As growth progresses, the bones continue to harden including the bones of the inner ear. The fetus will weigh more than 1 ½ pounds in most cases. The 23rd week marks a huge milestone for the fetus. Development has reached the point that the fetus could survive if an early birth was required. The risk factors for impaired health are high, but survival is a tangible reality. Baby will sleep and wake, though maybe not on the same cycle as the pregnant woman.
Multiples will also be sleeping and waking, but not necessarily on the same pattern. Women expecting multiples often find the twins are alternating sleep and wake cycles. This could mean there is a baby awake at all times.
There is plenty of room in the uterus so the fetus can still roll, kick and punch. The expecting couple may even be able to see movement from the outside. As the uterus moves to 1 ½ inches above the navel, organs may start moving upwards a bit. Indigestion and heartburn are common symptoms of pregnancy and may have something to do with the ever-growing fetus and less abdominal space. Mood swings are normal throughout the 40 weeks and even for several months after birth. Pregnant women need to learn to accept crying, yelling, pouting, and smiling as being all part of motherhood.
At the prenatal visit
Premature delivery is the major reason for newborn complications and deaths. All women should be screened for risk factors of premature delivery and be counseled on signs & symptoms of preterm labor. One test that many doctors do at this point is to measure the length of the cervix with a transvaginal sonogram. A short cervix increases the risk of premature labor and delivery. Common symptoms include pressure on the pelvis, vaginal discharge, and patterned contractions. If any of these symptoms arise, contact the caregiver or head to the hospital.
Unless there are complications with the pregnancy, there is no reason to change what is working. Doctor’s appointments will typically involve recording weight, blood pressure, and urine glucose level. Expecting parents still have to wait up to four weeks between appointments.
A turning point in pregnancy is fast approaching. Soon those feelings of happiness and self-confidence may be replaced with exhaustion and negative body image issues. Expectant fathers can lift Mom's spirits by doing unexpected things around the home like laundry, dishes or cooking. It may not seem like much but she will appreciate the support.
Tips for this week
Rest as much as needed. The pregnant body is constantly changing and with all the work you are doing every single day to grow and nourish your baby, fatigue is common and to be expected.