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Pregnancy At Week 23

Pregnancy At Week 23

Week 23 of pregnancy is well over half-way! Congratulations on surviving the first big phase of parenting. This week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain for the baby (and maybe for you too! That’s okay!), and the reality of your precious little baby is becoming more and more present.

Changes with Baby

Your baby is now approximately 8 inches long and weighs just over a pound. About the size of a mango! This week begins a serious growth spurt and your baby will just about double in size in the next four weeks. That is some serious weight gain-but don’t worry mama, your body can handle it. Your babies skin is a little saggy right now because their skin grows faster than their fat does. But they will soon fill out and be a cute plump and full little baby by the time they are born. Right now your babies skin has a reddish hue because of the developing arteries and veins underneath the surface. You can see your baby’s vital organs through her skin because it is so thin at this point, but that will go away as your baby fattens up.

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    Your baby is big enough now to hear her heart beat through a stethescope! You’ve probably heard it through a Doppler machine, but now that your baby has grown, it’s easy to hear that beautiful little rhythmic flutter that will make your own heart melt.

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    Your babies limbs are longer and stronger now and you will probably be able to see baby moving and grooving underneath your shirt. So turn on some music and dance along with your babies movements! Sounds like music, your partner’s voice, and your dog barking will all be familiar sounds to your baby by the time they are born.

    Changes with You

    By pregnancy week 23 every square inch of your body is probably feeling the effects of your pregnancy. Your baby may be cuddled up cozily in your abdomen, but your entire body is pregnant. Your mind is probably fuzzy from the waves of progesterone washing over your brain. Ever lose your keys and find them in the freezer? This is called “pregnancy brain”. Once the baby comes you will be so tired that you will be living with Mommy Brain. Basically, expect to never remember where your keys are. But it’s worth it.

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    Your feet and ankles may swollen by this point, and your ankles will almost certainly begin to swell at night after a long day or in the summer heat. Blood circulation changes and water retention can account for these changes. This water retention is called edema. Your body will flush out all of your excess water once you have the baby. Expect to sweat and pee a lot during this first few days post-delivery!

    Another big change with your body might be the new arrival of a dark, inexplicable line down the middle of your belly. This line, called the linea nigra, is a super common symptom of pregnancy. Women with darker skin are more likely to see this change. This line is caused by the same pregnancy hormones that cause the darkening of your areolas and freckles. Some women also experience a darkening of the skin on their faces. Not to fear-these changes won’t last forever! A few weeks after you deliver the baby your skin will go back to it’s normal coloration.

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    What do to this week

    This week is a great time to begin taking your labor plans seriously. I’m not saying your should expect to go into labor soon, but thinking about it and preparing is an important part of the process. Visualizing what you want and processing your expectations for your labor and delivery take some time. Begin now by simply practicing relaxation techniques. Whether you intend to labor and deliver naturally or not, odds are you will experience a fair few contractions. I don’t know any women who would consider contractions to be a relaxing experience, so it’s a good idea to have some techniques up your sleeve to help you relax through the pain.

    Simple breathing exercises are a great place to start. Not only will this help you prepare for labor, but it will also have positive benefits for you during your pregnancy too. Stress hormones aren’t good for you or the baby. When you feel the normal anxieties associated with bringing a new little human into the world, take a minute and breathe. Try breathing in through your nose for 8 counts and out through your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat this cycle five times. You should feel your heart rate reduce, your mind clear a bit and your thoughts come back under control. This trick will help you through those shocking early contractions as well!

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    Some more tips for this week

    • Keep drinking water! Staying hydrated is so important for the development of the baby and your own health. Your body is working hard. Give it what it needs!
    • Look into your insurance policy and make sure you complete all of the necessary paperwork for when baby arrives. If you haven’t do this already, it is extremely important to begin this conversation!
    • Contact HR if you’re working and begin planning for your maternity leave.
    • Don’t forget about paternity leave! Have your partner communicate with their place of work and see what their options are for time off when the baby comes.
    • Keep breathing! You’re getting there!

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Hunter via flickr.com

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    Emily Myrin

    Copywriter

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    Published on July 22, 2021

    20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

    20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

    It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

    Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

    Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

    1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

      These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

      Get the recipe here.

      2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

        This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

        To try this recipe, go here.

        3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

          Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

          Check out the recipe here.

          4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

            Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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            Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

            5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

              This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

              Find the recipe here.

              6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                Get the recipe for this dish here.

                7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                  Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                  You can find the recipe here.

                  8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                    Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                    Find the recipe here.

                    9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                      This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                      Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                      10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                        Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                        The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                        11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                          Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                            This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                              Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                              This easy recipe can be found here.

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                              14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                Find out how to make it here.

                                15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                  This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                  The recipe can be found here.

                                  16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                    This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                    Find the recipe here.

                                    17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                      Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                      Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                      18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                        Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                        Find the recipe here.

                                        19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                          Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                          20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                            Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                            Get the recipe here.

                                            Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                            Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                            Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                            1. Lose the Sugar

                                            Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                            2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                            Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                            3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                            Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                            When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                            Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                            Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                            More Healthy Eating Tips

                                            Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                            Reference

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