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Week 23 of Pregnancy

Written by Amina Hatia RM
Medically reviewed by Marley Hall BA RM Diphe
February 07, 2022

At 23 weeks into your pregnancy get ready for things to really start changing, beginning with what will feel like a growth spurt.  From the end of this week onwards, your baby’s growth will really take off – with baby doubling in size over the next few weeks – so be prepared for your bump to start showing off!

Another change you’ll notice is what’s commonly called ‘pregnancy brain’ – thought to be caused by your increasing pregnancy hormones, many mums-to-be report occasionally feeling a bit forgetful, or a brain fog where everything feels a bit hazy.

How big is my baby?

By this week your baby is measuring about 29 cms in length and weighing just over 500 grams, the size of a large aubergine!

What happens in week 23 of pregnancy?

Your baby is continuing to work hard on their brain development, whilst also starting to build muscle with all those tiny kicks that they are practising inside you.  Baby is also now starting to lay down fat stores, even though baby’s skin is still very translucent.

Similarly, your baby’s lungs are continuing to develop getting ready for your baby to start practising that all important skill of breathing.

Week 23 pregnancy symptoms

Low Lying Placenta 

Whilst all the focus has been so far on the size and development of your baby, and understandably so, one area that often gets overlooked is the placenta, which your body develops from scratch during pregnancy.

The placenta is pretty amazing – it’s a temporary organ that your body grows as a real powerhouse for your baby.  

The placenta, which develops in the uterus, is made up of blood vessels, attached to the wall of your uterus and connected to your baby with the umbilical cord. Its role is to provide your baby with all that they need, filtering the blood from you and providing your baby with all the nutrients, oxygen, water and also act as a waste removal system by removing carbon dioxide and other waste products too.

It usually develops low in your uterus, but as your pregnancy progresses and your uterus stretches and grows, it moves towards the top part of your bump.  However, occasionally this doesn’t happen and the placenta at your 20-week scan might remain low lying – which means it is close to or covering the cervical opening.  In this case, you will need another scan at around 32 weeks to see if the placenta has moved up.

In most cases a low-lying placenta resolves on its own – but if it doesn’t then your midwife and doctor will discuss with you plans for birth, which would be via caesarean section. 

Week 23 pregnancy tips

  • Your antenatal appointments will now become more regular, initially every 4 weeks or so, then in the third trimester every 2 weeks until your baby is due. Find out when and where your next appointment is – it’s not always at the hospital, they may be in your GP surgery or in a local children’s centre.
  • For many women the end of the second trimester is a good time to travel – have a little babymoon or visit family abroad.  You may have more energy compared to your first trimester and none of the aches yet of the third trimester – so it might be worth a thought. Check with your airline what their rules are on flying whilst pregnant because they can vary – and also the advice from gov.uk about the country you are travelling to.
  • Did you find out what you are having? Have you started planning names even if you haven’t? Some people like to wait until baby has arrived to choose a name, whereas others have names already picked out and start using them in pregnancy when talking to baby.