Little girl laying her hand on her pregnant mother's belly

Pregnancy WEEKS

Pregnancy Week 23

How to Overcome Digestive Problems


At the end of the second trimester, other pregnancy-related symptoms may arise. Whilst these are not drastic, they can be troublesome, and include problems like constipation and hemorrhoids. To find out what you can do to counteract these problems without resorting to medication and what else lies in store when you are 23 weeks pregnant, read on.

What's Going On in Your Belly at 23 Weeks Pregnant?

The fetus is around 11 inches long (crown to heel) and weighs approx. 1 lb!

Your baby's main job now is to grow and put on weight. Organs are continuing to develop and your baby is learning to coordinate with its hands and fingers. It continues to develop a sucking technique so that it can satisfy the huge need to suck after being born.

Though the eyelids remain closed, it is now possible to see the eyes moving.

Your baby is now about the size of a honeydew melon.

Your baby is now about the size of a honeydew melon.

The baby's sleep rhythm also continues to develop and may align with yours. That said, you may find that your baby is particularly active when you are lying down. However, many babies fall asleep again when things calm down for a while. Loud music and noise can now wake the baby – even though the noise is muted by the amniotic fluid. 

How Do You Feel at 23 Weeks Pregnant?

You will now be gaining weight at an average of around 1 pound per week. Your body requires around 500 calories more for both of you. That's not much in terms of sweets and chocolate – but it's quite a lot of fruit and vegetables! Eating lean protein and wholegrain products will do you and your baby a lot of good in terms of nutrition during your pregnancy. Pulses have excellent nutritional value as they consist of complex carbohydrates, protein, a number of secondary plant substances, and are very low in fat. However, they can lead to bloating, which can be troublesome, especially for pregnant women with a tendency towards constipation. Start by trying small quantities to see whether you can tolerate foods like lentils, beans, and soy.

 Drinking plenty of fluids can help your circulation and alleviate the hard work of digestion. Movement and exercise also help if your bowels are sluggish. Constipation, together with more sluggish blood flow and hormone-related changes to blood vessels, can also result in a further unpleasant problem during pregnancy: Hemorrhoids.

Almost half of all pregnant women suffer from hemorrhoids, if only mildly – so you are certainly not alone with this problem!

Anyone can have hemorrhoids – these "blood-filled vascular cushions" are usually found in the anus, which is then sealed by the sphincter muscle. Problems only arise when they become enlarged. There are various grades of this condition. Grade 1 hemorrhoids are enlarged but remain in the anus, grade 2 hemorrhoids bulge outwards when under pressure, and grade 3 hemorrhoids remain outside the anus after pressure has been exerted.

Here are some easy ways to deal with hemorrhoids during pregnancy (without any medication):

  • Fiber-rich food
  • Drinking plenty of water or unsweetened tea
  • Regular movement

If hemorrhoids are uncomfortable, itchy, and/or sore, you may also be prescribed creams. For most pregnant women, enlarged hemorrhoids disappear all by themselves following the birth of the baby. Even though this is a difficult topic of conversation, talk to your doctor about what you should do to avoid any long-term problems.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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