If it seems like your weight gain has slowed down, you’re probably right. It’s not uncommon for moms to experience natural weight gain in cycles, and at Week 23, many women are between times of heavier weight gain. If this is you, don’t worry! Your baby will start gaining weight soon.
So here you are, actually nearing the end of the second trimester. At this point in their pregnancies, many women are already experiencing the symptoms that will only become more bothersome as the weeks go on. These can include:
- The “belly line” forms. As the skin stretches on your belly, a dark line may form in the middle of your belly, running from about your belly button to the top of the pubic region. This line is known as the linea nigra, or literally “dark line.” Like other skin discoloration, this is caused by the pregnancy hormone progesterone. It’s often more noticeable in darker-skinned women.
- Swelling gets worse. You might have been experiencing swelling in your legs, feet, and ankles before, but don’t be surprised if it gets worse. To help with swelling, elevate your legs and feet, exercise, reduce excess salt in your diet, wear support hose or stockings, lie on your left side, and stay hydrated!
- Moodiness can strike at any time. It’s true that the massive mood swings of the first trimester are gone, but your body is still pumping out lots of excess pregnancy hormones that can cause irritability and moodiness. Always be gentle with yourself.
Around this time, it’s also common to feel a strong nesting instinct. It can seem like an emergency to get that nursery done, have your detailed birth plan done, and have every product you think you’ll need when the baby arrives. This is also a totally normally feeling—it’s Nature’s way of prodding parents into getting ready. If you find you’re feeling like this, here are a few excellent ways to spend that energy:
- Decide on cord blood banking. Are you planning on banking your cord blood? Do you know the pros and cons? Now is a great time to research it and make the decision.
- Do you have a will in place? Of course no one wants to think about this, but if you don’t have one in place, now is the time to handle it, before the baby is born. Talk to a lawyer if necessary, and make sure you everything set up, including who will be responsible for our baby in the event of a tragedy.
- Do you want to reserve your baby’s social media accounts? It might feel too early, but more parents are reserving social media accounts in their kids’ names at birth (so no one will get them later!) and using it as a kind of baby book. You can hand them over later.
- Is it time to open a savings account or start a college savings account? Again, it might feel early, but college likely won’t get any cheaper!
While you’re thinking about college, your baby is busy on his or her own. It’s hard work growing and preparing for the big day. Your baby’s fetal age is now 21 weeks. Although it varies, the average baby is now just over 1 lb. in weight, with a crown-to-rump length of about 9 inches. Overall, your baby is about the size of a small grapefruit.
Don’t be surprised now if you regularly see the skin on your stomach stretching and moving as your baby moves around. Your uterus is now about 10 inches long and extends above your belly button. Although your baby still has room to move around, conditions are getting a little tighter now, making it easier to see movement.
Life inside at this point is all about growing awareness of the world and packing on more baby fat. There is still some development work going on with the organs—the capillaries in the lungs, for example, are developing in preparation for breathing—but most of the hard work is done at this point.
“Try to avoid drinking a lot of water before bed, invest in a good body pillow, and eliminate TV and phone use before bed can help with your irregular sleep routine.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018