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22 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development

 

Welcome to week 22 of your pregnancy. When you're pregnant at 22 weeks, chances are you're feeling pretty good (although you might be experiencing pregnancy-related insomnia and feeling tired as a result!). These are some of the other things you can expect from your baby and your body during the 22nd week of pregnancy.

Baby at 22 weeks pregnant

Big deal this week: your baby is topping the one-pound mark! Combine that with a crown-to-heel length of 11 inches, and your baby is the size of a small doll. His or her senses are developing nicely, including:

  • Touch: Your baby’s brain and nerve endings are mature enough now to process the sensation of touch. To test it out, your baby is practicing grabbing and gripping the umbilical cord, and feeling his or her body parts.
  • Sound: At 22 weeks pregnant your baby can hear sounds that are both in your body (your blood whooshing, stomach gurgling, your heart beating), and noises on the outside (you or your partner speaking, a loud TV). Many parents love to talk to their babies and see if they can get a kick in response. 
  • Sight: Although your baby’s eyelids are still fused shut, s/he can perceive light and dark. If you were to shine a flashlight over your belly, you might feel your baby react by trying to turn away from the bright light.
  • Taste: Taste buds have developed on your babe’s tongue. Your little is tasting the amniotic fluid every day, and that liquid is flavored by the foods you eat. Here’s your first chance to introduce those healthy foods, mama! 

Continued development of your baby’s reproductive organs is also taking place. In baby boys, the testes are beginning to descend from the abdomen to the scrotum. In baby girls, their uterus and ovaries are in place, her vagina is developed, and all of the eggs she’ll ever have are already made.  

Your body at 22 weeks pregnant

At 22 weeks pregnant, you’re growing the slightest bit rounder every day as you gain about a pound a week on average. Your baby bump is probably above your belly button right now, but bellies can vary greatly depending on a woman's build.

pregnancy week 22 embryo
Weekly development of a human fetus at 22 weeks pregnant.

You might soon begin to feel that your uterus is exercising its muscle and building strength in anticipation of labor. Known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, they might feel like a squeezing sensation at the top of our uterus, or down in your lower abdomen or groin. Irregular in their frequency and varied in length and intensity, they are sometimes called false labor. Braxton-Hicks are very different from labor contractions, which follow a pattern of getting stronger, longer, and closer together. But they can still be confused for true labor, especially if they are painful.

At 22 weeks pregnant, you may find that you're becoming more forgetful. Some people dismiss what's known as pregnancy brain, but many women report that feeling absentminded and forgetful as their pregnancy progresses. Of course, once you’re aware of the idea of “pregnancy brain,” it’s easier to notice your forgetfulness, so is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? It really depends who you ask.

22 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Unless you’re having a high-risk pregnancy, you probably won’t have an ultrasound at 22 weeks. With the recent anatomy scan, you’ve had a good look at your baby and all of his/her remarkable development. 

How big is my baby at 22 weeks?

two zucchini's, symbolizing the size of a 22 week human embryo

At 22 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a spaghetti squash, on average measuring at 11 inches long and weighing on average about 1 pound.

22 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're 5 months 2 weeks (5m2w) pregnant.

Common symptoms at 22 weeks pregnant

Here are some of the symptoms you might expect at 22 weeks pregnant.

  • More stable emotions: Now that your hormones are finally evening out, you might notice you’re no longer riding an emotional roller coaster.
  • Feeling worried about labor: As your due date approaches, you might feel scared or worried about having the baby. Share your fears with your partner, and also your care provider, who can help you get a handle on what to expect and how you can best prepare for labor and delivery. 
  • Nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums: With your circulatory system still expanding, and blood production continuing at rapid rates, you might be seeing the effects in the form of nosebleeds, bleeding during tooth brushing, and a stopped-up nose. Also, your blood pressure remains on the low side.
  • Sluggish digestion: Pregnancy hormones may continue to wreak havoc on your digestive system, resulting in constipation, heartburn, and indigestion.
  • Breathlessness: Despite a respiratory system that’s pulling 20% more air into the lungs, many pregnant women continue to experience some breathlessness.
  • Swollen breasts: As your body prepares for breastfeeding, your breasts might have increased two full cup sizes at this point and be boasting a veritable road map of blue veins. You might even be noticing a few drops of colostrum, or the first breast milk, from your nipples. 
  • Waddling posture: By now your weight gain has changed your center of gravity. To help your posture, consider getting some gentle exercise, such as swimming or walking.
  • Aching belly and leg cramps: Being 22 weeks pregnant means that you might start feeling aches in your belly, caused by your growing uterus. Leg cramps and backaches can also become more frequent as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Skin pigmentation: Skin pigmentation, such as the linea nigra on your belly, is a common side effect of pregnancy. Any pigmentation will fade and most likely completely disappear after pregnancy.
  • Increased libido: Many women notice they feel “in the mood” more often during the second trimester. Unless your doctor says otherwise, sex is safe during pregnancy. Your desire might drop in the third trimester when both exhaustion levels and your belly’s size increase. 
  • Increased appetite: As nausea fades, you might be feeling hungrier. Pregnant women need about 300 additional calories per day (so not a lot, really!). Aim to use them on nutrient-rich foods that benefit fetal development (with a few treats now and then of course!).
  • Blurred vision: This is caused by water retention and generally disappears after birth. During pregnancy is not the time to get a new prescription or undergo eye surgery, lest you overcorrect your regular vision for your pregnancy vision!
  • Dry eyes: Hormones are to blame if you’re experiencing decreased tear production. Your eyes may feel dry and it can make wearing contacts less comfortable.

Pregnancy checklist at 22 weeks pregnant 

This week, you might want to start thinking about and working on these pregnancy projects.

  • Start shopping for your nursery. Although it’s recommended that your baby sleep in your room for the first few months of life, s/he will eventually need their own space. It’s easiest to set that up before your baby arrives, especially if you need to do any painting or other major room renovations.
  • Work on your baby name list. You still have plenty of time to choose a name, but if you don’t have any ideas yet, start a list or a Pinterest board with suggestions and inspiration for what you might call you little.
  • Research care providers for your baby. Your baby will need to visit medical care providers frequently in his or her first few weeks of life. Start looking for someone who has experience with newborns, and request an appointment with them to meet and make sure you’re compatible.

What to Expect at 23 Weeks Pregnant

 
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