You are 23 Weeks Exactly 119 days to go…

You may be surprised by the strength of feeling you have for your baby, and this maternal instinct will grow stronger each day.

Your baby today

External appearances are deceptive: although your baby seems very well developed, it’s still early in the pregnancy—the state of the cervix and progesterone produced by the placenta both play a part in ensuring that labor does not start for some months yet.

Do you feel as though you’re a mom yet? Whether or not you’re a maternal person, you’ll already have started, instinctively, the process of becoming a mother. You may be taking better care of yourself, eating better, and making lifestyle changes, not necessarily to benefit your own health but for your baby. You’re likely to find yourself being very protective and nurturing toward your growing belly, wanting the best for your baby, and being worried about anything happening to him. It’s nothing to worry about if you don’t feel this bond: all women are different and it may not be until you’re holding and caring for your baby that you experience strong maternal feelings.

Your partner may not have this strong parental instinct, but the more you involve him in the pregnancy, the greater the chance of him getting close to his unborn child. By reading books or on the internet about how the baby is developing at every stage, and attending some or all of the prenatal appointments with you, he will be able to picture the baby and follow his progress as closely as possible.

You’ll find that your baby occupies your thoughts a lot of the time. Being pregnant makes most women act selflessly in the best interests of their baby.

… Relationships
What’s that, Mom?

If you have a toddler already, she will undoubtedly be curious about why you have suddenly got so fat! Keep things simple, along the lines of “Mommy is growing you a baby sister or brother, but she/he won’t be here just yet.” Over the coming weeks, explain in more detail what having a new baby means.

There’s no need to tell your toddler how the baby got there, or to keep reminding her about it. Just answer her questions when she asks, without showing too much preoccupation with the matter.

… Doctor
Q: I’ve got the flu. Will this harm my baby?
A: No, your baby should be fine but because your immune system is compromised during pregnancy, your symptoms might last longer than usual. Drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated, and eat several small meals a day to maintain your energy levels. Call your doctor if you don’t improve after 24–48 hours, or your temperature exceeds 101° F (38° C).

Very few pregnant women do experience complications, but if you feel very unwell, and, in particular, you experience problems breathing, see your doctor immediately. Ask the pharmacist’s advice before taking any over-the-counter medication.

Your 24th Week

A baby getting prepared for independent life needs all the help you can give her. Keep up your good habits by nourishing the two of you with healthy food; and make sure your own body is in peak physical condition to support your pregnancy. Some minor discomforts, such as feeling too hot, leg cramps, and hemorrhoids may be plaguing you. These annoying problems are only temporary and will disappear once your baby is born.


Your baby’s body systems are becoming more and more efficient

You are 23 Weeks and 1 Day 118 days to go…

From this point onward, your baby is considered “viable” and would receive life-saving treatment were she born early.

Your baby today

There is no light in the uterus, but 3D ultrasound is designed to produce highlights and shadows to give the same effect as if you shone a flashlight into the uterus. Now your baby may be holding her hands flexed into a fist.

Week 24 is considered the age of viability for your baby, and therefore an important pregnancy milestone. Like many women, you may feel relieved to get past this point.

If you went into labor and delivered your baby before this week, she would be unlikely to survive and you would be considered to have had a miscarriage. After 24 weeks, the doctors will to do everything they can to save the baby, although babies delivered this early have an increased risk of long-term disability. The more advanced you are in your pregnancy before you deliver, the less likely it is that your baby will face the problems associated with being born prematurely.

Incredible scientific and technological advancements have meant a huge increase in the survival of premature babies.

The world’s youngest surviving premature baby was born in Florida in October, 2006 at just 21 weeks and six days.

The baby weighed only 10 oz (283 g) and measured 9.5 in (24 cm). Her feet were the size of an adult’s fingernail. It was the first time a baby born before 23 weeks had survived.

Neonatal intensive care units

Babies who are born prematurely, or newborns who are sick, will receive specialized round-the-clock care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) . The earlier the baby is born, the more chance there is of complications, such as infections, occurring. If your baby is born several weeks prematurely, she may need to be cared for in a level 3 NICU—this may not be in the hospital where your baby was born. Your baby may be put in an incubator with monitors attached and receive oxygen through a special ventilator. Some of the equipment looks very frightening, but remember it is there to help your baby stay warm and nourished and improve her health.

The staff will readily explain what is going on, and they will be eager for you to be involved as closely as possible in your baby’s care and encourage bonding.

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