It’s hard to believe that the 22nd week of your pregnancy is already here. You and your baby have reached some incredible milestones over the last several weeks, and this week, your baby continues to mature as you prepare for more changes that come in week 22.
Your Baby this Week
Your baby is now around the size of a papaya measuring between 26cm and 30cm (10.5 to 12 inches) and weighing between 360 and 600 grammes (12 to 21oz).
Your baby’s features are now so defined that he looks almost exactly like a full term newborn baby. Your baby has fully developed little lips that you will soon be able to kiss goodnight. He has working eyelids that will eventually let you know when he is sleeping.
His little ears that you will one day whisper into are now developed, as is his little nose, which you will soon be pinching. Your baby even has tiny eyebrows that before you know it will be raised in curiosity at the world around him!
If you could see your baby right now, you would see that his skin is quite wrinkled at this point. Don’t worry though: as he gains weight, fat will fill in the wrinkles. His eyes are almost complete now with the exception of the iris. It still needs to be coloured. Pigment will soon be present and the iris will darken.
Your baby’s internal organs continue to develop and practice their essential functions. The heart pumps blood through the circulatory system, the kidneys produce urine, and the digestive track swallows and digests the amniotic fluid. The lungs are among the last of the major organs to fully develop. At this stage in your pregnancy, the folds of the lungs are beginning to separate. Imagine a rose bud opening.
The lungs will not be fully mature until very close to the end of your pregnancy.
Your Body this Week
At 22 weeks of pregnancy, you are showing quite a bit now -that always makes people want to touch your belly! It’s fascinating to feel a baby move and people cannot help themselves. This may be perfectly fine for your family members or close friends, but many times it can make you uncomfortable if it is anyone else. Remember that it is alright to tell someone not to touch your tummy if you don’t want them to.
This is also a time when many women find that they get to hear other people’s opinions whether they want to hear them or not. “You need to gain more weight.” … “You are gaining too much weight.” …“You should eat better.” … “When I was pregnant…” This unwanted advice can weigh on you (pardon the pun!). Most people are just trying to be helpful, so try to take these comments in stride. Your doctor is the one person that you should listen to and take advice from.
As your weight increases you may notice that you are now getting some stretch marks around your abdomen, buttocks, thighs, or breasts. Most women will have some degree of stretch marks. The amount you have depends on more than your weight. As with skin discolourations during pregnancy, genetics plays a large role.
There are several topical solutions on the market that claim to help prevent stretch marks, but there is no scientific proof that these remedies work. However, it is recommended that you keep your skin moisturised to alleviate the itching that comes with stretching skin.
Your second trimester ultrasound should be coming soon. It’s a painless procedure that will help the doctor determine many things about you and your baby. For instance, your doctor will be able to measure the placenta to determine if it is healthy and providing the right amount of nutrients to your baby. Another important result from your second ultrasound is that it will confirm your due date.
A fun part of this ultrasound is that you may even be able to see your baby sucking his or her thumb! If you are lucky, you may be able to have a three or four dimensional ultrasound, which produces very detailed images. Some say they can even see their baby’s eyelashes during this high-tech test.
You may find that your fingers become larger as your pregnancy progresses. It’s either caused by water retention or just gaining weight. Either way, if you wear rings you’ll need to keep an eye on them. If they feel tight, it’s best to remove them now instead of waiting until it hurts to take them off, or worse yet, you have to have them cut off.
If you cannot stand the thought of not wearing your wedding band, consider wearing it on a chain around your neck - where it will be even closer to your heart!