22nd – Twenty-second week of pregnancy

With the completion of the 22nd week of pregnancy, you are about to enter the sixth month of your pregnancy. Your baby is probably making himself aware of his existence by moving around a lot. At the same time you enjoy your pregnancy: in fact, the second trimester is generally considered the best gestation period.

If you are a foresighted person you can start – naturally after having informed yourself about what may be useful or necessary to you – right now to evaluate the various models and brands of cribs ,  strollers , car seats, and other items that the market offers .

It takes time to choose the best.

Baby development in the 22nd week of pregnancy

the development of the brain and nervous system

The previously smooth surface of the baby’s brain is now starting to become covered in furrows and folds.

This development continues until the  34th week , when the surface area of ​​your brain will be sufficient to house the necessary number of nerve cells .

In this phase, for the development of its nervous system, the formation of a fat under the skin layer is also of vital importance .

the development of sensory organs

The twenty-second week, in relation to the development of the baby’s sensory organs, can be considered a point of reference, a milestone.

His senses of touch, sight, hearing and taste are developing considerably.

The maturation of the nerve endings, together with the growth of the brain, allows for an improvement in touch .

Your baby has already started touching his face, and grasping the  umbilical cord with his little hands  (but not so hard as to cause damage) .

His vision also continues to develop and, through his sealed lids, he can now distinguish light from dark even better.

However , his irises are not colored yet.

the development of internal organs

The liver of the fetus begins to produce the enzymes necessary to break down the bilirubin (which is a pigment that is formed during the destruction of red blood cells) one of the main by-products of the lysis (lysis = demolition and dissolution of cells) of red blood cells .

In a fetus, bilirubin levels are higher because fetal red blood cells have a shorter life.

The bilirubin travels to the placenta and then passes into a woman’s bloodstream so that her liver has a chance to dispose of it  .

The pancreas – essential for the production of hormones – is another vital organ that develops significantly during this period .

the outward appearance

By this week, the baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes are well developed. His hair keeps popping out of his little head.

However, there is no pigmentation yet at this stage, so her eyebrows and hair are white.

At the twenty-second week, his eyes, nose, cheeks, and lips are quite distinct.

The previously transparent skin is now opaque due to the development of a layer of fat: it is reddish and wrinkled, and is still covered by the vernix  .

The roots of the teeth have also formed by now.

how big is the baby now

The baby is about the size of a papaya fruit, with a length of about 27 centimeters from head to ankles .

It weighs approximately 430 grams .

The changes in the woman’s body

Your bump is now big enough, though not yet big enough to even be uncomfortable: you feel pregnant, and the rest of the world knows you’re pregnant.

In this week, the uterus is positioned approximately 2 inches above the belly button  .

A woman’s weight gain tends to stabilize at the level of about 225 grams per week after the 20th week.

You shouldn’t be surprised if you experience an increase in the size of your feet: it’s quite common during pregnancy to go up a shoe size (“new” size which will then remain for life).

The hormone relaxin is partly responsible for what has been done : the joints and ligaments – which loosen up in this period – cause a slight expansion of the bones, and thus determine an increase in the size of the foot .

But this fact could also have other reasons: an edema (an accumulation of liquids in the interstitial spaces of the body) or a swelling .

During this week, you may even begin to hear fetal hiccups: a strange rhythmic movement, different from kicks and punches that could last even a few minutes.

The increased blood volume slows the blood flow through your veins, leading to a drop in your blood pressure, which sometimes leads to the occasional hot flash and dizziness .

The ultrasound at the twenty-second week

This is the last week to have a second level ultrasound (or ultrasound of fetal anomalies, which is usually done between 18 and 22 weeks).

So, if you haven’t already done so, talk to your doctor.

It is done using an ultrasound, and allows you to evaluate the health and development of the fetus .

During this week, your doctor may order an ultrasound, as multiple pregnancies are usually monitored more closely than single ones .

The symptoms of the twenty-second week

During the 22nd week you may experience the following symptoms:

  • fluid retention 
  • constipation;
  • bloating and flatulence;
  • acid reflux, indigestion and heartburn
  • leg cramps;
  • increased appetite;
  • shortness of breath;
  • stretch marks (especially around the belly, thighs, and breasts) 
  • mood swings and depression;
  • Braxton Hicks contractions;
  • pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • Pelvic Pain 
  • joint, hip and back pain
  • itchy skin, especially around the belly, back and breasts;
  • increased vaginal secretions .

When to call the doctor

It is advisable to consult the doctor in case of,

  • vaginal bleeding, including spotty bleeding, with or without symptoms such as abdominal cramps, back pain, nausea, and fatigue 
  • copious yellowish or clear watery secretions: they could indicate leakage of amniotic fluid;
  • intense itching, especially in the hands and feet: this itching could indicate a rare liver disease called cholestasis of pregnancy; 
  • constant headaches, associated with blurry vision, palpitations, shortness of breath, stomach pain and sudden swelling of the hands and feet – this could indicate high blood pressure or preeclampsia 
  • a burning sensation when urinating, accompanied by yellowish and gelatinous, or thick and white discharge and extreme pain in the lower back, which could indicate the existence of a kidney infection or candidiasis 
  • certain (certain) symptoms such as excessive thirst, dry mouth, extreme fatigue, vision changes and increased urination (which could indicate gestational diabetes)
  • severe morning sickness and vomiting lasting more than 24 hours.

Some useful tips for a peaceful pregnancy and a healthy baby

Some useful advice regarding the twenty-second week of gestation.

  • Consider attending a prenatal class: Instructors can help you learn more about labor and relaxation techniques to help you cope better, as well as give you the opportunity to talk to other couples expecting a baby .
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Include foods with lots of fiber in your daily diet, as they help keep constipation under control.
  • Avoid consuming overly processed foods, such as sliced ​​bread and pasta, as they tend to slow down the digestive process .
  • Wear flat, comfortable shoes that allow you to slide your feet without having to bend down to tie them.
  • Follow a regular exercise “routine,” which includes prenatal yoga , or swimming, or walking.
  • Avoid doing repetitive and intense exercises such as running .
  • Regularly do those exercises that are helpful in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Try to account for fetal movements – this may seem difficult now, but as your pregnancy progresses you will get used to it.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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