Welcome to week 22! As you’re well into your second trimester, but not quite nearing your third, there’s a high chance that you’re feeling pretty good right now. (But if you’re not — since morning sickness can linger, and pregnancy constipation is a thing — that’s all normal, too.)
Let’s keep the excitement going and learn more about what expect in week 22 of your pregnancy.
22 weeks pregnant: What to expect
- Baby is starting to hear, grow eyebrows, and learn to grasp with their hands.
- You may be getting some relief from early pregnancy symptoms, but might have some backaches, hemorrhoids, or varicose veins.
- You may want to start looking into a doula and, even better, a potential “babymoon.”
- You’ll want to keep a lookout for any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms and report them to your doctor.
- You may be enjoying more energy!
Have you felt those first flutters of your baby’s movements yet? If so, that will likely improve your mood even more.
While your pregnancy discomforts may have settled down for now, your uterus continues to grow and stretch to fit your growing baby. It now stretches to about 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) above your belly button.
Friends and family are probably really noticing that baby bump now. You don’t always have to let folks touch your tummy. Feel free to ask them to keep their hands at bay if you want to.
And you may be noticing your feet getting bigger due to relaxin, the hormone that loosens the joints and ligaments in your pelvis to allow baby to make their grand exit. This hormone also relaxes other joints in your body making your foot joints looser (and now wider), too.
Your baby now weighs almost 1 pound (.45 kilogram) and is close to 7.5 inches in length. This is about the size of a papaya. Not only is your baby getting bigger, but they’ve undergone enough development to now resemble an infant.
Though your baby still has a lot of growing to do and will continue to put on more weight with each passing week, those ultrasound photos should start looking more like what you imagine a baby to look like.
Your baby’s eyes are also continuing to develop this week. The iris doesn’t yet contain any pigment, but all other visual parts are present, including eyelids and tiny eyebrows.
Baby may also be starting to learn to grasp with their hands and start to hear things you say and things your body is doing. They’ll start to know when you’re hungry with those tummy rumbles.
If babies didn’t already start this in week 21, they can now swallow, and they have a fine hair called lanugo covering most of their bodies. Lanugo helps hold the vernix caseosa on your babies’ skin. The vernix caseosa helps to protect your babies’ skin while in the womb.
Symptoms in a twin pregnancy are similar to a singleton in this week. Your babies may be measuring a bit smaller, though.
This week might be a good time to start researching double strollers.
Here’s hoping that this is an easy week for pregnancy symptoms. Many people feel good in the middle of the second trimester, but there are still some bothersome things that can appear.
Symptoms you might experience during week 22 include:
- varicose veins
- abdominal pain
- pelvic pressure
- changes in vaginal discharge
The increased blood flow during pregnancy can contribute to varicose veins. These typically appear on your legs, but they can also appear on other body parts, such as the arms and torso.
To help combat them, keep your feet up whenever you can. The elevation can help, and so can support stockings or socks.
Hemorrhoids, painful, swollen veins around your bottom, are another common complaint during pregnancy. Extra pressure on your anus from your growing uterus can contribute to hemorrhoid formation. Pregnancy hormones and straining can also lead to hemorrhoids.
Drinking lots of liquids and eating foods high in fiber can help prevent hemorrhoids. Aim for at least 8 to 10 glasses of water and 20 to 25 grams of dietary fiber a day. Exercise can also help.
Unless your doctor has limited your activities, try to fit in 30 minutes of exercise daily. Not only can exercise help you avoid hemorrhoids, but it can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Avoid constipation. Eat high fiber foods and go when the urge first comes upon you. Delaying defecation can head to harder and more painful hemorrhoids.
If you do develop hemorrhoids, they typically resolve on their own. To help manage the pain associated with hemorrhoids, try soaking in a warm bath several times a day and avoid sitting for long periods of time. You can also speak with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or medicated wipes.
If you develop hard and swollen external hemorrhoids that continue to bleed, you may have thrombosed hemorrhoids. If that’s the case, see your doctor as you may need to have a minor surgical procedure to get rid of them.
Research childbirth classes
If this is your first pregnancy, a childbirth class could give you some much-needed education (and peace of mind!) about what to expect during your delivery and beyond.
What does labor feel like? How long does it typically last? And will I be able to handle the pain? What do I do with my baby once I bring it home? All of these topics and more will be addressed at a childbirth class.
These classes don’t just benefit moms-to-be, either. If you have a partner, bring them along, and they’ll not only learn the basics of what you’ll be going through, but they may learn some relaxation techniques to help keep you confident and strong during labor and the early days of being a new parent.
Classes can fill up quickly, so you may want to schedule them now. Many hospitals offer generalized childbirth classes as well as more specialized ones, such as those related to infant CPR, breastfeeding basics, or even particular labor philosophies, such as the more natural Bradley method.
Hospitals may also offer a tour of their maternity or baby unit as part of their childbirth classes, which could help you feel more comfortable about your upcoming stay.
If you’re looking for classes outside of your local hospital, Lamaze International or The International Childbirth Education Association may be of some help. No matter where you look, schedule any classes before your 35th week to make sure you allow yourself time for early labor, should it happen.
A doula is professionally trained assist during childbirth and, sometimes, after childbirth. Doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support to a pregnant and birthing person.
If you decide to work with a doula, they typically won’t begin assisting you until a few months before your baby is due. If you’re interested in a postpartum doula, a doula that offers assistance after the baby has arrived, the doula won’t begin assisting you until after you’ve brought your baby home.
Because doulas offer support, finding one who is the right fit is extremely important. A labor doula will be with you during labor, and a postpartum doula will be with you during a time when you’re sleep deprived and adjusting to a lot of changes.
Not only do you want to have enough time to interview doulas, but you also want to make sure that the doula you want is available when you need them. Making arrangements early can help ensure that you’re able to hire your first choice.
If you’re interested in working with a doula, speak with your healthcare provider. They may be able to provide you with a list of recommended doulas or other resources to help you find one. Referrals from friends are another great way to find a doula.
Plan a babymoon (pre-baby trip) with your partner
You’re probably feeling great and your bump is adorable, but not yet making it difficult to get around. However, your fatigue will likely return in the third trimester, and your bump will soon become big enough that just the thought of getting around may make you feel exhausted.
Before your belly makes it difficult to do everyday tasks (like putting on your socks) and all you want to do is take a nap, you may want to plan a short trip, or babymoon, with your partner.
Relaxing with your partner before your lives change to make room for a new family member can be a great way to reinforce the bond you share.
If this isn’t your first child, consider a family trip to reinforce that a new baby won’t change the relationships that you or your partner have with your other child or children.
If you’ll be flying, commercial air travel is generally considered safe if you have a healthy pregnancy. You should still check with your doctor before getting on a plane. Some airlines also have policies around air travel while pregnant. Check with the airline as well.
While aboard a plane, stay hydrated and move around to promote circulation. You may want to consider an aisle seat to make it easier to get up as needed.
Call your doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage, fever, severe abdominal or headache pain, or blurred vision.
If you’re starting to feel what could be labor pains and you’re unsure whether they could be Braxton-Hicks contractions or the real thing, call your doctor for an expert opinion.