You’re in week 23! More exciting things are happening on the baby front. To start with, your bub is as big as a grapefruit! While that’s still tiny compared to the average size at birth, it’s ginormous compared to it’s starting point. So you and bubs have come a long way together already.
Your baby’s lungs will grow extensively this week, but they are still getting all their oxygen from the placenta. Although your baby won’t take their first breath until they are born, the lungs will develop and strengthen over the next few weeks.
You may also be feeling tightenings around your belly. These are known as Braxton Hicks. This can be the cause for some women to worry, but they are completely normal. Some women don’t experience these at all, but if you do, you just need to remind yourself that it’s just your uterus in training. Read more about it here.
You may be depleted of nutrients as your body diverts them all to your baby. Iron deficiency can be a problem at this time and doctors sometimes prescribe iron supplements during the second half of pregnancy, in addition to regular prenatal vitamins. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice excessive fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath or dizziness as these can be symptoms of iron deficiency.
You are getting heavier and this can cause problems with your feet and swelling. This is called oedema or water retention and is caused by a combination of changes to your blood chemistry and sluggish circulation in your legs. Now is the time to put away the high heels and switch to flat shoes to avoid putting too much pressure on your back.
Don’t be surprised if your feet increase by up to half a shoe size. They may go back to normal after the birth or they may stay bigger permanently (a good excuse to go shoe shopping).
For those that indulge in the odd glass of wine, it’s worth remembering that the recommended alcohol intake while pregnant is none. So if you’re feeling a bit deprived there are plenty of other ways to feel like you’re having a treat. There’s nothing quite as lovely as the ritual of tea drinking – served in a lovely pot, combined with some quiet time and you won’t miss the vino one bit! Read more about herbal teas which are safe in pregnancy, and the ones you should also avoid.
Talk to your baby whenever you can as he or she can now recognise your voice. This can be a great way of starting the bonding process, especially for your partner.