We wish there was a camera that kept you updated on your baby’s movements and activities inside your tummy. It’s a sight to see and treasure as your little one plays all by herself and whiles away her time.
At 22 weeks, your little one’s weight is close to a pound. Your baby measures 11 inches in length (head to toe) and 7.5– 8 inches (head to rump). This marks the beginning of a phase of rapid growth. The baby is growing in size and is also packing pounds faster than before.
The process of fat accumulation continues into the 22nd week. The deposits of fat under the skin make it less translucent. Although you cannot see much of the organs, you can still see the veins when you take a closer look. They will not be seen in a few weeks time once the skin gets thicker.
As far as development of the facial features are concerned, work starts on the nose. The nose bridge is in the developmental stages. Therefore, the nose has an adorable pudgy look much like a button nose. You can also see a distinct pair of eyes, ears, eyebrows and lips. Beneath the gums, the tooth buds for the molars and canines have developed.
Though the available tummy space is dwindling day by day, it is sufficient enough to allow your baby to move around freely. Your baby has started exploring the world around her with her tiny and delicate hands and feet. She’s turning out to be a little adventurous– kicking around, fearlessly performing a few somersaults and flips flops and of course swimming in her amniotic-filled environs. For all you know she is even tugging at her umbilical cord. To add the fast maturing senses also makes your baby more aware of the world around her. She can hear sounds – internal and external – very clearly in the womb. The eyes are also sensitive to light.
The organ systems become more specialized. The pancreas develops steadily. The baby receives its supply of blood and nourishment via the umbilical chord. It transports blood at a speed of 4 miles an hour. The baby swallows amniotic fluid. The fluid is digested, nutrients are absorbed and the wastes are transformed and stored in the form of meconium.
The baby by now has also started forming a sleeping schedule. She sleeps for around 12-14 hours. If you cannot feel the kicks at a particular time in the day, that must be her nap time. Each bone in the baby’s body has bone marrow. It produces red and white blood cells in the baby’s body.
Changes to Your Body
Given the rate at which your baby is growing, the tummy space has started falling short. Your belly is expanding rapidly to accommodate the fetus comfortably giving rise to terrible back pain and a few ugly stretch marks. The baby pressing up against the lungs may cause shortness of breathing. It’s not only your belly; you’re practically expanding on all sides- the thighs, buttocks, arms and hips.
The fluctuation in the level of hormones brings about changes in the appearance of your skin. The increased amount of melanin, the skin pigment may’ result in darkened patches on the skin. For some the skin becomes oily, for some it becomes dry and some suffer severe acne. However, increased supply of blood also adds a distinct glow to the skin. Swelling on the hands, feet and fingers are common as pregnancy progresses. Your rings feel tight.
The other pregnancy symptoms that prevail during the 22nd week are increased vaginal discharge, increased libido, increased body hair. Also the breasts grow large in size and the nipples and areolas become darker in color.
How should you prepare?
- During the three months of the second trimester you should eat healthy. Add an additional 350 calories to your regular calorie intake.
- The sight of your growing belly will surely invite a few comments most of which will tell you how big or small your tummy should be at this stage of pregnancy. Don’t worry about it. Let others know if you feel uncomfortable about a few belly touches and remarks.
- Make regular visits to your practitioner to monitor your little one’s growth.
- You should by now start keeping a track of the kicks. Kick counts help you determine the health and development of your baby.
- This is also an ideal time to bond with your baby given that he or she can recognize your voice. Spend a few minutes talking to your baby or simply feeling your stomach.
- As the belly stretches the skin gets really dry and itchy. Use a moisturizing lotion on the skin to relieve the itchy sensation.
- Schedule your glucose screening test. It is conducted to check for gestational diabetes. It is conducted between the 24th and 26th week of pregnancy.