22nd Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development And Tips

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 22 Weeks?

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

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 weigh 1-1.5lb (500 -700g) (2).

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 (4)Taste buds are formed
BrainDeveloping, and the nerve endings are formed, making the baby feel when you touch the belly
Skin (8)Transparent
LungsDeveloping

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

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 An average weight gain of one to two pounds per week during the second trimester of pregnancy is considered safe, as recommended by the American Pregnancy Association (APA) (10). However, in case of women who have BMI less than 18.5 and greater than 24.9, the recommended weight gain rates usually range in between 0.5 to one pound.
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 (10).
  • 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 (12)
  • 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 (13)
  • 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 (14)
  • 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 (11)
  • 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.

 

Changes In The Body At 22 Weeks

Here are some physical and emotional changes you may experience this week (12):

Physical changes

  • Enlarged belly with a protruding navel
  • 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.

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) (13). 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 (14):

  • 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.

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.

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 (15).

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.

 

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the baby’s position at 22 weeks?

At 22 weeks, most babies lie transverse across mothers’ tummies. They can change position during this time to up and down and sideways (16).

2. How long do babies sleep in the womb at 22 weeks?

Unborn babies can sleep even when the mother is awake. They may sleep for long hours, around 12 to 14 hours daily from 21 to 24 weeks. However, you may not feel like the baby is sleeping (17).

3. Why is my belly hard at 22 weeks pregnant?

The uterus can be at the belly button around 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is when the week of gestation matches with fundal height. By the time you reach 20 weeks, occasionally, you can feel the uterus for a few seconds since it begins contracting (18).

4. Can my baby feel when I rub my belly at 22 weeks?

Babies may not be able to feel belly rubs at 22 weeks of pregnancy. They can feel and respond to belly rubs around the 26th week of pregnancy. Fetuses can only feel pain at 22 weeks (19).

5. What is the earliest a baby can be born and survive?

Neonatal unit care can enhance survival rates for prematurely born babies. Babies born beyond 24 weeks of gestation have a better chance of survival than those born earlier. Lungs and other vital organs are not developed enough before 24 weeks (20).

Pregnancy is not an easy journey though it is rewarding. In the 22nd week of pregnancy, you may undergo various physical changes and experience heartburn, leg cramps, constipation, backache, dizziness, etc. You may also experience emotional changes such as mood swings and anxiety. However, consult a doctor if you experience a contraction, pelvic pressure, menstrual-like cramps, or sudden increase in vaginal discharge. In addition, stay hydrated, ensure you get eight hours of sleep, eat a balanced diet with plenty of veggies, fruits, milk, and dairy products, and stay relaxed.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Week by Week Fetus Size Demonstrated by Fruits.
    https://epaoa.org/week-by-week-fetus-size-demonstrated-by-fruits/
  2. Fetal Development.
    https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Fetal_Development
  3. Fetal Growth And Development.
    https://doh.sd.gov/abortion/assets/fetal.pdf
  4. Week 22.
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week22.html
  5. Fetal development.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002398.htm
  6. 22 weeks pregnant.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/week-by-week/second-trimester/22-weeks
  7. Prenatal Summary
    https://www.ehd.org/prenatal-summary.php
  8. Pregnancy calendar – Week 22
    https://www.cgbabyclub.co.uk/pregnancy/weeks/22-weeks-pregnant.html
  9. Pregnancy Weight Gain
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/pregnancy-weight-gain/#:~:text=On%20a%20trimester%20basis%20in
  10. Calcium Vitamin D and Magnesium.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235246/
  11. Pregnancy at week 22.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/pregnancy-at-week-22
  12. Week 22 – your 2nd trimester
    https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-22/
  13. Nozomi Ishii et al.; (2013); Outcomes of Infants Born at 22 and 23 Weeks’ Gestation.
    https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/132/1/62/31345/Outcomes-of-Infants-Born-at-22-and-23-Weeks?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  14. Premature Labor.
    https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/labor-delivery/what-is-premature-labor
  15. Monitoring of Pregnancy and Medical Examinations During Pregnancy.
    https://www.health.gov.il/English/Topics/Pregnancy/during/examination/Pages/permanent.aspx
  16. 22 Weeks Pregnant.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/week-by-week/second-trimester/22-weeks#:~:text=Your%20baby%20when%20you%27re%2022%20weeks%20pregnant
  17. Your Pregnancy: Week 21 to 24.
    https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/maternity/second-trimester/weeks-21-24#:~:text=Your%20pregnancy%3A%20weeks%2021%20to%2024&text=Your%20baby%20is%20still%20small
  18. Fundal Height.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22294-fundal-height
  19. Bonding with your baby during pregnancy.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/bonding-with-your-baby-during-pregnancy#:~:text=Sensation
  20. You And Your Baby At 24 Weeks Pregnant.
    https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/13-to-27/24-weeks/#:~:text=By%20the%20time%20you%27re

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Dr. Asmita Kaundal

(MD)
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

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