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Highlights this week

Little eavesdropper

Your baby can now hear sounds from the outside world, although they're muffled by layers of skin, uterus, and amniotic fluid.

Belly or ballroom

Dancing is great exercise during pregnancy. It keeps you flexible, gets your heart rate up, and tones your muscles.

Top pregnancy foods

Salmon helps with fetal brain development. Avocados help prevent leg cramps. Here's what to eat when you're eating for two.

23 weeks is how many months?

You're in your sixth month!

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Baby development at 23 weeks

The outside world

Your baby can hear sounds from outside your body now, such as a dog barking. At first, your baby's ears can hear only low-pitched sounds, meaning she can hear male voices more clearly than female voices.

Dancing with you

With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes.

Digestive skills

The wave-like movements that propel food along the digestive tract (peristalsis) begin. As with swallowing, it's just practice for your baby's system at this point since there's no actual food to move.

baby with developing eyes and ears
Your baby at 23 weeks Tap the plus for more details
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Your baby is about the size of a large mango

large mango
11 ½
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head to toe
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Pregnancy symptoms at 23 weeks

Swollen ankles

You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer. Sluggish circulation in your legs – coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention – may result in swelling, also known as edema.

Swollen hands and face?

While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes.

Don't see your symptom?
Wondering about a symptom you have? Find it on our pregnancy symptoms page.

baby in body at 23 weeks
Your body at 23 weeks Tap the plus for more details

Pregnancy checklist at 23 weeks

Decide whether to hire a doula

A doula is a trained labor coach who helps you during labor and delivery. If you're interested in hiring one, it's a good idea to start your search in the second trimester.

Write a letter to your baby

This can be a wonderful keepsake to share with your child later. Go with your heart and follow your inspiration. Or if writing isn't your thing, put together a collage or a memory box of pregnancy mementos.

23 weeks pregnant bellies

This week's video


BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

ACOG. 2015a. Committee opinion 648: Umbilical cord blood banking. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Genetics/Umbilical-Cord-Blood-Banking [Accessed May 2019]

ACOG. 2015b. FAQ156. Prenatal development: How your baby grows during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Prenatal-Development-How-Your-Baby-Grows-During-Pregnancy#one [Accessed May 2019]

Mayo Clinic. 2015. Fetal development: The 2nd trimester. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20046151 [Accessed May 2019]

MedlinePlus (ADAM). 2015. Fetal development. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm [Accessed May 2019]

Medscape. 2016. Preeclampsia. [Accessed May 2019]

Waller-Wise R. 2011. Umbilical cord blood: Information for childbirth educators. Journal of Perinatal Education 20(1):54-60. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209739/ [Accessed May 2019]

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Kate Marple is a writer and editor who specializes in health, pregnancy, and parenting content. She's passionate about translating complicated medical information into helpful pregnancy and parenting advice that's easy to understand. She lives in San Francisco with her family.
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