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23 Weeks Pregnant: Avoiding Complications in Birth

“I make choices that nourish my pregnant body and my baby.”

Welcome to 23 weeks! Feeling baby’s movements inspires many pregnant people to focus on the quality of their daily lifestyle choices. Good nutrition, movement, and lifestyle choices are three things you can turn to your advantage. Good choices help your chances of avoiding complications during your pregnancy and birth. When we think about good choices, we can sometimes get uncomfortable about judgments based on what we “should” be doing.

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Ditch the shoulds and embrace the coulds that make you feel good. A simple example: I could pick a dark green vegetable rather than a starchy one. A dark green, leafy salad could provide my baby and me with playful texture, crunch, vitamins, and live enzymes. Let decisions become more supportive by removing the word “should”.

A healthful way of eating becomes highlighted during pregnancy. Choose food and beverages that support vital organs to grow a healthy baby. We offer three areas of attention this week.

 

Hypertension

Many people have found great success with The Blue Ribbon Diet (also known as the Brewer Diet), developed by Dr. Tom Brewer, proven to help avoid complications of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and premature birth. The top six Brewer Recommendations are:

  • 4-6 3-ounce servings of protein a day (doesn’t have to be meat).
  • 10-12 glasses of water a day (skip carbonated drinks which leach minerals).
  • Salt to taste: A little iodized salt helps balance your fluids.
  • A daily green, leafy vegetable, like kale or turnip greens.
  • An orange veggie, like yams, carrots or pumpkin, a few times a week.
  • One fresh fruit or drink a tea from hibiscus flowers most days.

Gail Tully, Founder of Spinning Babies®, saw amazing results when protein recommendations were followed exactly. Food choices for the Brewer Diet could be updated for today’s dietary science. However, this program works!

 

Gestational Diabetes

Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, CLT shares current science and smarts in food choices for controlling blood sugar and offers meal plans in her book Real Food for Gestational Diabetes: An Effective Alternative to the Conventional Nutritional Approach. Nichols does an excellent job of breaking down the confusion around this diagnosis and puts the pregnant person in charge of real change. Nichols’ approach combines eating and movement. Blood sugar is controlled by how we eat, what we eat, and good habits of movement. While no plan is 100% applicable for all people, this one is stellar and an exciting development for today’s generation.

 

Movement

Moving your body throughout pregnancy is at the heart of Spinning Babies. Our top recommendation? Walk briskly five times per week, working your way up to 3 miles. Walking with full motion lengthens the psoas muscles—a large pair of muscles shaped like narrow, internal “wings” that swing forward from the inside of the spine and over the front of the pelvis to the thigh (more on the psoas here). A supple psoas helps digestion, feeling grounded, and baby engage on time. Find other tips in Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort & Easier Birth.

 

Things to Do This Week

  • Laugh!
  • Do something for someone else occasionally.
  • Rest. A bedtime before 11 p.m. every night supports your internal clock.
  • Be in a safe place. Choose to surround yourself with loving people.
  • Get a doula. Doulas are “proven to improve” outcomes.
  • Avoid drugs that aren’t vital to your life or mental health (don’t stop taking prescription drugs without clear help from your doctor).
  • Avoid alcohol. There is no safe level of alcohol for a baby’s brain or your gut.
  • Avoid smoke, including secondhand smoke from tobacco and pot.
  • Avoid chemical cleaners and find “green” household cleaners.
  • Avoid changing cat litter, or wear gloves—and a face mask.

Spinning Babies Activity of the Week

The Sidelying Release (SLR) is a static stretch to add comfort and prepares the pelvis to open easier at the time of birth. Benefits of SLR include:

  • More pelvic mobility.
  • Releasing muscle spasms for more restful sleep.
  • Easing hip, back or pelvic pain in pregnancy.
  • Making room for baby to turn into a better position.
  • Repeating every 4-6 hours, since the benefits are temporary.

Learn here how to do a Sidelying Release safely and effectively.

Your Baby This Week

Your little one is a little over 11 inches long and weighs about 1 pound. Baby feels your movements (so, keep up that dancing and walking!). Baby enjoys hearing sounds inside your body—like your heart—and your voice. Singing or reading out loud is soothing to baby.

You This Week

Right around 23 weeks, some pregnant people start noticing swelling in the ankles and feet. Combat this with plenty of water and salt to taste (this may seem counterintuitive but helps balance the fluid between and in the cells more evenly). You can also try Legs Up the Wall as detailed in Week 21 or positioning you feet higher than your heart for 20 minutes twice a day.

Weekly Affirmation

Affirmations are short, powerful statements that can affect your conscious thoughts. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and repeat the following to yourself each day throughout the next week. Fill yourself with breath and feel the joy:

 

“I make choices that nourish my pregnant body and my baby.”
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