Week by week pregnancy guide: 23 weeks pregnant

Here's everything you should know

23 weeks pregnant

You're now 23 weeks pregnant but what should you expect? Read week 23 of our week by week pregnancy guide to find out everything you need to know...

At 23 weeks pregnant you'll probably be used to the ins and outs of pregnancy week by week (opens in new tab) guides. For ours we've gathered together all the best bits, to save you searching for the information separately.

Now that you're 23 weeks pregnant your baby will begin to dream, and you'll feel it moving around. And there are lots of other changes too, including how you'll be feeling. Here's a run down of everything you need to know in your 23rd week of pregnancy...

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23 weeks pregnant: Symptoms

Your heart is working harder than ever, pumping six litres of blood around your body every minute. You may find yourself suffering from mild headaches and could also be more out of breath. If so, these can be treated safely with paracetamol. However, a persistent headache that lasts for several hours and doesn't respond to pain killers should always be taken seriously, particularly if it is accompanied by vision problems and/or a sudden swelling of hands, face and feet. This could be a warning sign of a potentially life threatening condition of pregnancy known as pre-eclampsia (opens in new tab).

23 weeks pregnant: Fetal development

23 weeks pregnant


Your baby is 28.9cm long and weighs 501 grams. Their proportions are similar to a newborn, but their skin is wrinkly and covered in a very fine downy hair called lanugo which usually disappears before birth. Blood vessels in the lungs are developing, the bones of the middle ear are beginning to harden and the fingernails are fully formed. From this point onwards babies seem to start dreaming. Researchers have observed rapid eye movement sleep in unborn babies as early as 23 weeks. Quite what they are dreaming about remains a mystery...

23 weeks pregnant: The changes you should make

If you are eager to have a home birth but don't know how to go about it, visit homebirth.org.uk (opens in new tab) for guidance and practical advice. If having continuity of care is important to you then you may want to consider employing a private independent midwife to take care of you during pregnancy, to deliver your baby at home and support you after your baby is born. A complete package of care from an independent midwife can cost between £2,000 and £4,500. For more information go to independentmidwives.org.uk (opens in new tab).

Fingers can swell up a bit in pregnancy so now might be a good time to remove your rings before you find yourself sobbing over a butter-smeared wedding ring.

Did you know...When anaesthetics were first discovered in the early 1900s the reigning board of obstetrics at the time ruled against their use in labour on the grounds that it was women's path in life to feel pain!