22nd Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development And Body Changes

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 22 Weeks?

At 22 weeks, you are in the fifth month of pregnancy.

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How Big Is Your Baby At 22 Weeks?

In this week, your baby is about the size of a spaghetti squash (1). It will measure 10.94in (27.8cm) in length and weighs 1-1.5lb (500 -700g) (2).

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Baby Development At 22 weeks

Here is how your baby develops during this week:

Body organsDevelopment
Hair (3)Head and body are covered with lanugo
LimbsLower limbs are fully developed. The baby’s slight movements can be felt, but the kicks are not strong
NailsToenails are developing
Genitals (4)In boys, the testicles are descending into the scrotum. In girls, the vagina is fully developed
Intestine (5)Meconium (the baby’s first poop) begins to form
EyesEyebrows and eyelashes start to appear. The retina is fully developed (6)
Ears (7)Begin to respond to sounds as the cochlea is almost developed and acquires adult size
Tongue (8)Taste buds are formed
BrainDeveloping, and the nerve endings are formed, making the baby feel when you touch the belly
Skin (9)Transparent

As the baby develops, you will also experience specific symptoms indicating the changes inside you.

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[ Read: 23rd Week Pregnancy ]

What Symptoms Do You Experience In The 22nd Week Of Pregnancy?

Every pregnancy is different, and so not all women have the same symptoms. Some pregnancies go uneventful while others experience several changes both physically and psychologically.Here are some pregnancy symptoms you may experience during this week:

  • Weight gain should be as per your BMI (10).
BMIBelow 18.518.5 – 24.925 – 29.930 and above
Weight gain (pounds)11-1710-166-124-9
  • Heartburn is mostly due to progesterone, which causes relaxation of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach leading to acid regurgitation. It can also be due to the growing uterus, which pushes the gastric acid from the stomach to the esophagus.
  • You may experience leg cramps due to the increased blood flow in the lower part of the body. A deficiency of calcium and magnesium can also lead to leg cramps (11).
  • Hormonal fluctuations cause the release of whitish vaginal discharge, which prevents any bacteria from entering the uterus. Medical consultation may be needed if the discharge is foul smelling, excessive, and/ or causes itching in the private parts.
  • The progesterone hormone relaxes the digestive tract, slowing down the intestinal motility and resulting in constipation.
  • The expanding uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels, inhibiting proper flow of blood to the brain, which might cause dizziness in some women.
  • Hormonal fluctuations can lead to sexual desires.
  • Edema or water retention in the body can result in swollen hands and feet. Let your doctor know about it if it is excessive.
  • The pressure put by the growing uterus and on the lower back causes backache.
  • Hormonal changes can make your hair healthier and shinier in some women while in some it might lead to hairfall.
  • The extra blood flow in the lower part of the body causes varicose veins or the swelling up of veins in the legs.
  • The increased blood flow to the rectal area might cause hemorrhoids or the swelling of blood vessels, which are painful. These are generally reversible and only supportive care is needed.
  • The pressure put by the growing uterus on the bladder increases the frequency of urination.All this will lead to specific changes in your body.

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[ Read: 24th Week Pregnancy ]

Changes In The Body At 22 Weeks

Here are some physical and emotional changes you may experience this week:

Physical changes

  • Enlarged belly with a protruding navel
  • Stretch marks
  • Changing fingernails, as some women may experience faster growth of nails
  • Discolored skin, as some dark patches develop due to increased melanin
  • Bigger and darker nipples

Emotional changes

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

In some cases, you may experience unusual symptoms that indicate preterm labor. More about it next.

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[ Read: 28th Week Pregnancy ]

Can A Baby Survive If Born At 22 Weeks?

According to a cohort study done by the National Research Network, Japan, the babies born during the gestational age of 22 weeks have fewer chances of survival or are at a higher risk of having NDI (neurodevelopmental impairment) (15). Though with the advancement of technology in the medical field, the chances of survival have become better but there is still lack of enough evidence and data about the long-term prognosis and neurodevelopmental outcome of  babies born at such early gestation.

Next, we list down the symptoms that indicate the onset of preterm labor.

When To Call The Doctor

If you experience the following symptoms, call the doctor right away (16):

  • A contraction (hardening of stomach along with pain) once every 10 minutes (5 or more in an hour)
  • Rupture of the amniotic sac causing the fluid leak from the vagina
  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Pelvic pressure
  • A low and dull backache
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
  • A sudden increase in vaginal discharge
  • Blood from vagina

Otherwise, schedule a regular prenatal checkup.

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Your OB/GYN Visit

During the antenatal visit, the doctor will check:

  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Fetal heart rate with a fetoscope

Additionally, a few tests may be done to check how the pregnancy is progressing.

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Pregnancy tests

If an anomaly scan has been done at 18-20 weeks, ultrasound is not required at this gestation. However, if it is not done, then you might need one now. An ultrasound is for a comprehensive study of the fetal anatomy. However, it may not give details about all the organs. It helps in detecting any congenital defects or abnormalities in the fetus (17).

Besides following the doctor’s orders, you should also develop a healthy lifestyle for a better pregnancy experience. How can you make it possible? Read on to know.

Tips For Mom-to-be

Here are some tips that you should follow to stay healthy and happy at this stage of pregnancy.

  • Stay hydrated; drink at least eight glasses of water.
  • Give your body eight hours of sleep in the night and two hours in the day.
  • Add beans, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, and meat in your diet.
  • Eat home-cooked food and have small meals at regular intervals.
  • Continue the prenatal vitamin supplements including vitamin C and folic acid among others.
  • Exercise daily if there is no contraindication. Enroll in prenatal exercise groups.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and drugs.
  • Keep stress away and stay calm.
  • Maintain oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothes.
  • Avoid deep-fried and fatty foods. Add more fiber to your diet to reduce constipation.
  • Avoid taking any medicines without the doctor’s permission.
  • Avoid sitting crossed legged, as it can cause a backache.
  • Wear comfortable footwear.
  • Avoid sitting for long hours and walk around frequently.
  • Enroll in childbirth classes.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Use a heating pad or sleep with a body pillow to ease the back pain.

Your partner can also help you feel better by helping you out a little.

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[ Read: 25th Week Pregnancy ]

Tips For The Dad-to-be

Here are a few pointers for daddy dearest.

  • Sharing the responsibilities of household chores.
  • Creating a pleasant environment at home.
  • Accompanying you to prenatal visits.
  • Taking you for shopping.
  • Planning an outing for you.
  • Giving you a good neck and foot massage for relaxation.

The pregnancy period may not be very pleasant for you, but holding the little angel in your arm makes you forget all the pains. Take care of yourself, and try to relax and enjoy every bit of this miraculous journey.

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Do you have any information to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Dr. Asmita Kaundal

Dr. Kaundal has 10 years of experience as an obstetrician and gynecologist and is currently working as a consultant IVF at Matritava Advanced IVF and Training Centre, New Delhi. She has previously worked at Lady Hardinge Medical College, MKW and IMB IVF centre, Apollo Cradle Royale and AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a research officer at WHO Collabrating center at... more

shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more