Week 22 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

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Update Date 08/05/2020 . 4 mins read
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Baby Development

You are more than halfway through the second trimester at week 22 of pregnancy baby development. And life gets even more fun and challenging here on out! 

There are some things you may need to adjust to like in previous weeks. Your skin may feel a little itchier; you may experience heartburn; and you may start feeling random kicks from your baby at odd hours. 

Week 22 of pregnancy baby development is truly a fulfilling time, full of significant changes for baby and mother. 

How is my baby growing?

The average size of the baby at week 22 of pregnancy baby development is around 11 to 12 inches, right about the size of a full grown squash or a red bell pepper. The baby will continue to practice sucking and grasping, and will grasp for the umbilical cord. 

According to perinatologist Mark A. Curran, babies born at week 22 of pregnancy baby development have a 9% chance of survival. At this stage, the lungs are not yet fully developed. Lungs will mature around week 34 to 35. 

Your baby is swimming and snug inside the fully formed placenta at 22 weeks of gestational age. The neural brain parts like hippocampic fissures and callosal sulcus will already be there according to the University of New South Wales embryology timeline. The spleen and cerebrum also take center stage in baby’s development at this point in time. These are all critical to the baby’s overall brain development and protection as well as the central nervous system. The sleep cycle of your baby is also beginning to develop this week in his or her development and can respond more sensitively to light and dark. 

By this time, you can also know the gender of your baby if you want to during an ultrasound. All this with the baby’s stronger grip and better eyesight is getting the baby closer and closer to full human maturity. 

The most exciting part is that your baby can already hear you clearly at this stage. From the food you are digesting to the words you say to the world around you, this is already beginning to make an impression on your little bub’s life. 

Body and Life Changes

You will feel yourself gaining weight more rapidly than previous weeks. You may also be surprised to find that your foot has grown at least one size higher than your usual. The hormone relaxin relaxes your joints and is primarily responsible for this. This same hormone also allows your baby to fit inside your body by loosening up your joints and ligaments especially around the pelvic region. This can also lead to some leg cramping symptoms. . 

At this point, aside from the itchy skin and the heartburn, you may also see some indication of stretch marks if you are prone to having them. These stretch marks will look red at first before adopting a gray color. Your breasts and thighs are the first target areas of these stretch marks. It may be wise to have body butter or some moisturizer that’s designed for pregnancy stretch marks. This will help minimize the onset of stretch marks after you give birth. 

You will also notice that there may be some false or Braxton Hicks contractions on top of your baby’s usual movements. Aside from this, you may also find yourself leaking a little milk from your nipples and all of this is normal. Having a leakage of milk is a good sign that your supply is starting to build up. 

Doctor’s Visits

Medically, this is the perfect time to check if the baby is growing properly. For women whose pregnancies need closer monitoring, symptoms of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are ruled out somewhere around this time. A full congenital anomaly scan of the baby is a type of ultrasound that checks the organs and its relative sizes with respect to each other. It will likely be asked by your doctor if it has not been requested at 18-21 weeks of gestation. This will ensure that the baby’s organs are complete and that development is on track. 

Health and Safety

Most antenatal or childbirth classes start at around this time or near the 6 month mark. You can inquire about these childbirth classes and start planning your ideal birth scenario. Preparing a birth plan and discussing it with your doctor at this stage is also prudent so you can think of the nuts and bolts of your pregnancy (ex. Will you be using a bathtub during labor for water birth? Will you need a doula with you during labor? What is your preference: natural birth or anesthesia? Will you have natural methods like Lamaze or hypnobirthing at play? Will you be taking home your placenta from the hospital for any reason? These and many other questions will be answered by your birth plan.), although preparing a hospital bag may be too early at this stage. 

Like at any other time of the second and third trimester, keep monitoring for fetal movement closely at this stage. The ideal movement is around 10 kicks every 1-2 hours. Some apps allow you to monitor these kicks and see if there’s something wrong or amiss with your baby on some days. Don’t miss your prenatal vitamins and take it easy; baby’s development and your adjustment is more than halfway through the big day. 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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