You might feel like you should have this pregnancy thing down pat after 23 weeks, but with every new development comes a new set of questions. We probably can't set all your fears to rest, but we do want to tell you not to worry if:
You feel occasional, painless contractions. Many women experience Braxton-Hicks contractions beginning around this time without ever realizing it. Think of them as practice runs for your uterus as it tries out the muscles it will need to deliver the baby. There's no cause for panic unless the contractions become intense, painful or frequent, in which case you should call your doctor.
Your gums bleed if you so much as think about brushing your teeth. It's normal for your gums to be swollen (just like every other part of you) at this point, leading them to bleed easily whenever you floss or brush. Brush gently with a soft-bristled brush, and be sure to floss daily, even though it may seem like you're just making things worse.
You have a dark line stretching from just below your breasts to just above your pubic area, dark patches on your face and small "skin tags" cropping up in random spots around your body. Yep, it's all pretty glamorous, this pregnancy business. The dark line and the discolored areas (called melasma, chloasma or the ominous sounding "mask of pregnancy") will fade after the baby is born -- although never as fast as we'd like. The skin tags, while not the most attractive features, are harmless and can be removed easily by a dermatologist or even your general practitioner.
Still want more information about all the changes you're experiencing? Take a look at the links on the next page.