Your Body at 23 Weeks Pregnant
Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
Oh, the joys of being 6 months pregnant. So here's the scoop: some of the blood that’s pumped out from your heart will go to your legs. As this blood returns to your heart, it can choose many different paths. The main path is via the large blood vessel called the vena cava, which runs from the pelvis and then back to the heart. In the pelvis, this vein lies under the uterus. As your uterus gets bigger, this large vein can get pressed upon if you lie on your back, which can partially prevent the blood flow back to the heart.
So, it’s a good idea to be tilted on your side while you sleep. Due to the partial blockage of blood flow through this bigger vein, the blood will be shunted to other routes. The two main routes will be the veins on the surface of your legs, and the veins around your anal opening. These veins are not accustomed to transporting this increased amount of blood and so they tend to swell up. The results? Varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Women who have genetic predisposition to varicose veins will have a higher chance of getting them. Getting off your feet frequently during the day and using compression stockings (you can buy them in most drugstores) are helpful in preventing varicose veins. Eating a lot of fiber and staying hydrated will also help to prevent them. If varicose veins worsen, ask your health care provider for prescription-strength compression stockings. The good news is that varicose veins and hemorrhoids are mostly harmless, and both may disappear after your baby is born.
Your Baby at 23 Weeks Pregnant
Your fetus is now about the size of Bok Choy (a Chinese cabbage) and weighs about a pound. You should be able to feel her move. Her rapid eye movement (REM) and her dreams have begun.
The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.