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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.

    3-minutes read


    As the weeks pass you may start to feel more nervous about the big day so learning to relax is important, read our tips on relaxation. Try and eat a healthy balanced pregnancy diet and avoid too much salt. Enjoy spending time with your partner, soon you’ll have a little one that will keep you very busy! For more tips and advice read more on what to expect at 23 weeks pregnant.

    What happens at 23 weeks pregnant?

    Your baby at 23 weeks pregnant is now the size of a 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.

    What happens to 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.


    What to eat at 23 weeks pregnant?

    A small amount of salt in your diet actually helps your body function well. Unfortunately, salt is in virtually everything we eat. Most processed foods, even sweet things, contains too much salt, 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 lower salt versions of your favourites. Keep the saltshaker out of sight too. Only add salt to your food if you really need to and not just out of habit.

    What are the symptoms of 23 weeks pregnant?

    Week 23 pregnancy symptoms can include leg cramps. Waking up in the night with leg cramps is quite common in pregnancy. It can also happen during the day but is more common at night. No one really knows why women get more leg cramps during pregnancy, it could be the extra weight or maybe less exercise than usual. The cramp itself is caused by a muscle spasm; when it occurs rub the muscle hard and gently flex your toes back towards your shin to stretch the calf.

    It's hard to prevent cramps in pregnancy, however there are things you can do to make them less likely:

    • Drink water regularly throughout the day

    • Avoid sitting or standing with your legs crossed for a long period of time

    • Stretch your calf muscles regularly during the day and several time before going to bed

    • Try and take a walk everyday unless you have been advised not to by a healthcare professional

    • A warm bath before bed can help relax the muscles

    • Rotate your ankles and flex your toes back towards your shin regularly during the day

    Leg pain is different to leg cramp. Leg cramp is usually short lived, if you get persistent leg pain, it could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and is often accompanied with swelling, redness and warmth. If you have any of these symptoms speak to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.

    Together time

    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 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 is the time to prepare for baby’s arrival together. Get your partner to help with nursery preparations and go to antenatal classes together. Start putting together a list of the things you need and start having a browse through baby shops to get ideas.

    See our checklist web app to help you feel organised and stay on top of things right through pregnancy and after.


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