Your baby’s grip, vision and hearing are all getting stronger now.
By week 22 of pregnancy, your little one has also achieved a big milestone: breaking the 1-pound mark!
Meanwhile, you may be noticing more changes, including a protruding navel and possibly even slightly bigger feet — the result of all those hormones and pregnancy swelling (called edema).
Your Baby at Week 22
At a Glance
22 weeks pregnant is how many months?
If you're 22 weeks pregnant, you're in month 5 of your pregnancy. Only 4 months left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
How big is my baby at 22 weeks?
Guess what? Now that you're 22 weeks pregnant, your baby, who’s about the size of a small doll, has finally broken the 1-pound mark.
How heavy is that? Hold a 1-pound bag of sugar in your arms the next time you're in the grocery store — and expect people to ask you why you're grinning from ear to ear.
Is the bag 11 inches long? That's about the length your baby is too!
Baby's grip, vision and hearing are getting stronger
This week, your sweetie is making more sense of the world as she develops her sense of touch.
In fact, your little one's grip is quite strong now, and since there's nothing else to grab in utero, she may sometimes hold on tight to that umbilical cord. Don't worry — it's tough enough to handle it.
The sense of sight is also becoming more fine-tuned. Your fetus can now perceive light and dark much better than before, even with those fused eyelids.
But remember — unless you're shining a flashlight over your belly, which you can do, by the way — it'll be mostly dark for your baby inside that cozy womb of yours.
She can also hear your voice, your heartbeat, your gurgling stomach and the whoosh-whoosh of blood circulating through your body.
Your Body at Week 22
At 22 weeks pregnant, your uterus is now about an inch above your belly button — growing by leaps and bounds. But your tummy's not the only thing that's growing these days. Have you looked down at your feet? Quick, look now — before you can't see them anymore.
If you're like many expectant women, you'll discover that feet get bigger too. Good news if you're looking to revamp your entire shoe collection, not so good if you've just indulged in a pricey pair of Manolos.
While some foot growth can be attributed to pregnancy swelling (edema), there's another reason that feet increase in size during pregnancy — and sometimes don't shrink back afterward. Remember relaxin — that pregnancy hormone that loosens the ligaments and joints around your pelvis so your baby can fit through (and the hormone that's also likely to make you especially clumsy during pregnancy)? Well, it doesn't discriminate between the ligaments you'd want loosened up, like those pelvic ones, and those you'd rather it would just leave alone, like the ones in your feet.
The result: When the ligaments in the feet are loosened, the bones under them tend to spread slightly, resulting in a half or whole shoe size increase for many women and tootsies that feel suddenly uncomfortably tight.
If you do find yourself running to the mall for a new pair of shoes, buy ones that are comfortable and roomy, with no more than a sensible, chunky 2-inch heel. Skip the stilettos — you'll have trouble enough keeping your balance as your belly balloons forward.
Coping with tummy touchers
By now, you may have encountered at least a couple of well-wishing tummy touchers who can't seem to resist reaching out and patting your belly. It could be anyone — a friend, coworker or a perfect stranger on the deli line.
It's understandable, since pregnant tummies are adorable and house something even cuter inside. And you may not mind — if you're a touchy-feely person yourself, you may even welcome the public display of affection for your baby bump.
But if you do mind, there are a few approaches you can take. One, you can gently but firmly tell them how you feel: "I know you may mean well, but I really would rather you didn't touch my stomach." Two, you can back off — literally — and dodge their attempts to touch your bump. And three, you can turn the tables by teasingly giving them a belly rub in return. Remember, you're sharing your body on the inside — you don't need to share it on the outside too.
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 22
Tips for You This Week
Is your uterus practicing for delivery? If you feel irregular, painless, squeezing sensations in your abdomen, it is. Those are Braxton Hicks contractions and they’re not dangerous. They're a bit like a dress rehearsal: Your uterine muscles are flexing in preparation for the big job they'll have to do in the near future.
Keep in mind that while they can be hard to distinguish from the real thing, they're not efficient enough to push your baby out — only actual labor contractions can do that.
At risk for preterm labor? Your doctor may do a fetal fibronectin (fFN) test. FFN is a protein produced during pregnancy; it acts as a kind of "glue" that holds the baby in your uterus.
If the results are negative, you're not at risk, but if they're positive, your odds of going into labor early are higher. In that case, your practitioner may take steps to prolong your pregnancy and prepare your baby's lungs for a preterm delivery.
In addition to strengthening baby’s bones and teeth, magnesium — a mineral that's found in pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds and cashews — works to stimulate enzyme function, regulate insulin and control blood sugar levels.
Talk to your doctor to be sure you're getting enough magnesium from your diet and prenatal vitamin. If you're low, you may feel fatigued and lack muscle strength (as if you needed any more of that these days), or have leg cramps or restless legs.
Scientific research shows that you're not the only one who benefits from a sweat session. Those who work out during their pregnancy have babies who, on average, score higher on general intelligence tests by age 4. Not only will your workout boost your muscle power, but it'll also boost your baby's brain power!
Who needs to be loyal to one brand? Store brands and no-frills products may not seduce you with pretty packaging, but they're likely to have inner beauty to match their attractive price tags. Check the labels and you'll see they generally boast as much nutrition as the bigger brands.
And here's a little-known secret: In many instances, the store brand is actually a name brand with a store label, so you may be buying the exact same bread you've known and loved — but for a lot less dough.
Thinking of stopping by your dermatologist's office for a fill or a refill of collagen, like Restylane or Perlane? Here's a wrinkle in that plan. The safety of Botox and injectable line fillers during pregnancy hasn't been established through studies yet — which means you're better off holding off for now.
Now's a great time to learn some soothing relaxation techniques — not just because they can help you cope with pregnancy worries (and later, with labor contractions), but because they'll come in handy in your life as a new mom — as when the baby's on a crying marathon.
Yoga's a fabulous de-stresser, but here's a technique you can use just about anywhere, anytime, to soothe your soul: Sit with your eyes closed and imagine a beautiful, peaceful scene, like a sunset over your favorite beach or a serene mountain vista. Then, working your way up from your toes to your face, concentrate on relaxing every muscle.
Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose and choose a simple word (such as "yes" or "one") to repeat aloud every time you exhale. Ten minutes should do the trick, though even a minute or two is better than nothing.
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