Tommy's PregnancyHub

23 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby is about 30cm now and roughly the size of a large mango.

What does my baby look like in week 23? 

They might get hiccups and you may feel the tiny jerks when it happens! They can also suck their thumb.

Have you been feeling flutters and bubbles from your little one? These have probably turned into kicking and little jabs by now. Over the next few weeks they’ll become more noticeable and regular as your baby grows and gets stronger, rolling and dancing inside you.

You might even notice a kind of pattern emerging. Often when you rest, your baby will spring into action and when you’re busy on your feet your baby will be rocked to sleep by the motion.

It’s a good idea to get to know your baby’s sort of routine, so you can get in touch with your midwife if the movements slow down, or stop, or something doesn’t feel right to you. 

Your baby’s movements is a sign that they are well and that is why you should report any reduction to your midwife or hospital immediately. Find out more about monitoring your baby's movements here.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 23

Pregnancy back pain

Your bump is growing and hormones are making your muscles and ligaments relax, which is not a good combination for your back. You need to take extra care of your back now.

Are you suffering from cramps, headaches, indigestion or heartburn?

Read our guide to the 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

Feeling stressed out?

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health during pregnancy. Make sure you look after yourself, as well as your bump.

We all dream of floating serenely through pregnancy - but work and home pressures, or other worries, can get in the way and lead to anxiety.

You may be feeling stressed at work, especially if you are under pressure to prove your commitment or finish pieces of work before going on maternity leave.

Talk to your manager if you’re feeling stressed all the time. Remember, it’s not selfish to be pregnant and take maternity leave. It’s a normal part of life and the company will manage.

It will soon be harder to take time off on your own, so it’s also important to catch up with friends or go out for a meal with your partner while you can. Taking time out for yourself helps you stay healthy.

“I tried to spend some time each day focusing on the baby. Thinking about her, rather than everything else that was going on around me helped.”

Emily, mum of one

Here are tips to help you stay stress-free in pregnancy.

You can also work through our digital pregnancy and post-birth wellbeing plan.

Skin and hair

If you’re lucky, glowing skin and shiny hair may replace any spots around now.

What to do in week 23

Stay active to improve your mood

Being active during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your baby. Not only can it help you sleep better, but it can also make you less likely to feel anxious and depressed. This is because when you’re active, your body produces hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are linked to feelings of wellbeing. When you’re pregnant, your body is more sensitive to endorphins, so activity can boost your mood for longer. 

Read all about exercise in pregnancy.

“I exercised throughout both my pregnancies, right up until my due date. I was a lot more tired in the second pregnancy, because I was running around after my daughter, but I always did something active because it made me feel better.”

Aileen, mum of two

Tell your employer in writing that you are pregnant

If you work, you must let your employer know you're pregnant by week 25. You must also tell them the date you want to start your maternity leave. It's important to put this in writing so that you qualify for maternity pay and benefits.

If this is the first time you’re telling your boss about your pregnancy, they must also make sure your workplace doesn’t have any risks for you or your baby. They’ll need to make other arrangements for you if necessary.

Choosing a date to start maternity leave isn’t easy, because you can’t tell for sure when your baby will be born. If you leave work two weeks before your due date, for example, your baby could be born up to two weeks after that, so you could end up spending three or four weeks waiting for your baby to arrive.

Your decision might also depend on how your pregnancy is going. If you don’t have any pregnancy niggles, you may feel able to keep going for longer.

How much coffee can I drink during pregnancy?

You should try to limit the amount of caffeine you have to no more than 200mg a day - the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee.

Try our caffeine calculator to work out your normal caffeine intake.

Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape

NHS Choices Backache in pregnancy (Page last reviewed: 14/02/2018  Next review due: 14/02/2021).

NICE (2008) Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies,Clinical guideline [CG62] Last updated: January 2017.

RCOG (2006) Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy: Information for you, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

Review dates

Last reviewed: 26 June, 2018
Next review: 26 June, 2021