At 22 weeks, you're officially five months pregnant at the end of this week. If you're wondering about the weeks adding up, remember that you did not technically conceive yet during the first week or two. No matter, though, what's more important is that you're taking care of yourself and your pregnancy. Just four months to go and you'll finally have your baby in your arms.
Pregnancy signs Week 22
Make sure you protect yourself from catching any illness. Your body is continuously working overtime and it's getting crowded in your womb now since you're baby is growing fast. Your little one's movements have become more pronounced, and his "kicking" may hurt from time to time. You may even see your baby move as your bump is so much visible now.
Your belly button may already be showing signs of being an "outtie," and you may already have a dark vertical line called linea negra on your abdomen. You may also notice skin darkening in your areola, underarm, and neck or dark patches on your face. The darkening and discolorations on your skin while pregnant should go away soon enough after giving birth.
There will be a noticeable weight gain, which is good. If you're not gaining weight, your baby may not be receiving enough nutrients. But it's important to stay within a pound per week more or less moving forward. Depending on your body mass index pre-pregnancy, you should only add about 300 calories daily.
Make sure to eat healthy (not for two!) and make the calories count to prevent complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Doing 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact pregnancy exercises also helps to manage your weight. It's perfectly safe to exercise while pregnant unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
At 22 weeks into your pregnancy, it pretty much feels like your baby is taking over your body. Most of the pregnancy symptoms, such as dizziness, constipation, bloatedness or gas, heartburn or indigestion, and shortness of breath are because of your growing baby.
Your shoe size may increase, expanding a half or even a full shoe size in your second trimester. Don't attempt to squeeze your feet into your old shoes if they clearly don't fit or they're not as comfortable as they were before. Use it as an excuse for some shoe shopping! Flats or low-heeled-shoes are advisable but many preggos have had no problems wearing high heels (just be careful not to trip).
Your body's increasing levels of the hormone relaxin, which loosens your joints and spreads your bones slightly in preparation for childbirth, is another reason your feet is getting bigger. It's also the reason behind backaches and some aches and pains you may feel on your hip, lower abdomen, pelvic area. These aches and pains should be manageable, but call your doctor if you think they're getting intense.
Unwanted hair growth
One of the nice things being pregnant is having that pregnancy glow, stronger nails, and thick, shiny tresses. But it can be too much hair growth like in unwanted areas of your body. You can pluck, shave or wax this unwanted hair with your doctor's clearance. Steer clear of bleaches and depilatories that may contain unsafe chemicals for pregnant women.
Your bump is growing, and your skin will stretch to accommodate your baby's growth. Lathering up your midsection with moisturizers will help prevent dryness and itchiness and keep stretch marks at bay. Apply moisturizers around your breasts, arms, and thighs, too! If you do get stretch marks, while they are permanent, they will fade or lighten over time.
Increased sex drive
Some preggos experience another surge in their sex drive while pregnant and may enjoy pregnant sex more, thanks to more sensitive pleasure areas, deeper cleavage, and more curves. You may need to tweak sexual positions since you have a more significant baby bump. Sex while pregnant is not prohibited but check with your doctor first to make sure it's okay. If you have a history of early labor or miscarriage, we highly encourage you to talk to your doctor.
Aside from the hormone relaxin, carrying more extra weight on your belly shifts your body's center of gravity and affects your posture and the way you walk. Apart from making sure you correct your posture, pregnancy exercises and stretching can also help relieve backaches. Using pillows also helps, especially when you have trouble sleeping on your left side, which is most recommended by doctors.
Getting woken up in the middle of the night by painful cramps on the calves had been linked to diet, weight gain, and muscle fatigue. Prenatal yoga and doing calf stretches, such as stretching your legs and then gently flexing your ankle and toes back towards your knees, before bedtime can help ease or prevent leg cramps.
At 22 weeks, your baby is the size of coconut or small papaya, measuring nearly 11 inches long and weighing about a pound now! Your baby is looking more like a newborn, with distinct lips, eyelids and eyebrows, and even tiny tooth buds.
Your little one's eyes can now see the light and dark much better even with his eyelids still shut. Your little one will be snoozing in your womb for a total of 12 to 14 hours daily. Take note of his waking and sleeping hours, so you don't get unnecessarily worried when you start counting kicks.
Your baby's sense of hearing will be a little sharper now, so make sure you're in a positive and calm environment. He can hear your heartbeat, the rumblings of your stomach, the gushes of blood, and your voice, all day and night. Your little one may start feeling his face to fine-tune his sense of touch and even start grasping his umbilical cord. Now, don't worry, he's not going to be strong enough to cut his oxygen and nutrient supply just by practicing his grip.
Your baby's skin is not as translucent as it was. But it's covered with vernix caseosa, which prevents your baby's skin from getting wrinkled all over despite being submerged in amniotic fluid, and lanugo (fine, soft hair), which keeps him warm. His lungs will begin making a protein called surfactant, which will help your baby breathe independently as soon as he's born.
At Week 22 of your pregnancy, you're well into managing your symptoms and preparing for childbirth. Don't miss your required tests and scans and prenatal checkups, which will be more frequent now that you're more than halfway into your pregnancy!
Set up some boundaries for your tummy
Since your baby bump is already showing enough for people to just assume you're pregnant, and from time to time, people may start just reaching and rubbing for your tummy without your permission. For some preggos, that's perfectly okay. If you're bothered or uncomfortable with unwanted bump touches and comments, just calmly inform them that you'd rather not have them touch your bump without your permission.
Plan for a maternity photo shoot!
Create a shortlist of your preferred maternity photographers and photo shoot themes. Plot the date for your maternity shoot once you've entered your third trimester. You might want to have your gender reveal and baby shower at one go, along with your maternity shoot. If you're nesting, make a list to help you figure out which baby stuff you can buy now or include in the baby registry.
Sign up for birth and newborn classes
Ideally, you should have completed a birth and newborn care class before your 37th week of pregnancy, though you don't want to be cutting it to close. If you're already feeling some Braxton Hicks contractions, it might be best to learn the difference between the two just in case you go into preterm labor. Going into birth and baby care classes can also help boost your and your partner's confidence about being parents soon.
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Enjoy your pregnancy!
It might be getting harder and harder to manage your pregnancy symptoms and discomforts. Don't be so stressed physically but also emotionally and mentally as well. Ease up on worrying about giving birth or being a mom. Flaunt your new curves, get a prenatal massage, and be proud of nurturing a life inside you. Don't be afraid to open up to your doctor if you're feeling sad or helpless.