Week 22 pregnant
Your baby is hearing a lot of muffled noises by now so get into the habit of talking, playing music and having your partner chat away through your tummy wall. This will pay off when baby is born and responds to your partner’s voice.
If you’re passing by a toy store this week, then go and check out the sizes of the dolls. Your baby is about the same size as a small doll and not so different in appearance.
At 22 weeks, your baby’s eyelids remain fused and closed but it can still detect the difference between light and dark. Closer to term, your baby will start opening their eyes so they’ve had lots of practice already when they are born. One of the reasons why your areolas are becoming darker than they usually are is to help your baby find the nipple in order to suck. Their darker contrast against the surrounding breast tissue is a marker for where to aim their mouth.
If you feel like doing a little shopping, think about getting a baby toy in black and white. Often, the so called “educational” toys are based on these colour schemes. By around 10 weeks of age your baby’s retinas will mature to the point where they are able to start discriminating between colours.
I’ve got nothing to wear – honestly!
Speaking of shopping, it may be time for a little wardrobe overhaul. If you can’t bring yourself to buy or wear maternity clothes, look for elastic waisted pants, skirts and shorts. The days of pregnant women wearing pussy-cat bow shirts have (thankfully) passed and you’ll probably find you don’t need to vary your clothing tastes too much at 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Some pregnant women love to show their belly off and don’t mind their top creeping up and their pants sitting under their little belly. There are no rules to adhere to. Do what feels comfortable for you and helps you feel good. Your baby will benefit from your sense of well-being and that can only be a great thing.
Your physical changes this week
From this week through to 26 weeks your womb will continue to grow up past your navel. You may be starting to feel a little breathless and not have as much lung capacity as you usually do. Nature has been generous though. Your whole ribcage will move upwards so it’s more out of the way and your bottom ribs will adjust sideways. Much like those stretchy pants you’re wearing.
Indigestion and heartburn – your old friends – are still hanging around. Progesterone (that all-important pregnancy hormone) which works on softening the ligaments in your pelvis, doesn’t know where to stop. It’s relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract as well, which makes the whole process of digestion less “tight” than it once was. Go easy on the curries and spicy foods, despite what your cravings are telling you. Otherwise you’ll pay for it later.
Keep constipation under control with lots of fibre, water to drink and roughage in your diet. Go easy on the white, processed varieties of bread and pasta, which won’t help your large bowel move its contents along. If you’re really uncomfortable, speak to your midwife, doctor or a pharmacist about safe options you can take to make it easier to move your bowels.
You may notice your feet and ankles getting swollen by the end of the day. You could be retaining more fluid than usual and it’s showing if you are standing up for long periods. Watch those shoes. Go for comfort rather than style and think about getting shoes that you can just slide onto your feet rather than bend over to do up. You’ll be very glad you did in just a few weeks time.
Your emotional changes this week
Mommy brain, pregnancy amnesia, porridge brain; call it what you like but it all means the same thing. This can be very frustrating and even end in tears some days. Don’t worry. Research tells us that when we try to do too much at once, i.e. multitask, the quality of what we’re trying to achieve will suffer. Try to focus on one thing at a time and then complete it before you move onto something else. Go easy on yourself; after all, you are growing a baby. Isn’t that enough?
It can take until the 22nd week of pregnancy for the true reality of pregnancy to hit home. You are going to have a baby. Doubt may come creeping into your mind and you may question your ability to mother a child, and how you could possibly handle all that which parenting involves! This can be a normal and even healthy response to such a significant event. Having a baby is a big deal and sometimes we need to ask ourselves the big questions in order to make sense of it.
If you are busy you may find yourself forgetting about your pregnancy through the day and only remembering in the evenings. This is normal and no, the baby won’t think it’s not wanted. As long as you are looking after yourself and not doing anything too risky, things generally work out just fine.
Thought about naming baby yet? This is a subject that can take up hours and hours of your time. You may be one of the lucky ones who’ve always known what you want to call your child, or your partner is very clear. Consider getting some baby name books, doing a web-search or looking through your family tree for inspiration. Listen for children’s names being called when you’re out. Be prepared to change your mind a million times; this is, after all, an important decision to get right.
Your baby’s changes this week
There is lots more development and fine-tuning those little muscles this week. Your baby may be spending some of its time sucking its thumb, holding onto its umbilical cord, hiccupping, or practicing its grasp reflex.
More fat is being laid down this week and your baby doesn’t look as translucent as it did a couple of weeks ago. Don’t fall for the old line of needing to eat extra food for the baby as well. The recommendation from experts is that during pregnancy, you only need to increase your normal intake by about 10%. So that means around an extra 1050 kilojoules/day during your second trimester. An extra piece of fruit, a handful of nuts or a healthy sandwich is enough to cover this extra requirement.
Your baby has fingernails, tiny as they are. If your baby is a girl, her womb and vagina will be in place and if your baby is a boy, his testes will be descending from his abdomen down to his scrotum. Many babies have enlarged genitals when they are born. This is a result of the pregnancy hormones causing them to swell. Over the first few weeks though, they do settle down to a more normal size.
Hints for the week
Plan a holiday. Now is the time to think about having a break before the baby is born and you are still comfortable enough to travel. Most airlines have restrictions on flying during pregnancy with a medical clearance required to fly past 36 weeks. If you are having a multiple pregnancy or have experienced complications, the “cut off” period can be as early as 32 weeks.
Avoid back strain by bending down to your toddler, rather than picking them up all the time. Encourage them to climb on your lap when you are sitting or when you are lying down. Lower back pain can be a fact of life during pregnancy and it pays to look after your spine. Take a good hard look at your mattress; if it is sagging and unsupportive it’s time to say goodbye. Remember, you are spending at least 1/3 of your day in bed – look for one which will support your spine in comfortable alignment.
Rediscover baths if you aren’t on water restrictions. Lying back in the water and looking at your tummy moving may well become one of your favourite things to do in the next few weeks. Rolling movements, quick jabs, poking sensations and a sharp almost electric sensation in your bladder are all signs that your baby is active.
Watch that pelvic floor! Remember to do your pelvic floor exercise and avoid repetitive, jarring exercises. Jogging and running are not ideal forms of exercise at this stage. Walking, swimming, stretching, Yoga or Pilates are better options.
See how pelvic floor exercises can benefit you during your pregnancy.
Week 23 coming next!