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Only a few more weeks before you get to meet your precious little one! However, there is still some way to go to get there. This article puts together some suggestions and answers to any questions you might be having about your 22nd week.
Your Baby’s Growth During Pregnancy – Week 22
Your baby has begun to perceive the world more and more, as his sense of hearing, sight and touch are improving. Increasing grip strength means that your little one will hang on to his umbilical cord for dear life, but there is no need for concern, this is normal. Fine hair called lanugo is covering the body of the foetus, with wrinkles set deep in the skin. Lung development is also happening rapidly in preparation for breathing independently. Your little one can now tell the difference between day and night, as well as hear and differentiate different sounds like your voice, heartbeat, stomach and any music you might be playing. Fully developed lips, as well as teeth buds under the gums, have formed. By now, if you press against your belly you will be able to feel your baby squirm away or push back.
What is the Baby’s Size
Your baby has hit a weight breakthrough, finally weighing nearly 0.5 kg, making him approximately papaya-sized. At 22 weeks pregnant the baby’s size is around a foot from head to toe and the foetus is beginning to look like a mini-baby.
Common Body Changes
After 22 weeks of carrying your baby around everywhere you go, you will experience some new body changes during pregnancy this week:
- Change In Hair: The hair on your head looks a lot thicker and shinier. This is because you lose less hair during pregnancy because of all those hormones circulating through your body. On a similar note, you will see an increase in your body hair due to the small amounts of male sex hormones(testosterone) your body is now producing. You will mostly see this hair on your face, stomach, limbs, chest, and back.
- Change In Skin: This one is a mixed bag. Some pregnant ladies find their skin glowing and radiant, while others get oily, inflamed acne-ridden skin. Occasionally, jumps in melanin levels could create dark patches on your face. Using a sunscreen or better yet, avoiding the sun entirely is your best bet. Another persistent problem is stretch marks, caused by the expanding pregnancy bump. There is very little you can do about these marks, except perhaps apply some soothing balms if they itch too much.
- Change In Fingernails: Fingernails, like hair, grow faster during pregnancy, but whether they become hard, soft, rough, smooth or brittle depends on your body.
- Change In Breasts: You will notice that your nipples and areolae are larger and darker than ever before. They may also get tiny bumps. This happens due to oil glands that produce lubricating antibacterial oil to protect your nipples from cracking when you begin breastfeeding.
- Change In Feet: Your increasing foot size is due to oedema or simply swelling due to water. It can also happen due to the production of relaxin, the hormone meant to relax your stiff joints.
Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 22
This week will have you feeling pretty much the same symptoms as the last couple of weeks, as you cross the middle of your second trimester.
- Indigestion: One of the most common symptoms, it tends to exacerbate the effects of pregnancy cravings, especially if you want spice and oil in your midnight snacks.
- Constipation: This could be caused by your little one growing and pressing against the large intestine, making it harder to push the waste out.
- Cramps: You might find yourself suffering from bouts of cramps, especially in your legs. This is most likely due to lack of minerals in your diet. Ask your doctor about prescribing you some multivitamins.
- Expanding Belly: Your stomach is going to be a lot bigger now. The most common symptom associated with this is a protruded navel, which will return to normal after delivery.
- Lethargy: You will feel a lot lazier or more tired than normal. This is because of the pressure exerted on the blood vessels to your brain by the uterus. It might even cause you to faint or get dizzy.
- Increased Sex Drive: As unexpected as this might seem, with your hormones fluttering about, your libido is going to get a considerable push.
- Discharge From The Vagina: Due to the blood rushing through your nether regions, you will be producing a lot more fluid than usual. However, this is completely normal and ensures healthy vaginal flora.
- Back Pain: Now is when you will begin feeling the effects of carrying around all that extra weight and feeling the pressure of your baby on your spine. Getting some massage time will certainly help.
Belly At 22 Weeks of Pregnancy
In your 22nd week of pregnancy, your tummy will be around 25 cm from top to bottom. Now is the time for you to start eating for two. However, most experts advise eating no more than 300 calories extra every day. It is also healthy to have smaller but more frequent meals, keeping your energy level high and your indigestion and constipation levels low.
22 Weeks Ultrasound
Doing an ultrasound, especially the 3D version, will let you see that your foetus looks more like a baby than ever. With lips and eyes almost fully-formed, your mid-pregnancy ultrasound will let you look at all the organ systems of your baby. You might even catch it sleeping in its preferred foetal position. Don’t worry if you don’t see any movement or feel kicks, as your baby sleeps up to 16 hours a day at this point. Another interesting point to note is that your baby is finally making its own blood cells from its bone marrow, rather than employing the liver or spleen for this purpose.
What to Eat?
Nutrition is one of the most crucial aspects of your pregnancy. In your 22nd week, there are a few nutrients that you should not skip under any circumstances. 22nd week pregnancy food includes nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex and zinc through preferably organic sources. Avoid food that might have been grown with herbicides or pesticides as they could harm the growing baby. Don’t forget the powerful Omega-3 fatty acids which you can get from fish and nuts, as they are important in your child’s mental development. However, certain kinds of fish are tainted with mercury and must be avoided, such as swordfish and mackerel. It is also inadvisable to consume street food as they could be contaminated with harmful bacteria. One of the most important things you can do is cut out alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes altogether. And last but not least, remember to keep yourself hydrated with at least 3 litres of water per day.
Tips & Care
You can keep in mind the following at 22 weeks in order to get through this time of pregnancy with proper care.
- With a visible bump at 22 weeks, you will have a lot of people commenting on your glow, and more who want to touch your belly to feel the little one inside you. You might find it comfortable, but if you do not at any point, put your foot down and tell them so. Your personal space is your own and letting strangers invade it is unacceptable.
- Keep your blood sugar up to avoid feeling fatigued; carry around a bunch of healthy foods to nibble on throughout the day.
- Also watch out for Braxton Hicks contractions, which feel like strange squeezing feelings in your lower tummy. Don’t worry since they are harmless but if they continue for too long, call or visit your doctor.
- This cannot be stressed enough: Don’t stress. There is already so much happening in your life; you don’t need to add anxiety to that list. If you feel inexplicably upset or nervous, take a day off, relax, watch TV, meet with friends or cuddle with your partner.
What You Need To Shop For
With your feet swelling rapidly, one of the more sensible things to purchase is a pair of comfortable shoes. Maternity dresses and bras are still on the table, as the increase in your body size shows no signs of slowing down. Stock up on moisturisers for your chapped skin, as well as prenatal vitamins to keep both you and your baby healthy and strong.
It is important to collect all the relevant information to avoid the stress and doubt that is a part and parcel of pregnancy so that you can have a safe and healthy journey to motherhood.
Read this article in Arabic: الأسبوع 22 من الحمل: ما الذي يمكن أن تتوقعينه