23 weeks pregnant: Tips and nutrition
Your baby’s brain is working harder than ever and nerve cells are spreading through the grey matter. Clever girl. Or boy? You can find out by week 23… if you want to.
At a glance
Boy or girl? The sex of your baby is now recognisable
Chill mama. Relax with a nice warm bath and listen to some tunes
Eat a varied diet avoiding too much salt
Date night. Enjoy quality time with your partner now while you can
Baby's development at 23 weeks pregnant
Your baby at 23 weeks is now the size of a grapefruit. Your sonographer can tell if it’s a boy grapefruit or girl grapefruit. A girl will have had ovaries for a few months, a boy will already have a penis and a prostate. His testicles are formed too, but will descend when they need to, either just before birth or during the first few months afterwards.
Changes in you and your body at 23 weeks pregnant
Noticed a dark line between your belly button and pelvic area? It’s not the felt tip you left in your pocket, just a common pregnancy mark called linea nigra. Pregnancy hormones can also turn your nipples, freckles and even facial markings a bit darker. Don’t worry, these will fade a few months after birth.
As the weeks pass you may start to feel more nervous about the big day so learning to relax is important. A warm bath can help you unwind and de-stress, just make sure the water isn’t hot, as this can affect contractions and make you feel faint – your blood pressure is a bit fragile when you’re pregnant. Take care when getting out of the bath too in case of dizzy spells.
High blood pressure or 'gestational hypertension' can be common during pregnancy. To help avoid it, stay as active as possible, give up alcohol and tobacco (if you haven't already) and try to keep your pregnancy weight gain at the recommended rate. Chat to your GP for guidance on this.
Nutrition at 23 weeks pregnant
Salt. It makes everything taste good and, despite the bad press, it actually helps your body function well. Unfortunately salt is in virtually everything we eat. Most processed foods, even sweet things, contain way more salt than we need, so it’s not surprising that many of us eat up to three times the amount of salt we need.
The recommended daily intake of salt is 6g (one teaspoon) so moderation is key. Have a look at the back of packaging (especially ready-made sauces and savoury spreads) and choose the less salty versions of your favourites. Keep the salt shaker out of sight too. Only add salt to your food if you really need to and not just out of habit.
Including your partner
You’re over halfway through your pregnancy. Before you know it, baby will be taking up every single magical, crazy moment of your day. Now’s the time to do things with your partner or friends that you won’t have time for in those first weeks and months after baby arrives demanding your full love and attention. Simple pleasures like going to the cinema or the latest exhibition, won’t be half as simple with a newborn in tow. Go for it while you can.
Now that things seem more real it’s a good time to involve your partner in the pregnancy preparations. Get them to help plan the nursery or take them along to antenatal classes. The more they’re involved the more they’ll learn, and the easier life will be.
See our checklist web app to help you feel organised and stay on top of things right through pregnancy and after.