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23 weeks pregnant

23 weeks pregnant + calcium Now hear this

Summary

Your baby is putting on weight and has full hearing by week 23 of your pregnancy. Their skin is growing rapidly and still has a transparent appearance, although that is set to change soon. As well as supporting bones, calcium helps muscles to function properly and should still form an important part of your balanced pregnancy diet.

Gaining weight fast in week 23

You’re over halfway through your pregnancy and your baby is gaining weight rapidly1. By the time you're 23 weeks pregnant they will have reached around 20cm in length and weigh about 450g (just under 1lb)2.

 "Your baby’s development at 23 weeks"

Most mums can already feel their baby moving by this time – they will kick and twist and turn and stretch, and now even have the ability to grasp the umbilical cord if it passes near their hand. Your baby’s developing skin is still transparent2 at this stage and because it grows faster than their body can put on weight, it looks slightly saggy1. As they lay down more fat stores, it will lose its delicate appearance and begin to look more plump1.

“Research shows that deep voices are easier for your baby to hear from within the womb.”

Your baby’s hearing is well developed now, and they can hear your own voice as well as other people’s. If your partner needs extra encouragement to talk to your baby, you can let them know that studies have shown deeper male voices to be easier for babies to pick up2.

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Calcium – the future for healthy bones

Calcium is important for both you and your baby, and should form a key part of your balanced diet.

“The RNI for calcium is 700mg per day3, all of which should be available from a healthy, balanced diet.”

Essential for building bones and teeth, calcium also supports normal muscle function, helps blood clot; and promotes the development of healthy muscle tissue and nerve function4.

During pregnancy your body becomes more efficient at absorbing calcium5, but it’s still important to make sure your diet contains calcium-rich foods. The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for calcium is 700mg per day, whether you’re pregnant or not3. All of this should be available from a healthy, balanced diet.

Next Steps

Add some of these foods to your shopping list to help boost your calcium intake:

  • Dairy products, including pasteurised milk, yogurt and cheese (not soft blue cheese, or soft cheese with a white rind)
  • Fish with edible bones (like sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds and sesame seeds
  • Figs or dried apricots
  • Green vegetables like curly kale or spinach
  • Tofu
  • Calcium-fortified breakfast cereals
  • Calcium-fortified drinks such as some soya milks

View references

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1. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. p. 261.

2. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 41.

3. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.

4. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.

5. Gandy J (ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. p. 87.

Last reviewed: 14th July 2016
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