23 Weeks

23 Weeks

How your baby’s growing:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she’s more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby’s increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won’t faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

How your life’s changing:

You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you’ll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition calledpreeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes.

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