From now on, your baby is really using those new lungs to practice breathing. And you might start to feel the effects of pregnancy brain – and yes, it is a real thing; you are not going crazy.
During week 23 of your pregnancy, your baby is doing breathing exercises and testing their growing lungs by inhaling amniotic fluid. This will continue until the moment of birth when the fluid will be pressed out of the lungs as your baby goes through the birth canal, and the next breath they take will fill the lungs with air for the first time.
By the end of week 23 of your pregnancy, your baby measures around 30 centimetres from head to toe and weighs around 670 grams.
Start planning your parental leave.
This period of your pregnancy is one of the calmest, so this is a good time to think about planning your parental leave. It might still seem like something far away in the future, but when you get further along in your pregnancy, you will be flooded with thoughts about the birth and everything you need to do and buy before the baby comes.
Parental leave is important – there are lots of pieces that need to fit together, both in private and at work, so take the time to do the puzzle.
Pregnancy brain – is it really a thing?
If you find yourself feeling forgetful and foggy these days, you’re not the only one. In fact, this state is so common during pregnancy that it has a name: pregnancy brain. And you are not imagining things, pregnancy brain is a real thing. It is usually caused by a combination of hormones, sleep deprivation and all the thoughts whirling around in your head.
Some newer studies actually showed a physiological change in the structure of pregnant women’s brains, so if you can’t remember if you bought pasta yesterday or if you find your car keys in the fridge, just know that you are not going crazy; there are real, physical reasons for your brain’s weird behaviour.
While you probably can’t avoid pregnancy brain entirely, there are some things that might help:
- Make sure to get sleep and rest – insomnia and sleep deprivation will only make your brain more dazed before and after the baby comes. Nap whenever you can!
- Drink up! Fluid is extremely important during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and even mild dehydration can affect your energy and ability to focus.
- If you’re worried about forgetting things, make lists, lists and lists. Grocery lists, cleaning lists, gift lists etc.
- Exercise your brain – read books, do crossword puzzles or sudokus and do brain teasers and puzzles. Get those rusty gears creaking!