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Week 23

All that growing is paying off – your baby weighs about a pound now! There's still a long way to go, though, so for the time being your baby's skin is a bit wrinkly as it waits to fill out.


Major organs like the heart and brain are working, but the digestive system and lungs are still maturing.

    Stretch marks, or victory stripes?

    At least half of all pregnant women will have a stretch mark or two to show for their pregnancy – this happens because your skin is adjusting to your new shape, and it's nothing to stress over. The marks might appear reddish at the moment, but before too long, they'll have faded to a light, silvery appearance – just a small reminder of the amazing job you did at growing your baby!

     

    There's no evidence that massage with oils or lotions will help prevent stretch marks – but on the other hand, why not? At the very least, you'll be relaxed and smelling lovely!

    Other skin changes

    Along with the 'tiger stripes' on your bump, you might be noticing some patches of slightly darker skin on your face, particularly around the eyes. This is called chloasma, sometimes referred to as the 'mask of pregnancy,' and it tends to be most noticeable after exposure to the sun. Your best bet is to use a UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 if you're going to be outdoors, and wear a hat with a brim on sunny days.

    Trouble sleeping?

    If your baby moves around a lot at night or presses on your bladder , you might be finding it harder to sleep. Try having a warm, relaxing bath or a milky drink just before going to bed. Gentle exercise, such as swimming or antenatal yoga, during the day can also help you to sleep – just be careful not to overdo it. (For more information and advice on exercising safely during pregnancy, click here.)

     

    A carefully positioned pillow – or a specially designed support pillow – can help to support your legs and bump, preventing cramps and pressure on your blood vessels which can also lead to disturbed sleep.

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