22 weeks pregnant: what can I expect?
At 22 weeks your belly will have grown and will attract attention from people. Random people will come up to you and ask if they could touch your belly. If you don’t like people touching your belly it’s okay to tell them that it makes you uncomfortable.
Your baby’s eyelids will have fully formed by this week. Although the baby’s eyelids remain closed now, your baby will be able to differentiate between light and dark colors by the time it is born. Your nipples will get darker and bigger for breastfeeding purposes. The advantage of dark nipples is your baby’s eyes will go straight to the nipple when it has to latch on to it during feeding.
Physical changes in you at week 22
- Breathlessness is common in pregnancy after slight physical exertion. Your body is trying to adapt to all the natural changes required to carry your baby. To give you greater lung capacity your rib cage would have moved up and outwards. The breathlessness is harmless and you can do light exercise to cope with it. Make sure you check with your doctor before you start any exercise.
- Many women experience heartburn and indigestion at some point during their pregnancy and may continue until the baby is born. Heartburn is caused by the hormone progesterone. This all important hormone is produced by the placenta to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus during pregnancy. But it also relaxes the valves that separate your throat from the stomach causing gastric acids in the stomach to wash up against the throat pipe. Avoid spicy foods, acidic foods and eating large meals to combat that burning feeling in your chest.
- Because of all the extra blood circulating in your body during pregnancy it will retain a lot of water in your body. This often causes swollen ankles and feet. Put your feet up to improve circulation and use socks so that blood won’t pool up around your ankles.
- Constipation is another thorn in your side during pregnancy. All the hormonal changes will slow down your bowel movements and going to the bathroom can be painful. Drink plenty of water to prevent constipation. Eat bran, oats and foods that are loaded with fiber to prevent hard stools.
Emotional changes in you at week 22
- You might suffer from what’s popularly called mumnesia. It’s common to feel forgetful and suffer from amnesia like symptoms during pregnancy. Don’t be alarmed because along with physical changes pregnancy also affects you mentally. You might forget someone’s birthday, you might forget what you opened the fridge for and little things like that. To cope with these symptoms get plenty of sleep. Another tip is jot down “things to do” in a journal, so that you can refer to it when you can’t remember something.
- As the reality of your pregnancy hits home, you will doubt your own ability to be a good mum. You will wonder if you have the parenting skills to cope with your baby crying out in the middle of the night. You will start worrying if you are going to get angry at your baby when stressed. The instinct to parent comes naturally after the child is born. You can also ask your mum for tips to cope with stressful times.
- It’s natural to become distracted during pregnancy. If you are trying to complete your workload before your maternity leave, you won’t have the time to think about your pregnancy – your mind will be focused on the task at hand. Don’t feel too bad about this, as long as you are staying healthy and not overworking yourself.
- If you want to name your baby with a cute and unique name, at 22 weeks of pregnancy you have plenty of time to do that. Don’t wait until the last minute to finalize your baby’s name; chances are you won’t be happy with what you decide then.
How’s my baby doing?
- Your baby now weighs about 430 grams and will measure approximately around 27 centimeters from crown to feet. Your baby will now be trying to get the proportion of a new born.
- Your baby will be starting to develop body fat to protect its skin which won’t be as thin as it appeared last week. Don’t get into the mindset of eating for two because your baby is developing. Doctors advise you only need 10 percent more than what you would eat normally to meet your baby’s growth requirements.
- Even this early your baby will start to develop fingernails. If your baby is a girl her vagina and uterus will be in a place. If it’s a cute boy, his testes will have descended down towards his scrotum.
Useful tips for you for week 22
- Planning a holiday now with your partner can be a wonderful way for you to relax during your pregnancy. Once your baby is born you might not get much alone time with your partner. A holiday might be just the thing you need to rekindle that romance and develop an intimate bond.
- If your baby has an older sibling, avoid lifting him or her. Carrying a toddler at this stage of your pregnancy will give you unnecessary back ache and strain.
- If there are no water restrictions in your place, a relaxing soak in the tub will relieve you of your aches and pain. To create a spa like environment you can add rose petals in your tub. If you are feeling extra creative you can play your favorite music and use scented candles.
- Avoid exercises like running and jogging as this will put a strain on your body and muscles. Don’t forget to do your pelvic exercises as this will assist you during your delivery.