Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Pregnancy at week 23

3-minute read


Your baby

Your baby now weighs about 540g and measures about 20cm from head to bottom – about the size of a papaya. They are covered in fine hair, called lanugo, which is getting darker and may be visible on an ultrasound scan. The hair on their head and their eyebrows is developing colour.

The lungs have started to produce surfactant, which will help them to stay inflated when your baby is breathing air after birth. The baby is practising to breathe in the womb, but they are still getting all their oxygen from the placenta.

Their brain and nervous system are developing rapidly. They can now recognise light, sound and pain. Their vision is improving and they will know the sound of your heartbeat. Their pancreas is producing insulin.

BACK TO TOP

Your body

Your growing uterus might be pressing down on your bladder, causing you to leak fluid, especially when you cough, laugh or sneeze. This incontinence might be temporary, but it’s important to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing regular exercises. You should do these exercises every day throughout your pregnancy and continue after you have the baby.

Many women start to feel warm during the second trimester. This is because of the extra blood in your body. If it’s summertime, you can stay cool by wearing loose cotton clothes. Keeping well hydrated is also especially important while you’re pregnant.

You may also notice a pain like a stitch down the side of your tummy. This is because the ligaments are stretching as your uterus grows. Resting or moving position normally helps. If the pain doesn’t go away, gets worse, or if you have any bleeding or discharge from your vagina along with the pain, let your doctor or midwife know as soon as possible.

BACK TO TOP

Things to remember

The birth might seem like it’s a long way off, but now is the time to start preparing for being a parent. Having a baby will change your life. If possible, plan not to have any additional upheaval in the first few months after the baby is born, such as changing your job, renovating or moving house.

It’s a good idea to talk to your partner about who will be there to support you during the birth, who is going to take time off to look after the baby, and how you will share household chores and caring for other children in the first weeks and months.

If you don’t have a partner, it’s important to start thinking about how to get support after the baby is born. Think about what practical help you can ask for from family and friends, what services are available in your area, and how you can meet other parents to build a support network. Your doctor or midwife will be able to point you in the right direction to find out what’s available.

Read more here about the support that’s available for parents.

BACK TO TOP

Your pregnancy journey

Click here for week 24


Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Exercising during pregnancy

Doing regular moderate physical activity has health benefits during pregnancy and also helps to prepare the body for childbirth. Read about getting fit during pregnancy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Safe return to exercise after pregnancy

Exercise can help you recover after childbirth, make you stronger and improve mood. Here's how to work out safely after a pregnancy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Pregnancy - Pregnancy Topics - The second 3 months of pregnancy – the second trimester

During the next 3 months of your pregnancy, the second trimester, you will probably put on about 6 kilograms, even though your unborn baby will only weigh about 1 kilogram by the end of this part of your pregnancy

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Frequent urination during pregnancy

Having to urinate more often during pregnancy is very common. Find out why it happens and how you can reduce it.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Second trimester of pregnancy: for men | Raising Children Network

Tiredness and morning sickness often ease up in pregnancy’s second trimester. Our guide explains how this can be a special time for men and their partners.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Second trimester

During the second trimester, your baby’s organs will develop and they will start to hear sounds. Any morning sickness will likely ease off around this time.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Pelvic floor exercises & care: in pictures | Raising Children Network

Your pelvic floor holds your bladder, bowel and uterus in place, but pregnancy and birth can weaken it. Do pelvic floor exercises: squeeze, lift and hold.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Pregnancy changes video: second trimester | Raising Children Network

In this video mums and dads describe physical and emotional changes in the second trimester of pregnancy. A midwife says tiredness and nausea might ease.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Pregnancy second trimester: men’s feelings | Raising Children Network

It’s pretty common for men to feel pregnancy is happening at a distance. Even in the second trimester, it might not feel real. Read more in our Dads Guide.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.