You are 23 weeks pregnant or in your 24th week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The baby is still getting his oxygen supply through the placenta but his lungs are developing and getting more complex. The bronchi (branches of the respiratory tree) are developing and the lungs are producing a substance called surfactant. Surfactant is important for breathing since it helps the air sacs inside the lungs be elastic, and expand and collapse as we inhale and exhale. That is why, even if the baby is born prematurely right now, it can survive with expert care (with a high risk of developmental problems though). But every year medical science is advancing and increasing the chances of premature babies being healthy.
- The brain too is developing and getting more complex.
- Taste buds are forming on the baby’s tongue. The baby might be enjoying that “mithai” that you eat.
- The baby’s hands might now have some lines on it.
- The baby is now sucking and moving a lot - all this helps the baby develop her muscle tone.
- The baby's inner ear which helps balance the body is fully developed and the baby may know if she is upside down or not, inside the womb.
- Your baby will also start sleeping and waking up on a regular cycle.
- Your baby is about 20 centimetres long (Crown to rump length) and weighs about 510 grams.
What’s happening to mom?
- You will be surprised to see your belly button start to stick out. This is normal. Your growing belly is making it do that and after childbirth it will return to normal.
- Your growing uterus will put pressure on your bladder and at times when your bladder is full, you might leak urine. This is normal. Ensure that this is urine and not amniotic fluid that implies that you might be in labour. Remember amniotic fluid is odourless unlike urine. Make sure that you continue to do your Kegel exercises. These will help strengthen your muscles.
- Your gums might bleed while brushing. This is because pregnancy hormones cause your gums to get sensitive and swollen. Make sure that you keep your teeth clean. Brush with a soft brush at least two times a day. Rinse your mouth after eating and make sure you get your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist. Read what dental treatments are safe during pregnancy.
- You might have caught yourself scratching your abdomen unabashedly. The skin on your abdomen might be dry and itchy. Keep it well moisturised.
Checklist for mom
- You might be going for the glucose screening test this week or in the next couple of weeks. This is a preliminary test that is given to all pregnant women sometime during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. It measures how well your body can process sugar. Indian women, in particular, are highly susceptible to gestational diabetes.
- Take advantage of the fact that you are feeling comfortable and energetic and go for a trip, even a weekend getaway.
- If you have not already, plan your maternity leave with dad.
Ideas for dad
- It won’t be long before your wife will start getting uncomfortable. Going for a trip or a weekend getaway during this time is a good idea.
- Plan your paternity and maternity leaves with mom.
- Tip: Use a good lotion to relieve the dry and itchy skin on your belly. There are many in the market that are especially for stretch marks or dry belly skin.
- Tip: Have a glass of warm milk before sleeping. Not only is it nourishing but it will also help you sleep better.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy