How Many Months is 23 Weeks Pregnant?

23 weeks pregnant is 5 ¼ months pregnant.

Baby's Size at 23 Weeks Pregnant

At 23 weeks, your baby is the size of a grapefruit.

23 Weeks Pregnant: Baby Update

Your little one’s face is fully formed, with eyebrows, eyelashes and a tiny nose with nostrils. And, now her little limbs kick, grasp, and stretch. Her skin is so thin and delicate, it’s almost transparent. To protect it, for the past 3 weeks, her skin has been releasing a thick layer of waxy, white vernix. Pretty soon it will be smeared all over her body, like cream cheese on a bagel. Babies need this rich balm as a barrier against the amniotic fluid. (Imagine how puckered and fragile your skin would get if you sat in water for 9 straight months!)

Your little mouse will now start putting on some baby fat. Right now, she’s a scrawny 1-pounder, but, over the next month, she will double her weight.

At this age, babies can hear muffled sounds filtering through their moms’ belly and the ocean of amniotic fluid in which they float. Deep inside a baby’s ears, the little bones have formed that are essential for hearing. The two things your baby hears most clearly are: 1) the rumble of blood whooshing through her placental arteries, pulsing loudly 140 times a minute and 2) You! Your speaking and singing voice are not only broadcast out your mouth, but—like speaking into a long tube—your talking also resonates backwards, carried down your trachea and lungs straight to your baby.

23 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

Starting soon, you’ll need to take one of the most important tests of your pregnancy: the glucose screen. It’s typically done at the end of the 2nd trimester to evaluate moms for early signs of gestational diabetes.

Diabetes is a sugar problem. When you eat, the digested food releases sugar which floods into the blood. The body responds by releasing insulin, which opens tiny doors in your muscles and liver, allowing the cells to fill themselves with this powerful fuel. That drops the blood level back to normal. During pregnancy, many women have a temporary lack of insulin and so the sugar levels stay high in the mom’s blood. In turn, all that sugar floods into the baby and causes a sizable weight gain. Fortunately, this is usually a temporary problem that resolves after the baby is born. But during pregnancy, it’s important to keep the sugar levels from soaring to unsafe levels.

Most women these days take the test, but you can ask your doctor if you can skip the glucose screen if you:

  • Are under 25 and have a normal weight for your height (BMI under 25)
  • Have no family history of diabetes
  • Had no diabetes in previous pregnancies
  • Belong to an ethnic group that has a low risk of diabetes
  • Have never had an abnormal blood glucose test result

Glucose Testing During Pregnancy

There are two types of glucose tests that are commonly done. For the first you must eat a healthy, balanced breakfast with plenty of protein and not a lot of sugar or carbs. Two hours afterward, you drink a very sugary concoction called Glucola. (Pro tip: ask for it to be refrigerated beforehand—it’s easier to drink!) An hour after you gulp it down, your blood is drawn and sent to the lab for testing. 

If your test shows high blood-glucose levels, you’ll need to take the second screen, called a glucose tolerance test. It’s more time-consuming than the first but provides an official diagnosis. First, you must fast overnight (for 8 to 14 hours). The next morning, you go to the doctor and drink a very sugary drink, Glucola. Your care provider will take samples of your blood every hour for the next 3 hours to see if your body is handling sugar well, or struggling to control it.

If you‘re one of the 3-6% percent of women with gestational diabetes, your doctor or midwife will work closely with you to help you manage it. Treatments include dietary changes (more veggies and protein and less sugar and starch), exercise, more sleep, monitoring as well as medication.

23 Weeks Pregnant: To-Do List

  1. What’s your partner’s leave policy?: By now you’ve probably alerted your boss to your pregnancy and mapped out your leave plan. But what about your partner? The first few weeks after birth are a crucial time for baby bonding. Talk about what’s possible and make sure your partner knows his or her family leave policy at work.

  2. Steer clear of germs: Pregnancy hormones can make your mucous membranes swell and it’s so miserable catching a cold while pregnant. Carry hand sanitizer and clean, clean, clean. (Especially after shaking hands or grabbing door handles, stair bannisters, etc). Also, a Neti pot can be useful. This little teacup-shaped device can help relieve congestion by irrigating your nose and sinuses. Just be sure to rinse it well between uses and only fill it with a sterile saline solution.

  3. You are what you eat…and so is your baby: Try to cut back on dairy and other white food (bread, potatoes, etc). And avoid fish that contain mercury (tuna, swordfish, shark, etc). Instead, eat salmon and smaller fish (trout, sardines, etc) and make sure you eat the rainbow. Enjoy superfoods like red cabbage slaw, kale, acai powder, and blueberries to name a few. Plus, you might add some spirulina and seaweed to that list. These aquatic plants carry loads of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, protein, iron, iodine, and vitamins.

  1. Go on a babymoon: If you plan to travel during your pregnancy, sooner is better. Your energy is probably at its peak during the 2nd trimester, so you’ll have more fun and won’t be as bothered if the hotel bed is not perfect. Most experts warn against flying after 34 weeks because of a higher risk of thrombosis (deep vein clotting). And, do you really want to be in a totally foreign place—away from your doctor and hospital—during this sensitive period when premature deliveries usually happen? Lastly, make sure to check the CDC’s site for travel guidelines and health advisories to avoid things like Zika or seasonal illnesses.

Pregnancy Lingo Lesson: Episiotomy, Crowning, Shoulder Dystocia

An episiotomy is literally a surgical cut made under local anesthesia to widen the vaginal opening. It’s typically done right when your baby is crowning (the top of her head is just beginning to be seen peeking out of the vagina). The cut is made from the back of your labial area towards your anus. 

Episiotomies used to be routine. Doctors thought a clean cut would heal better than a tear. That belief has been proven wrong and the rate of episiotomies has declined. It still can be helpful if your baby gets stuck (with a big head or wide shoulders, so called shoulder dystocia) or if she is in distress and your caregiver needs to get the baby out ASAP.

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