22 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body, Baby’s Development, and Tips

Welcome to the 22nd week of your pregnancy. Your baby has regular waking and sleeping patterns now. Sometimes your movements may wake up your baby when she is sleeping. Similarly, your baby’s kicks or movements can also wake you up when you are sleeping. Your baby is getting bigger and looks just like a newborn now. Find out how your baby is growing, how your body is changing, and how to look after yourself during the 22nd week of your pregnancy.

22 Weeks pregnant

By the 22nd week of pregnancy, most women are feeling quite comfortable with their pregnancy, both physically and emotionally. This stage of pregnancy is the time for you to plan and prepare for birth and parenting after that. You can now choose the cot or bassinet, prepare the nursery and buy clothes for your baby.

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Symptoms

1. Braxton Hicks contractions

These contractions are false contractions, a way for your uterus to prepare for your delivery. These contractions are painless, and they vary in length and intensity. They do not cause you to dilate.

Many women mistake these contractions for the real thing, especially if it is their first pregnancy.  These contractions are irregular and do not increase in intensity. They usually stop if you change your position.

2. Swelling

Almost 65 percent of healthy pregnant women develop swelling, even when their blood pressure is normal. You may notice swelling on your legs and feet at the end of the day or when you have been standing in one position for a long time.

3. Protruding navel

As your growing uterus pushes your abdomen outward, your belly button may pop outward. You cannot do much about this now, but once your baby is born, your belly button will return to normal.

4. Stretch marks

As your abdomen expands to accommodate your baby, you may notice stretch marks on your stomach. Some women also develop stretch marks on their breasts, thighs, hips, and buttocks. Though stretch marks don’t ever go away completely, they tend to fade over time and turn silvery-white, rather than red.

5. Increased sex drive

Hormonal changes can result in an increase in libido for some women around this time.  Extra blood flow to the breasts and genitals increases sex drive.

6. Backaches

Most women complain about backaches as their pregnancy progresses. The ligaments in your back are relaxing, while the abdominal muscles around the uterus are stretching. To minimize this discomfort, you must improve your posture and exercise to keep your muscles strong. Sleep with a pillow to ease the pain.

7. Breathlessness

Many pregnant women find it difficult to catch their breath after performing routine tasks. The growing uterus pushes the lungs upwards, making it difficult to breathe.

8. Dizziness

Expanding uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels, which can reduce the flow of blood to the brain. Dizziness can also be a sign of anemia. If you feel faint or dizzy, sit down and put your head between your knees, so that the blood can return to your brain.

Your body at week 22 of pregnancy

At 22 weeks of your pregnancy, your uterus is moving higher up your abdomen and is already stretching two centimeters above your belly button. At this stage of your pregnancy, you must be wondering about your weight gain. Most doctors suggest slow and steady weight gain of around one pound a month. Many people will advise you to eat around 300 to 350 calories more per day. This advice is a general guideline to prevent you from over-snacking, do not obsess about calories counting.

You may notice a dark vertical line running down the center of your stomach. This line is known as linea nigra, and it is the result of pregnancy hormones. This discoloration disappears after the birth of the baby. You may also notice a clear or milky white substance leaking from your breast. This liquid is known as colostrum, which is a precursor to breast milk and is high in antibody and nutrient content. Leaking is normal at this stage, and you should not worry about it.

Your baby at week 22 of pregnancy

By the end of the 22nd week of pregnancy, your baby will be 20 inches long and will weigh 14 ounces.

  • Her sense of sight is developing, and she can now perceive light and dark.
  • She can now hear your voice, your heartbeat, and your gurgling stomach.
  • Your baby’s lungs are developing fast. Even though she can’t breathe in the womb, she is practicing breathing movements.
  • Your baby’s tiny nails now completely cover her fingertips.
  • Your baby is now developing layers of brown fat, which will help her produce and retain body heat.
  • The surface of your baby’s brain, which was earlier smooth, has now begun to develop folds.
  • Your baby’s taste buds are forming now.

Tips to be followed when you are 22 weeks pregnant

1. Eat healthily

Continue to eat healthy and nutritious meals. In addition, eat regular healthy snacks like nuts and fruits and stay hydrated to keep your energy levels up.

2. Sign up for childbirth classes

These classes teach you about what to expect during delivery. You will learn what labor feels like, how long it can last, and how to handle the pain. You will also learn about parenting and how to look after your baby. Bring your partner along to these classes.

3. Start doing kegel exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder, uterus, and rectum. These exercises are great to do during and after pregnancy.  These exercises can help improve your bladder and bowel control by increasing the strength of pelvic floor muscles.

4. Lower your stress levels

It is normal to feel worried during pregnancy. However, keeping your stress levels under control is better for you and your baby. Cut back on your working hours, exercise regularly, and talk to a friend about your fears.

5. Start thinking about baby names

Have you thought about what you will name your baby? If you haven’t, this is the time to buy some baby name books, searching for some names online, or looking through your family tree.

6. Add more magnesium to your diet

Magnesium helps to strengthen your baby’s bones and teeth; it stimulates enzyme function, regulates insulin, and controls blood sugar levels. Deficiency in magnesium can lead to fatigue, leg cramps, and may even cause poor fetal growth. Spinach, kale, avocados, peas, broccoli, and black beans are some foods that are rich in magnesium.

Your week 22 of pregnancy doctor’s visit

Some of you will be planning to visit your doctor for your next prenatal visit by the end of the 22nd week of pregnancy. This visit will be similar to the previous antenatal check-ups. Your doctor will check both your health and your baby’s progress.

Your doctor may also discuss the upcoming glucose screening with you. This test is a routine test that checks for gestational diabetes. You can take this test as your next appointment, sometime between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

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Tips for the partner

Your baby has a well-developed hearing now. She can hear your voice. Chatting to your wife’s baby bump may seem a bit strange to your initially, but it is a great way to start bonding with your baby.

Final thoughts

At 22 weeks, your uterus is moving higher up your abdomen and is already stretching two centimeters above your belly button. By the end of the 22nd week, your baby will be 20 inches long and will weigh 14 ounces. During this week, you may be feeling symptoms like Braxton Hicks contractions, backache, stretch marks, swelling, breathlessness, and dizziness. Eat healthy and nutritious meals, exercise, and lower your stress levels.

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