIH). Environmental Health Perspectives. ‘The Brain before Birth: Using fMRI to Explore the Secrets of Fetal Neurodevelopment. 2018. Web. ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp2268

(2) Science Daily. University of Umeå. ‘Right Light on The Mother’s Belly May be Important to the Fetus.’ 2021. Web. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210920121749.htm

(3) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Your Pregnancy Care. Your Antenatal Care.’ 2020. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/your-pregnancy-care/your-antenatal-care

(4) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Keeping Well in Pregnancy. Your Baby’s Movements.’ 2021. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/your-babys-movements

(5) National Health Service (NHS). ‘FAQ for Pregnancy.’ 2023. Web. www.leedsth.nhs.uk/a-z-of-services/leeds-maternity-care/frequently-asked-questions/faq-for-pregnancy

(6) Cleveland Clinic. ‘Blurry Vision While Pregnant.’ 2023. Web. my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/23114-blurry-vision-pregnancy

(7) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Health A to Z. Preeclampsia.’ 2021. Web. www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia

(8) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Common Health Problems in Pregnancy.’ 2021. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/common-health-problems

(9) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Keeping Well in Pregnancy. Depression in Pregnancy.’ 2021. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/depression