Howdy, mommy? You are now 22 weeks pregnant. What’s kickin’? Besides your baby, of course, who is getting more and more active at this point. Sadly for him or her, the space in your belly is getting tighter and tighter by the week.
The fetus development at week 22
Let’s get down to business. The fruit of the week is a large grapefruit. A 22-week fetus is about this weight now, almost a pound (450 grams). From crown to heel a 22 weeks fetus is 11 inches (28 cm). As you can surely notice, your baby is getting bigger by the week. But this is a great thing. Your baby needs to grow big and strong in order to come into this world. The placenta is very helpful too, as it is bigger now. It needs to provide the perfect environment and nourishment for your baby to get all he/she needs while in the uterus.
As you know from my previous posts, there are little things still developing at this stage. All the important organs are already developed, but from time to time something new emerges. For example, a fetus at 22 weeks is starting to develop tooth buds in his/her gums. They need to be ready for when the teeth will come out, a few months after birth. But don’t worry, you will know when. All the drooling and the crying will let you know.
Also, even if the eyes are fully formed, the lack of pigment in your baby’s iris will make his or her eyes without color. I imagine that it would look very disturbing, eyes without color, but lucky for all of us, we cannot see them. Fun fact: your baby will be born with certain eye color, but it is very likely for the color to change in the first few months of life.
Being in the rapid growth stage, the baby’s organs continue to grow. This is made possible by the pancreas. The pancreas is producing all the essential hormones for your baby to get bigger. Another important aspect, since we are talking about growth, is the lungs. Why are the lungs so important? In case of premature labor (knock on wood!) the lungs must function at least fairly proper. I know this does not sound so great, but it is something you need to know. That is why, in some cases, when mothers enter premature labor, the doctors pump her up with steroids. Steroids usually increase the speed of lung development. This way the baby gets a bigger shot at life. The pancreas is doing its job, but in case of emergency, it needs a little push. Unfortunately, a baby born at 22 weeks has slim to none chances of survival, precisely because the lungs cannot function properly.
In another light, a 22-week old fetus is starting to have his or her own daily routine. You will notice sleeping and waking patterns. The downside is that it may not concur with yours. The baby may wake up when you are going to bed and be asleep in the morning when you usually wake up. If this happens… well, there is not much you can do, but I recommend you get some rest whenever you get the chance.
Have you, by any chance, had a 22 weeks pregnant ultrasound? Did you see how much your baby grew since you last seen him or her? I heard a funny thing the other day. A friend of mine is pregnant and she told me that she can make her baby move during an ultrasound. It is a known fact that babies can be startled by loud sounds or sudden movements. What she did was to turn the volume on her phone to maximum, put the speaker close to her belly and play Bon Jovi – It’s my life. The baby woke up almost instantly. I wonder if this will be his of her favorite song. You can try it yourself. You can change the song, but make sure that it is a jumpy one. It is worth a shot. I suppose nothing would make you happier than seeing your baby moving.
Being 22 week pregnant
As for you, you have certainly lost your waistline. Your uterus should be about 1 inch (3 cm) above your belly button. A 22 weeks pregnant belly is fairly visible. Everyone can tell that you are pregnant now, so there is no point in trying to conceal your condition. But you should still be comfortable, your belly is not getting in the way, not yet at least. Now is the perfect time to enjoy your baby’s movements without heartburn or other discomfort created by the baby’s kicks and punches.
On the downside, at this point, you may suffer from a few annoying pregnancy symptoms. Pregnancy at 22 weeks comes with puffy ankles and swollen feet. You have gained some weight, which is perfectly normal, and your body is still adapting. So put your feet up whenever you get the chance and always wear comfy shoes. If it is winter it is recommended you purchase larger number of footwear. This way your feet will be more comfortable.
Also, some women experience difficulties if wearing contact lenses. It becomes rather uncomfortable. If this is the case with you and it bothers you more than you can endure, talk to your optician. He will know what to recommend.
Otherwise, remember to be as active as you can. Eat healthily and take care of yourself. You are getting closer and closer to the third trimester, so enjoy your pregnancy while it is still rather easy. I am not going to lie to you, it will get harder, but always remember why you are going through this and stay positive. You get a baby out of it!