Brave New Motherhood
23 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & What to Know
week 23 of pregnancy

23 weeks pregnant officially marks the start of your sixth month of pregnancy. With only 17 weeks left, it’s a good time to start thinking about what maternity leave will look like. 

As your due date approaches, you might find yourself feeling more and more anxious about labor and delivery even if you’ve had a healthy pregnancy. Take this opportunity to start practicing some relaxation techniques as you prepare for birth. To get started, check out these birth affirmations!

At 23 weeks pregnant your baby is as big as a grapefruit. As their fat deposits begin to develop, your baby is starting to look more like a newborn.

How big is baby at 23 weeks?

23 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

Skin Discoloration

Have you noticed a dark line beginning to appear between your belly button and pubic area? That’s known as the linea nigra, or dark line. You actually always have a linea nigra, but it remains mostly invisible until pregnancy hormones cause it to darken. The pregnancy line, as it’s sometimes called, is also more likely to appear if it’s not your first pregnancy. 

In fact, the skin all over your body becomes hyperpigmented during pregnancy, so you may notice that your areolas and freckles have become darker too.

You may also experience “the mask of pregnancy” or melasma, which we covered in Week 12 and Week 16. Most skin discoloration will fade once your baby is born, although pregnancy stretch marks might not go away completely.

black line down belly pregnancy

Snoring

If you find yourself snoring more during pregnancy, it’s most likely caused by elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone, though pregnancy weight gain could also be the culprit. Pregnancy hormones cause your nasal passages to swell, which can lead to nasal congestion. This congestion can become worse when you’re lying down, causing you to snore more often. 

Sometimes, however, snoring can be a cause for concern. Snoring can be caused by obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing stops repeatedly while you sleep, thereby disrupting your sleep.

Sleep apnea can be linked to high blood pressure, which can increase your chance of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to preterm labor, so it’s important to talk to your doctor or midwife if you have concerns about snoring. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Have you noticed numbness or tingling in your hands? You might be experiencing pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), CTS is "a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the fingers and hand." This common pregnancy symptom affects nearly 62% of pregnant women.

CTS symptoms typically appear in the third trimester, but symptoms can be felt as early as your first trimester. Pregnancy swelling, decreased physical activity, and repetitive motions that involve your hand and wrist -- like using a mouse -- can all contribute to the development of CTS. 

Try using a wrist brace or propping your hand on a pillow at night when symptoms reach their peak. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns about any of the symptoms associated with CTS.

second trimester symptoms

Baby on Board

At 23 weeks, your baby is around 11 inches long and weighs about 1.2 pounds. This week marks the beginning of a significant growth spurt for your baby. They will likely double in size over the next month!

Your baby's movements are also starting to get stronger. Pay attention to when you feel your baby moving. You may notice their activity levels pick up when you're lying down or after you drink something cold.

Under Construction: The Skin

Your growing baby’s skin is slightly saggy, but it will begin to fill out once fat deposits develop. Their skin also takes on a pinkish-blue hue thanks to the veins and arteries. Right now, your baby’s organs and bones are still visible through the skin, but the skin will become more opaque as fat deposits grow.

Under Construction: The Lungs

Your baby's lungs are undergoing some major changes this week. Surfactant, the substance that helps inflate the air sacs and allows the lungs to fully expand, is being produced. Your baby is still only breathing amniotic fluid for now, but they'll be ready for air soon.

best maternity sports bra

What to Wear This Week

Want to take advantage of the increased energy you may have in the second trimester? Try a prenatal yoga class or a walk around the neighborhood. Whatever your activity level, we've got you covered with great maternity sports bras and activewear. Our Activewear Collection features a variety of pieces that are breathable enough for working out and stylish enough for hanging out in any phase of motherhood. 

Try our Sublime® Nursing Sports Bra, which has all the support you need whether you're working out or working from home. We love the moisture-wicking fabric and pullover racerback style -- and with over 1,600 great reviews, other moms do too!

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice that has been medically reviewed. Please reach out to your midwife or doctor with any questions.