23 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • measures about 20cm
  • weighs about 450 – 500 grams
  • has the proportions of a newborn but is much thinner
  • has a wrinkled appearance
  • has eyes that are fully formed, though they have no colour yet, the eyelids begin to open and close.

You…

  • may experience “Braxton Hicks” contractions – irregular painless tightenings, they are not dangerous or harmful and thought to be ‘practice’ contractions for the real thing
  • may experience vivid dreams.

Your baby is gaining weight steadily now, and you may experience sudden food cravings. This week we offer some suggestions for easing long commutes for working women and tips for combating backache.

Protecting your back

The changes your body goes through during pregnancy can sometimes result in back pain. Your body weight increases as your baby grows and changes in your joints caused by pregnancy hormones can make your back ache. To avoid back pain:

  • take regular exercise – try walking, swimming, yoga or low-impact aerobics
  • use a firm mattress
  • sit up straight, and avoid sitting cross-legged, as this can strain your lower back
  • try not to do any heavy lifting. If you do have to lift something, always keep your back straight and bend your hips and knees.

5 ways to cope with commuting

If you have a long journey to and from work, you may find this travel hardest at the beginning of pregnancy (because you’re feeling sick and tired) and at the end (because of your growing bump).

  1. Share lifts: you could ask your Human Resources department if anyone else lives in your neighbourhood – perhaps you could take turns driving; otherwise, a neighbour or friend might work in the same general direction.
  2. Go in earlier and have breakfast at work. Buses and trains aren’t so crowded earlier, too.
  3. If you find travelling stressful, think of how you can deal with it – perhaps an iPod on the train; perhaps changing your mode of transport – for example, even if the bus is slower but you will get a seat, think about that option.
  4. Keep nibbles to hand in case of nausea .
  5. Work from home a couple of days a week; you could try getting your boss to implement this change – it’s only for a short time, and it should make you more effective.

Asking questions

There is often little time in an antenatal visit to ask questions, and it’s hard to take complicated information in straight away, especially if English is not your first language.  If you keep forgetting what you wanted to ask, write it down and take a list of questions in with you. If things don’t make sense, ask for an extra appointment with your LMC so that things can be explained to you in a way you do understand.

It also helps staff to look after you better if you’re honest with them, too. Being up front about saying there are things that are worrying you may mean staff put aside some time to help sort out those worries.

Do I talk to my baby?

You may feel a fool, sitting down and reading bedtime stories to a bump! Even if you don’t want to talk or sing to your baby, he or she will hear and get to know your voice anyway as you talk to other people. So if it’s not your thing – don’t worry. Your baby will get to know you face-to-face when in the world.