It’s just a few weeks before the second trimester ends. How has this period of your pregnancy been?
A lot is unfolding inside your womb when you’re 22 weeks pregnant. The fetus continues to develop; your body’s changing, and it’s no longer a secret that you’re pregnant, so you don’t need to hide your swelling bump.
Learn about your pregnancy, news of your fetus, and body updates with us.
Here’s what to expect next.
At a Glance: Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy
- Your baby’s the size of a piece of papaya, a fruit you should never eat unripened during pregnancy.
- If you prefer the imperial measuring system, your baby’s a healthy one pound or more, which translates to 450 grams. What a milestone!
- Your baby’s height is about 27 centimetres from crown to heel.
- The nervous system is fine-tuning your baby’s senses. We explain what this means later in the article.
- Many of last week’s symptoms continue. You might observe new changes, too. Notify your doctor if you experience terrible pain or anything abnormal right away.
- This week, focus on increasing your daily magnesium intake, scheduling maternity shoots, planning your leave (look here for ideas) and considering childcare options if you’re a working parent-to-be.
Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy Overview
Your baby’s senses are developing more fully at week 22 of pregnancy. They might find the umbilical cord interesting and want to grip it in their tiny hands. With the umbilical cord being your baby’s lifeline for oxygen and nutrients, is this something to worry about? No, it’s designed to withstand grabbing, kicks and other baby movements.
Some experts believe your baby can detect light and dark through fused, unopened eyes. At the same time, they’re responding to external stimuli and may move or get startled by noises outside the womb.
Your baby needs magnesium and calcium to build their bones and teeth, which they’ll absorb from your bones if they don’t receive adequate amounts from your diet. Click here for ideas on healthy pregnancy snacks which will boost your baby’s minerals and vitamins intake.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy
Roughly the size of a papaya; your soon-to-be son or daughter is about 27-ish centimetres.
They also weigh 450 grams or one whole pound in the imperial system.
Here’s what’s happening to your fetus in the womb.
- Your baby’s refining its senses. They might respond to touch, detect lightness and darkness, and hear things inside and outside the womb. Tear ducts have developed in their eyes.
- If your little one’s a late bloomer, you’ll likely feel the first fetal movements by week 22. But don’t panic if these come later.
- If it’s been a couple of weeks since that particular moment, then your baby’s no longer a quiet, undemanding womb tenant. They’re moving around a lot, but the movement is random and irregular.
- What does a 22-week-old fetus look like? They’ve got wrinkly skin covered with fine hairs, slender bodies, a well-defined face, and constantly moving arms and legs.
- It’s a good time to take calcium and magnesium supplements. Your baby requires these minerals now more than ever to grow strong teeth and bones.
- Additional fat layers are building, but your little one still looks thin.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises foetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy
Despite being dubbed “the honeymoon pregnancy phase”, the second trimester has downsides.
These are the symptoms and changes you might experience while twenty-two weeks pregnant.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Belly Button Changes
Pregnancy changes your body in many ways, including, strangely, the appearance of your belly button. Commonly called an “outie”, your belly button might start to look different by week 22.
It protrudes outwards as the uterus forces your abdomen forward.
As you adjust to this change, you may feel uncomfortable or pain because ligaments attached to the belly button are pulled out of place.
2. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are another pregnancy by-product. Some mothers-to-be develop varicose veins during the second trimester or later on. These veins, which look like lumpy ropes beneath the skin, are primarily caused by poor blood flow to the heart.
Varicose veins can appear on different parts of your body, including the ankles, legs, and genitals. You may also develop haemorrhoids, which are varicose veins emerging on your rectum.
If you suspect you have varicose veins, watch out for these symptoms.
- Swelling ankles
- Aching feet
- Throbbing legs and cramps
- Heaviness in the affected area
- Bloody stool for haemorrhoids
3. Racing Heart
Your heart has to work harder than usual during pregnancy, pumping out significantly more blood to meet the growing demands of both you and your baby. As a result, your heart rate naturally increases to ensure that you and your baby receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients carried in your blood. While this higher heart rate might initially raise concerns, it’s necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
4. Why Do I Feel So Hot?
Are you sweating more and feeling hotter? Additional blood being pumped around your body makes you warmer, with the veins that transport this extra blood widening and bringing the blood closer to the skin’s surface.
Keep reading for tips to cool down.
5. Abdominal Pain
Abdominal discomfort is common during pregnancy. Although sore or highly uncomfortable, the pain is short-lasting and not often serious.
Various factors cause abdominal pain, including an expanding uterus, hormones, Braxton Hicks contractions and digestive issues like constipation or trapped gas.
6. Back Pain
Is your back killing you? Your enlarging uterus is shifting your centre of gravity forward, straining the muscles and ligaments in your lower back. Additionally, the extra weight you’re carrying impacts your back and spine. Furthermore, relaxin, the hormone that softens and relaxes ligaments for childbirth, can affect your back.
7. Feel Good Symptoms
Embrace the positives of pregnancy – gorgeous hair, glowing skin, strong nails and a (potentially) healthy sexual appetite. Enjoy them while they last!
Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
From maternity shoots to childcare tours and important conversations with your boss and kids, here are our top tips for the week! And while preparing for the future, don’t neglect your well-being.
1. Relief From Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are harmless but might hurt, itch, and feel uncomfortable. What provides relief?
- Take breaks: If you’re always on your feet, take breaks. If your day involves sitting, remember to get up and stretch your legs often.
- Put your feet up: elevate your feet while sitting. This promotes blood flow from the legs to the heart and prevents blood from pooling in the lower legs. Experts recommend raising your legs above your heart for maximum benefit.
- Wear pantyhose: Special pantyhose for varicose veins compresses the leg muscles and squeezes veins, thus increasing blood flow to the heart.
2. You’ve Told Your Kids, Now What?
Whatever their age, it can be challenging for older children to adjust to having a new baby around.
They might not fully grasp what’s about to happen or feel jealous or insecure about their new sibling.
So how can you prepare them for their new role as big brother or sister?
- Read together, introducing stories about new babies at bedtime. Even if they don’t understand everything – they’ll become familiar with words like “baby”, “sister”, “brother”, and other related terms.
- Timing is key. Find the right time to tell your children, even if others already know the big news. For example, your big baby getting curious about your burgeoning belly might present the ideal opportunity.
- Be honest and use simple-to-understand language. Explain that babies cry and demand attention. Assure you love them as much as the new baby, even if you can’t always be there.
- As you prepare for the new baby, involve your children and make them feel valued and included. Bring them along baby-shopping with you, show them their old baby pictures, or even get them their own doll to care for.
Keen to learn more? We wrote about how to prepare your children for a new sibling.
3. Plan a Maternity Shoot
A maternity shoot is fun and creative and might help you address potential body image issues you’re struggling with.
Beyond that, it also provides the unique opportunity to bond with your family as you create and capture beautiful memories.
4. Get Your Child Moving
By week 22, your baby’s senses are developing. They might even respond to light as you move a flashlight across your belly. This activity won’t harm your baby and might elicit a fetal kick.
5. Belly Boundaries
A pregnant belly is a point of obsession for many people. Friends and strangers might want to touch your bump, and not everyone will bother to ask for your permission.
Some people might not mind that loved ones and people who don’t know to get excited about your developing pregnancy. You might even enjoy the attention.
But your belly isn’t public property. If you aren’t comfortable with the belly-touchers, set boundaries about what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
6. Childcare Tours
Dropping off your child at childcare might seem far off, but time flies – before you know it, your fresh newborn will be six months old.
Book tours of child creches and nurseries while your child is in utero to ease the transition of returning to work. You’ll have one less thing to stress about once your maternity period ends.
7. Negotiating Maternity Leave
If you’re a working parent, you’ll need time off work to bond with your baby and recover after birth. But how much can you ask for and will you get paid? The duration of your mat leave, and pay may vary.
Before meeting with your boss to discuss your leave, figure out how much time you’d like to take and familiarise yourself with the company’s policies on maternity leave.
If you’re overwhelmed, read our article on how to navigate your maternity leave.
8. Recognising Braxton Hicks’s Contractions
We covered Braxton Hicks’s contractions and why they occur in our week 21 article.
So when is a contraction real or false? Here’s what to look for.
- Braxton Hicks contractions are mild and irregular, while real contractions grow stronger and closer together.
- Braxton Hicks contractions ease by walking or changing positions, while this won’t work during a real contraction.
- Braxton Hicks doesn’t include other labour symptoms, unlike real contractions where your waters might break, for instance.
9. Keeping Cool
Cold water provides relief in multiple ways, whether you’re drinking it, swimming it, or simply cooling off. During pregnancy, you can enjoy cool showers or baths, cold beverages or a dip in the pool.
With that said, is it OK to crank up the air conditioner on a sweltering-hot day, with old wives’ tales cautioning pregnant women against exposing themselves to extreme temperatures, either hot or cold?
Realistically, cool air is precisely what sweaty mothers need inside an office or at home in summer. But take note to keep the aircon comfortably cool for short periods rather than freezing for a long time. You’re more vulnerable to getting sick otherwise.
10. Magnesium and Calcium
Your baby’s demands for magnesium and calcium are higher this trimester, so you’ll need to consume larger amounts of both essential minerals.
If you follow a healthy, varied diet, achieving your daily recommended intake of these minerals should be easy as they’re found in many common food sources.
For instance, leafy, dark vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts are rich in magnesium. Dairy products, broccoli and blackstrap molasses are high in calcium.
Take supplements if you struggle to obtain magnesium and calcium through food.
Do I Need an Ultrasound for Week Twenty Two of Pregnancy?
You might have had your second ultrasound if you’re 22 weeks pregnant, and the genetic screenings you may have been advised to take are all wrapped up now.
When is your next baby scan? You don’t have a long wait – the next (and potentially final) ultrasound is scheduled in the third trimester, as early as week 28 of pregnancy.
FAQ Section: Week Twenty Two Of Pregnancy
Your burning questions about week 22 of pregnancy answered.
1. How Big Is My Baby?
Your baby measures 27-ish centimetres from head to heal.
2. How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
A twenty-two-week-old fetus weighs approximately 450 grams.
3. Will I Feel My Baby Yet?
Yes, your baby’s on the move! You might feel soft nudges and kicks in your belly. If your baby’s fashionably late, you might feel the first fetal movements only now.
4. What Is My Baby Doing in the Womb This Week?
Honing their five senses. They hear external sounds, react to touch, respond to light, and taste the different flavours in the amniotic fluids.
5. What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
Your baby’s body needs large quantities of calcium and magnesium to build strong teeth and bones over the second trimester. Make sure your diet’s full of these minerals.
6. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Symptoms and Body Changes at Week Twenty Two?
Your belly buttons changing shape and sticking out – it might look strange to you, but don’t worry, it will revert back to its original form later.
You might feel extra hot and flushed, experience a racing heart and develop varicose veins if you’re experiencing poor blood flow.
7. What Are Some Good Week 22 Pregnancy Tips and Tricks?
Get special pantyhose for varicose veins, plan a maternity shoot, chat about maternity leave with your boss, and recognise the signs of Braxton Hicks contraction (it might save you a panicked trip to the hospital).
Fun Facts for Pregnancy Week Twenty Two
- Is your pet cat or dog being extra affectionate toward you during your pregnancy? While they obviously don’t understand a furless sibling is joining the clan, they sense that major changes are coming.
- Did you know that the shortest gestation in mammals is 12 days? Female Virginia opossums give birth just days after conception. Litters, however, stay inside their mother’s pouch, firmly attached to her for eight weeks. On the other hand, Indian elephants hold the record for the longest gestation period of mammals and are pregnant for 22 months!
Week Twenty-Two Pregnancy Checklist
- Celebrate your new body with a maternity shoot.
- Talk to your child about life with a new baby.
- Discuss maternity leave with your boss.
- Look for creches in your area.
- Keep cool if it’s summer by swimming, showering or using air con (it’s OK for short bursts).
- Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium and calcium.
- Stay put for our week 23 article!