Pregnancy Week 23
What are Braxton Hicks Contractions?
Your Baby's Growth and Development
By 23 weeks pregnant your baby is measuring in at a hefty one pound... that is huge considering how small your baby was just a few short months ago. Keep in mind your baby was less than one ounce and is now fully weighable on most ordinary scales! Most babies are also between eight and eleven inches long by pregnancy week 23.
During 23 weeks pregnant your baby is quite capable of hearing loud noises outside the womb. You may notice your baby shift in response to your voice or that of your partner. Don't be surprised if your baby is still flopping around quite a bit inside your tummy. This is very normal during the second trimester when your baby still has plenty of room to shift around.
Most babies if born around 23 weeks pregnant would have a very small chance of survival. The odds of a premature baby surviving between now and 24 weeks averages between 10 and 70 percent. For the most part you want to keep that baby in there much longer, a full 37 weeks longer if you can!
Modern technology has afforded many hospitals the ability to keep even the tiniest babies alive however. Many women who give birth to extremely premature babies can expect some hope their baby will survive. A baby born this early however, will be subject to many problems and unexpected complications even later in life. From this point on each day your baby stays inside your womb until week 26, your baby's odds of survival increase 3 percent. That means by 26 weeks pregnancy your baby's odds of survival if born prematurely rise to almost 90% in some cases.
Let's just hope at this point that baby stays inside your belly for a lot longer!
Changes In Your Body
By about pregnancy week 23 your uterus is about 1 ½ inches above your belly. You probably are enjoying your baby swimming about your belly. By now your partner can probably also feel your baby moving inside your belly.
At or around this time some women may start feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. How early you feel these preliminary contractions depend on many factors. If you have had a baby before you may feel them very early in your second trimester. If this is your first baby however, you may not feel Braxton Hicks contractions until near the end of your second or early third trimester.
Many women find it difficult not to obsess about their pre-labor contractions. One easy tool you can use to take your mind off your preparation contractions is relaxing. I find the best way to relax is with a
Snoozer Pregnancy Pillow. Now, why on earth would a pillow take your mind off your pre-labor contractions? I'll tell you. One reason is while resting, you will find Braxton Hicks contractions tend to settle down. The more we do, the more likely we are to experience uncomfortable contractions.
Many doctors advise patients to rest when they experience frequent pre-labor contractions. A pregnancy pillow can help you relax by supporting your belly, head, neck and legs. You may find you even fall asleep, rather than focus on your contractions. And you will need as much sleep as you can get during this time, to prepare for your baby.
Braxton Hicks Vs. Labor Contractions
During my second and third pregnancies I felt Braxton Hicks contractions around 25 weeks pregnancy. They are not the same as real contractions. How can you tell the difference?
Braxton Hicks are basically practice contractions. They happen at random intervals throughout your pregnancy and may last between 30 seconds and 1 minute. They are typically random and do not result in any pain.
Braxton Hick contractions often occur more frequently toward the end of pregnancy. They may help prepare your cervix for labor and delivery by effacing and dilating the cervix. Typically a Braxton Hicks contraction eases when you change position or relax. At times they may resolve simply by drinking extra fluids, as dehydration sometimes brings on contractions.
True labor contractions are rhythmic and gradually increase in frequency and duration. They also do not go away with relaxation or changes in movement. At times rhythmic contractions may be a sign of pre-term labor, especially when contractions occur before 37 weeks pregnant. Here are some signs and symptoms of pre-term labor to watch out for:
Any contractions that continue for more than an hour and are less than five minutes apart.
Rhythmic contractions that gradually increase in duration and frequency.
Contractions accompanied by other symptoms of labor like bloody discharge, watery discharge or a bloody show.
Contractions that come with low back pain and occur at regular intervals.
Read About Pregnancy Weeks 13-28