23 weeks pregnant
Your baby’s body systems are becoming more and more efficient
A baby getting prepared for independent life needs all the help you can give her. Keep up your good habits by nourishing the two of you with healthy food; and make sure your own body is in peak physical condition to support your pregnancy. Some minor discomforts, such as feeling too hot, leg cramps, and piles may be plaguing you. These annoying problems are only temporary and will disappear once your baby is born.
1.The eyelids are still closed. Beneath them, the eyes are protected by a thin membrane.
2.Fine, soft lanugo hairs keep a layer of greasy vernix on the skin.
3.The skin is starting to develop a protective outer layer of keratinized cells.
4.The baby’s rapid heart rate has slowed down a little. It is usually easy to detect the heart’s beating during a scan.
5.At 24 weeks the average crown to heel length is 30cm (11.8in) and the average weight is 600g (1.3lb).
6.The lungs are not ready for the outside world but their function is rapidly improving.
You’re nearing your third trimester! Aren’t you excited? The good news is that your baby’s development is happening at a rapid rate now. Your baby should now weigh around 600-700 gms.
What are you about to experience?
By now you would have realised that your uterus is pushing onto your bladder a lot, and the skin on your tummy and breasts becomes a bit itchy. If your skin is getting itchy, apply a fragrance-free lotion or oil. You can also opt for calamine lotion that is easily available at medical stores.
Are you eyes getting dry? Speak to your doctor about which eye drops to use. If one morning you wake up to bleeding gums, it’s nothing to get worried about. All the hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to sensitive gums and teeth. Amp up your dental hygiene a bit: brush after every meal, floss at bedtime, and use a mouthwash.
Your baby’s development
Your baby’s brain is now growing rapidly. You’ll be happy to know that your baby’s taste buds are also forming. Maybe your baby can now taste the yummy cupcakes you’ve been having! By now the baby’s lungs are also developing. The branches of the main lung are forming and also cells that will produce surfactant (Surfactant is a substance that is necessary for the air sacs to inflate easily.) This is the reason why pre-term babies have a problem in breathing as these cells haven’t had enough time to develop.
Changes in you
You may find yourself scratching your tummy or chest. This is because your skin is stretching or it’s getting dry. If the itching does not subside even after applying lotion or oil, visit your doctor. She may suggest you to go in for a blood test known as LFT (Liver Function Test) to rule out any concerns.
Keep yourself moisturised at all times. Avoid scratching your tummy as that leads to more stretch marks.
While at work or at home while lying down, keep your feet elevated, to avoid swelling. Place a foot stool under your desk if your job requires long hours of sitting.
Nutrition for you
Pregnancy is a wonderful time. Everybody wants to pamper you and lavish you with love, usually in the form of food. But keep these things in mind:
- Reduce the sugar intake. Between weeks 24-28 your doctor will advise you to get a Glucose Screening Test (GST) that checks for gestational diabetes, which is basically a pregnancy-related high blood sugar condition. It’s best you eat fruits than gorge up on those chocolates and desserts.
- Healthy Food: If you feel hungry, instead of eating a burger, opt for a salad. Whatever you eat, you’re technically feeding your child, so make healthy choices.
Need a change? Take your mind off the bad mood by indulging in some fun activity. Watch a movie, spend the day with your girlfriends—anything that makes you happy. Apart from this watch out for the below signs:
- Heartburn: If you are suffering from frequent heartburns, you should eat smaller meals throughout the day. If you eat five or six small meals a day, it decreases the chances of heartburn. Also, limit fried foods and snacks.
- Swelling and pain: If you suffer from finger pain or swelling, try keeping an ice pack on them for a couple of minutes, three times a day. Also, avoid hot showers.
What do the experts suggest?
“Your doctor will suggest you to get a GST done between weeks 24-28. This is an important test which should not be missed. Some common symptoms of GST are unusual thirst and nausea. The doctor at this stage will advice you for more tests and scans. It is suggested you take them seriously and not miss out any.”
Dr Sangeeta Malhotra
CGHS Maternity and Gynea Hospital, R. K. Puram, Delhi
What do some of the moms say?
While your concerns are very real, you are not going through them alone. Many pregnant mothers feel the same. Here are what a few of them say:
Himadri Gulati, 30, who had diabetes in her family history says, “My doctor asked me to not take a single crystal of sugar. No sweets, no sugar in tea – nothing! But it helped me deliver a healthy baby. Follow your doctor’s advice.”
Mansi Chopra, an expectant mother who suffers from severe itching says, “My doctor suggested I get my LFT done. My levels were quite high and I’ve been told that in week 37, I’ll be induced. I’m trusting my doctor completely on this.”
Seasonal Pregnancy Care
Though it pays to take proper care during pregnancy , it is important to pay particular attention during the extreme seasons.
Summer: If you’re suffering from itching, wear loose clothes. Avoid synthetic materials and opt for cotton and linen. These are considered breathable fabrics as they allow the air to circulate close to your skin. A cool bath or applying calamine lotion or moisturiser can also help soothe the itching.
Monsoon: If possible, during monsoon, take a bath with neem water. Neem fights germs and bacteria like no medication can. Also, never walk barefoot or in rubber sole shoes during monsoon. You just cannot afford to slip or fall.
Winter: Avoid lamb wool. Opt for sweaters that are made of 100% cotton. Harsh wools will only worsen your itching. Sip on herbal teas (without sugar) after consulting your nutritionist/doctor. Make warm soups a regular part of your diet since they are not only nourishing but also keep you warm and happy!