Skip to main content Help with accessibility

23 weeks pregnant

partner holding bump


Your baby's development at 23 weeks

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.

the gift banner pregnancy
 the gift  of future health Learn more

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

Hide references

drop down arrow

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

Worried about telling your employer?

Our expert team of midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are here to answer your questions. Just get in touch.
Call us on 0800 996 1000

Join Aptaclub related article register

Aptaclub members get more

Join now for expertly tailored nutritional advice to support your baby’s future health.

Healthy pregnancy diet meditation bump header

Healthy pregnancy diet plan

Eating a well-balanced diet during pregnancy supports your baby's development and future health. Discover how to get the balance just right.

Learn more

Join Aptaclub on Facebook

Like our Facebook page to join the thousands of mums-to-be and new mums who are discussing and sharing their experiences.

Dairy foods and pregnancy milk header

Dairy foods and pregnancy

Dairy foods provide calcium, protein and other nutrients that support your baby’s development. Learn how much dairy to aim for.

Learn more

Feel prepared with our free mobile app

Our free Preparing for Birth mobile app has practical tools & expert advice helping you feel prepared for the birth of your baby.

iodine fish header

Pregnancy nutrients: Iodine

Iodine is a vital nutrient for pregnancy and your baby’s brain development. Find out what it does, why it’s so important and how to get it.

Learn more
Foods that are safe to eat during pregnancy mussels header

Foods to eat when pregnant

From salami to smoked salmon and sushi, find out which foods mums-to-be often seek advice on.

Learn more
protein salmon food group

Pregnancy nutrition: Protein

Protein is an important component of every cell of your baby’s body. Learn how much you need each day and which foods are good sources.

Learn more

WhatsApp Welcome to Careline via WhatsApp

Our experts are available to chat Monday - Friday, 8am-8pm, excluding bank holidays.

By clicking start, you will open a new chat in your WhatsApp app with our Careline team.


Having trouble?

If you're having issues sending the Careline a message via WhatsApp, please try calling us on 0800 996 1000 instead.