23 weeks: Just swell {pregnancy update}

Twenty three weeks down, seventeen to go!  I can’t believe we’re here already.  Not that this week is any kind of particular milestone, but I’m amazed every time I think about how fast this pregnancy is going.  Of course I was more amazed when I lost track and thought I was at 24 weeks, but we won’t talk about that.

I’m sleeping better – not sure if exercise and the accompanying increase in Vitamin D are helping, or if it’s the cooler nights or something else entirely.  At any rate, I feel better than I have in months.  I’m not quite my usual self, but my mind is clearer and I’m more energetic, and I’m feeling better instead of worse.

I do have one problem, and I would love your input: swelling.  It’s noticeable in my hands and feet, but I think I’m carrying some extra water everywhere.  I’ve had a bit of swelling off and on with other pregnancies, but it’s never started this early.  It’s not severe, but with most of the summer and just over half the pregnancy still in front of me, I expect it to get much worse if I don’t figure out what’s causing it.  I haven’t gained an unusual amount of weight so far, but I think most of it is attributable to excess water weight.  It is bad enough that one item on today’s To Do List is to soak my left hand in ice water and try to get the ring off my middle finger.  I’m hoping I won’t have to take off my wedding/engagement rings even though they’re already feeling snug, because, well… that would make me feel a little awkward in my third trimester.  🙂

One reason it concerns me a little is because I think I also have much more amniotic fluid than usual.  That can be a symptom of gestational diabetes, so of course I’ll be talking to my midwife at my next visit.

My midwife asks about swelling at every checkup, so of course I’ll have her input in a couple of weeks.  I’m thinking about calling her before that, but in the meantime, I would love to glean some helpful ideas from your experience.  Have you had swelling?  Do you know what caused it in your case?  What helped?

ETA: Thanks for all the suggestions so far! For those who asked, my bp is always a bit on the low side, and is still there as far as I know. Also, I’m drinking at least 2-3 quarts of water daily, but plan to increase it to a gallon to see if it helps. I do eat plenty of protein, and not too much sugar or salt.


I’m trying to get back to exercising.  Perry gently encouraged me a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that I had put on some weight all over – not totally typical for me at this point.  I thought about being offended because my weight gain so far is well within normal guidelines even if it’s not typical for me.  Then he went on to remind me that I had complained in another pregnancy because he didn’t warn me that I was putting on more weight than usual.  What can I say?  I’m blessed to have a guy who takes me at my word.  🙂

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve walked 2 or 2.5 miles every morning that I was home, about 4 days/week.  Some days I drive down the hill and park somewhere convenient so I can enjoy a walk on gentle rolling hills; other days I tackle the brutal hill that starts at the bottom of our stairs and continues for 1/4 mile.  Ugh.  It’s already getting easier, and I’m looking forward to increasing my speed and distance, but trying to do it gradually so I don’t get burned out and start dreading it.

Belly pics

Yes, I regret not taking a picture in The Dress last week, and I knew I would.  I just really didn’t feel like doing it.  The weather this week is much nicer – we’re staying the in the low 90’s – so I’m less whiny.  There’s even a nice breeze.  See the crazy windblown hair?

23 weeks with #11

Wearing my goin’ to town clothes.  I’m heading out to pay the second half of our property tax.  Did you know there’s a strong movement to abolish property tax in Texas?

23 weeks with #11

Actually I dress like that nearly every day of the week, minus the shoes.  My goin’ to town clothes are shoes.  When I put on shoes, the kids all ask where-are-you-going-and-can-I-go?

Baby at 23 weeks

  • The baby is over 11 inches tall, weighs about a pound.
  • The eyebrows are visible.
  • The child can successfully suck.
  •  The baby is now proportioned like a newborn except it is a thinner version of a newborn baby since its baby fat has not developed much yet.
  • If born now, your baby would have a 20% chance of survival, the odds going up with each passing day.
  • more

Your turn!  What’s new in your pregnancy this week?


  1. I put lemon oil in my water for swelling. It works amazingly well and tastes great. Check out my website, please, because there are only certain oils that I recommend. If you would like to send me your address, I will send you a sample of my lemon oil.

  2. Ask your midwife, but I’d think about increasing your salt since you’re having swelling. Your blood volume increases by about a third during pregnancy, so you need extra salt to balance your electrolytes. It should, of course, be a good quality salt, like sea salt. Even some vegetables, like zucchini, have a good amount of salt.

    Watermelon and cucumbers are great. Another good thing is lemon in your water. Cut up a lemon each day, and then squeeze the juice into your water over the course of the day.

  3. I had unusual swelling during my 4th pregnancy. It was a hot summer, and we just thought it was due to the heat, too. However, it turned out to be a rare complication called peripartum cardiomyopothy. It is much more rare than pre-eclampsia and often overlooked because it mimics regular pregnancy complaints, right up until you collapse of heart failure. It typically shows up in the third trimester or even up to 6 months postpartum, but early swelling is how mine started. Not trying to scare you or anyone else, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Wow! You look so small to me for 23wks! I would guess low amniotic fluid before I guessed too much! 🙂 Also, a fun ring idea… I had to take my rings off last week (which was 23wks for me) and I am wearing them on a chain around my neck along with a pearl charm. I like still having them on/near me and I have gotten several comments about how nice they look. Just an idea in case the swelling forces you to take them off.

  5. Wow your pregnancy has gone by fast!! I am 39 weeks with my first, and while I am preparing to go over due, the thought that this pregnancy will be over soon is overwhelming!

  6. Jessica says:

    I had much less swelling with pregnancies #7(May due date), 8 (Nov. due date) and 9 (August, last year) than I had with some of my earlier winter babies. I drank lots of water, limited sugar and took a really good multivitamin.

  7. Meg Dyson says:

    Hey, I don’t know much of anything about swelling except to drink water. I just wanted to leave a comment and let you know how much your blog has influanced me:-) And to thank you! I have two wonderful babies, they are nineteen months apart the oldest is two. My husband and I both believe and agree that it’s up to God to determine the size of our family. I had been struggling with our dessicion big time after the birth of our second. Everyone who knows me says I was born to be a mother and that I have the perfect body for pregnancy…whatever that means??? Anyway, I don’t exactly like pregnancy, and that’s putting it midly. So…you’ve greatly encouraged me:-) I’m praying for a renewed heart attitude towards pregnancy and giving it all to God….all over again. Thanks!!! Also, I think it’s awesome that you birth at home…all of my friends think I’m insane for doing it. I just think it’s comfy!!!

  8. I knew these other great moms would have the right advice for you. It’s hot, so drink water for the swelling. (Hoping it’s not TMI, but your urine should be a lighter lemon color. If it’s darker, you need more water. Can’t just go by how many ounces.) But, definitely drink more water. Eclampsia is what comes to mind with the swelling, but if your BP is good, you should be fine. I always have swelling in the summer pregnancies, but it goes down overnight and so much more quickly if I’ve drunk my water. You look great! 🙂 So tiny for having had a large family before this little one.

  9. Wow, this post relates well to me! I am 28 weeks along with #5 and have made significant changes in my life without seeing any results! I live in semi-northern California and its been mostly above 90 here lately. I can only wonder if that is not helping my swelling. I drink 4 quarts of water a day, throughout the day and I’m still thirsty! I was gaining weight pretty rapidly about 4 months into pregnancy and so decided to be pro-active. I exercise, on our used elliptical my sweet hubby bought me, 5 days a week. I started that 9 weeks ago. Then 5 weeks ago I gave up all sugar that isn’t found in fresh fruit and also gave up all bread products minus a couple of flour tortillas I had in an already prepared frozen meal we cooked. And I am STILL gaining weight!!!! I am trying not to become sad or obsessed with it, because at this point I can actually say I’m doing my best!!!! So, I might ask my OB today if there is something new I need to consider.
    What is funny, is that when you mentioned you kept thinking you were havi twins I had to laugh. Even with 3 ultrasounds this pregnancy I know there is only one baby, but I keep thinking there is one hiding and that is what is causing trouble!!! Oh well!
    You look great and I think you are tiny for having so many kids. I’m thankful I don’t have a blog to post pictures on! 🙂
    Your husband is sweet for respecting your wishes if that is what you wanted to know. I think that would be very difficult for any husband to say to an expecting wife!

  10. When I was have a lot of trouble with swelling with my 4th baby, my midwife had me take a couple of teaspoons of Redmond’s RealSalt daily. It worked amazingly. (Helps you drink more too…:-P) She said something about the trace mineral balance…Now I buy a big jar of it when I find out I am pg and just use it as my table and cooking salt, and I have never had nearly the amount of swelling I used to.

  11. Kristin says:

    I always experience lots of swelling, especially in my face. My midwife always recommends I drink lots of water, and eat lots of watermelon! Tasty and helpful 🙂 You look beautiful!

  12. Our chiropractor recommended “Natural Calm” to me for swelling during pregnancy. It helps me greatly! It is a magnesium supplement that is dissolved in water and reportedly very bioavailable. I like the Raspberry-Lemon flavor best. It reminds me of Jello. 🙂 I take it before bed because when I have swelling issues, it’s usually first thing in the morning. It also helps with leg cramps, restless leg, and kids’ growing pains.

    And I tenth? the motion on more water. Challenge yourself to drink a gallon a day for a few days in a row. Even with the magnesium, last week I was swelling and so I started drinking more and more (18 eight ounce glasses one day–sure was glad I was home all day) and it went away again.

    There is something in my memory from our Bradley Birth class about “salting food to taste.” I cannot remember the reason they advocate not limiting salt, but they didn’t. I wonder if it has to do with increasing thirst. Hmmm, I should look it up. They are big supporters of the Brewer Diet so I imagine the answer could be found on sites explaining it.

  13. D Martin says:

    No help with the swelling, sorry. Just an unwanted suggestion about rings…..

    My mother got to where she couldn’t wear her wedding ring during her later pregnancies. She was given one of her grandmother’s wedding rings, and that happened to fit nicely during those times. I used it with my first pregnancy (oddly not with my second); and I think my sister used it too….

    It helped to have the family history thing going, but just because YOUR ring doesn’t fit, doesn’t mean you have to go ringless.

  14. samantha says:

    For me, it was the sugar. I was found glucose intolerant (barely failed 1 of the 4 longer GD tests), so I cut all sugar and I am rarely swollen. I actually discovered this pre-pregnancy, too. Sugar makes me warm and tingly now, with increased heart rate and even jittery similar to caffeine. I researched this online also and found evidence to support that excess sugar can have a similar effect to excess salt with increased blood pressure and swelling. When I gave up the sugar, I also lost 10 lbs!! I’m 38 weeks and feel GREAT!

  15. While drinking lots of water is important, I can pinpoint the days I had swelling issues to my salt intake the day before. It didn’t take much to balloon my hands and ankles this pregnancy. My salt intake is generally pretty low since we eat very little processed food. Just eating out at a restaurant caused me to swell noticably. I haven’t worn my rings for over a month now because I’m afraid the swelling will sneak up on me and I won’t be able to get them off. I’m almost 41 weeks pregnant, so hopefully I’ll have this baby and be able to put them back on any day now!

  16. I’m dealing with swelling now too, at 31 weeks. I tend to think mine is due to too much sodium, especially on weekends, so I’m trying to keep that down. I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the first time ever, on my fifth pregnancy. Maybe that has something to do with it? I’m not sure. I think the protein connection is pretty amazing. Definitely going to investigate that, especially since my appetite is wayyy lower this time around than ever before, and I know I am not getting anywhere near that much protein.

    Great tips everyone! And Kim – you look amazing!

  17. Kristen C says:

    Protein, protein, protein! 🙂

    Also, if you’re worried about not wearing your rings, my sister in law went and bought a bigger, cheapo ring from Walmart. All the bling you could want, but at the perfect (temporary) size!

  18. Rachel B says:

    One more vote for more water intake! Not from personal experience, but a friend of mine who’s about 7 months along just mentioned to me that she was having trouble with swelling and upping her water intake really helped. Hope it works for you, too! 🙂

  19. No advice directly related to swelling, but you can always wear the wedding band around your neck, if you can’t wear it on your hand. Better than nothing. 🙂

  20. Am 37 weeks pregnant today and am so ready to give birth! Not sure about the swelling, obviously best person to talk to is your midwife (I know you know that but I like to point out the obvious!) Also are you drinking enough water? That has helped me up till now but unfortunately the wedding and engagement rings had to come off last week and I dont think they will be going back on until after Baby J is born!

    Even with your swelling you still look fab and keep it up with the exercise, you are doing brilliantly!

  21. ( : David'sKate : ) says:

    For me, my swelling always happened on the days when I drank the least amount of water. 🙂 It seems counter intuitive, but the more water your drink, the more fluids you can flush out. Hope you can get it to go away soon!

  22. I also drink 100+oz of water per day, more when I’m outside or have caffeine and haven’t had any swelling yet (27 weeks and counting!). This is my theory on swelling in pregnancy: As a nurse, I know that non-pregnant swelling is usually accompanied by a low albumin (protein) level in the blood stream. Protein is what keeps the water in your blood stream and not in your tissues, ie. swelling of arms/legs/hand/etc. It acts like a magnet. Usually when someone has swelling and we test their albumin level, its low. I know that babies are made of protein and possibly the baby is taking all of yours and there is not enough left in your bloodstream to keep the water where it should be? I don’t know why swelling would be any different in pregnancy than it would when you are non-pregnant, except that you need a higher level of protein when you are pregnant.

    I’ve been told by my midwife that eating 60-100 grams of protein per day should be the goal in pregnancy to prevent swelling, pre-e, etc. I’ve also read Dr. Brewers book where he talks about the research trial he did in his hospital in the 70’s. He was very successful during his trial in reducing the prevalence of pre-e in a population that usually had a high rate of it. While it wasn’t a scientifically perfect trial (ie. randomized controlled trial), I think there is still enough evidence to say that nutrition does play a large part in preventing complications later on. I do follow the Brewer diet to a certain extent and try to keep my protein level at above 50 grams per day. I also work 12 hour shifts at the hospital and so far have no swelling most days, even after 12 hours on my feet. Just my two cents! 🙂

  23. Elizabeth says:

    It’s North Dakota that property taxes just got voted on. 🙂 South Dakota is the one without state income tax. Dakotas are a nice place to live. 🙂 Anyway, I had tons of swelling with my first and not as much with my second. The only difference i could see was that my activity level was much higher with #2, and I drank a LOT of water, which someone mentioned might help. How’s your water intake? 🙂 With #1, it was so bad, I got carpal tunnel syndrome and my hands would fall asleep at night…not fun. Nothing serious or life threatening, just annoying. 🙂 Hope yours goes away soon!

    • Were you able to do anything to help the carpal tunnel? I’m 22 weeks along and my hands fall asleep every single night!

  24. Whoops, my links are in the moderation queue. Not spam, I promise! In case it gets lost in the queue, my comment was about HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia, since swelling can be one of the symptoms.

  25. How is your blood pressure? The swelling makes me think of preeclampsia, mainly because I had it with both of my kids.

    At this gestational age, be aware of HELLP especially. That is a really serious, fast-moving complication.

    More info: http://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/signs-and-symptoms and http://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/hellp-syndrome

    Hopefully it’s just run-of-the-mill summer pregnancy swelling, but maybe that info can help another pregnant lady on here.

  26. I’d kill the salt and check your bloodpressure regularly. Plus check for protien in your urine. Pre eclampsia can start out this way. Watch for headaches too. My experience With swelling in the second trimester was quiet preecclampsia that snuck up on me slowly. Aside from the swelling, I didn’t feel any other symptoms.

    • I was going to say watch your BP, too. I had swelling early with my last two pregnancies. After both I ended up in ICU withing two weeks of giving birth. I had ecclampsia, complete with seizures. I even had a brain anuerysm after my last time caused by the seizures. Praying for you 🙂

  27. Swelling? Try eating watermelon and cucumbers. in copious amounts, but not necessarily at the same time. 😉 Also, bulkherbstore.com has the loveliest tea called “mama’s red raspberry brew” that has dandelion, red raspberry leaf, nettle, peppermint and alfalfa. It is the nettle that reduces the swelling. That has really helped scores of ladies, including me! Praise the Lord for this precious little life!

  28. My update is here: http://naturalmomstalkradio.com/blog/34-weeks/

    I haven’t had any swelling to speak of, but this time my hands seem swollen. My feet and the rest of me are ok. I was going to say something about the (high protein) Brewer diet, but my midwives think he’s a cook 🙂

  29. Cindy in GA says:

    I only had swelling with my last pregnancy – not too terrible, but some of my shoes were difficult to wear by the last couple of months, and I had to wear my wedding ring on a chain around my neck. I decided that it was my age (41 at the time), but really I have no idea why I had swelling that time and not with any of the others. I’m sorry I’m no help!

  30. I am already feeling some swelling at 18 weeks. Definitely the heat is a factor for me. But I also think it depends on what I’m eating…sometimes too much salt. My pregnancy tea seems to help quite a bit, but other than that, I’ve read that a lack of potassium can cause swelling too. Avocados or Dark Chocolate anyone? 😉

    You look great, btw!

  31. I had too much amniotic fluid with my first pregnancy. They tested me twice for gestational diabetes (both were negative.) I had major swelling and had a huge belly. In fact out of five pregnancies that first one was by far my highest weight gain (a whopping 50 pounds) and my biggest belly. But I lost 30 of those pounds in 2 weeks after delivery because it was water weight. BUT I can say it made a significant difference if I drank a lot of water. The midwife suggested drinking a gallon a day. And when I hit that mark, it made a big difference. (I was also visiting the bathroom pretty frequently…) I can only imagine in the Texas heat how uncomfortable it must be to have the extra swelling. Hang in there!

  32. You look so cute!

    #1. You make pregnancy look so easy from here 🙂

    #2. If you cannot wear your wedding rings at the end, just be sure to bring ALL the children with you when you are going to town 🙂 I’m sure no one would dare ask you any questions

    #3. Would love to hear more about abolishing property taxes. i heard they are trying that in N or S Dakota as well?

    #4. call midwife just to check in 🙂 about swelling xo I’m sure the time of year is not helping.

  33. Not sure if you have access to a swimming pool, but I found that really helped with the swelling when I was pregnant… plus, it felt wonderful to feel weightless.

  34. So glad you asked about the swelling because I am having a time with it too. Like it will wake me up from a nap even. I have never really experienced swelling with my other 4 pregnancies so to have it this early is really puzzling. I’m drinking an insane amount of water. (Like 96 oz. a day, plus pregnancy tea.) I have my GD test at my next appt and for some reason I am slightly nervous about it and I never have been before. Anyway, looking forward to the tips!

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