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Pregnancy at week 23

4-minute read

Your baby

Your baby is now 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.

Their lungs have started to produce surfactant, a substance that helps their lungs to stay inflated when your baby is breathing air after birth. Your baby is practising to breathe in your uterus too, 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 and voice. You might like to talk, sing or read to your baby.

Your body

Your growing uterus might be pressing down on your bladder, causing you to leak urine, especially when you cough, laugh or sneeze. This incontinence should be temporary and usually resolves after pregnancy. Either way 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 your 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 might also notice changes to your balance now as your centre of gravity shifts forward with your growing bump. Exercising your core muscles can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and back. You might want to try pregnancy yoga or Pilates. Talk to your doctor or midwife before starting any new exercise programs during pregnancy, just to be on the safe side.

Things to remember

The birth might seem like it's a long way off, but now is the time to start preparing for parenthood. Having a baby will change your life.

It's a good idea to talk to your partner or support person 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.

You may also find it useful to 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 too.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 24 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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Pelvic floor exercises

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

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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.

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Safe return to exercise after pregnancy

Exercise can help you recover after childbirth, make you stronger and improve mood. Here are some tips on how to exercise safely after a pregnancy.

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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.

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Anatomy of pregnancy and birth - perineum and pelvic floor

Read about your pelvic floor, including your perineum, which lies across the bottom of your pelvis and can be damaged during pregnancy and childbirth.

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Exercising during pregnancy

Physical activity while pregnant can help prepare your body for childbirth. Learn more about what exercises you can do, and what activities to avoid.

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Round ligament pain

Round ligament pain is common during second trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms can last from minutes to hours, but rest and stretches help manage pain.

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What to expect when seeing a women’s pelvic health/continence physiotherapist | Continence Foundation of Australia

What to expect when seeing a women’s pelvic health/continence physiotherapist. The Australian Physiotherapy Association’s women’s health physiotherapist Jenny Phillips tells us what to expect when seeking help from a physio for incontinence problems.

Read more on Continence Foundation of Australia website

Losing weight safely after birth

It is important to make healthy choices when trying to lose weight after pregnancy. Learn more about exercise and healthy eating after giving birth.

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Pelvic floor - Better Health Channel

Pelvic floor exercises are designed to improve muscle tone and prevent the need for corrective surgery.

Read more on Better Health Channel 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?

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