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

22nd week pregnancy

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 22 Weeks?

At 22 weeks, you are in the sixth month of pregnancy, and in a few weeks, you will enter the third trimester.

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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 15.17oz (430g) (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
LungsDeveloping

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?

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, as the uterus grows and 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 can also lead to leg cramps (11).

  • Hormonal fluctuations cause the release of whitish vaginal discharge, which prevents any bacteria from entering the uterus.
  • The progesterone hormone relaxes the digestive tract, slowing down the digestion process and resulting in constipation.
  • The expanding uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels, inhibiting proper flow of blood to the brain and causing dizziness.
  • Hormonal fluctuations can lead to sexual desires.
  • Edema or water retention in the body can result in swollen hands and feet.
  • The pressure put by the growing uterus on the lower back causes backache.
  • Hormonal changes can make your hair healthier and shinier.
  • The pressure put by the growing uterus on the diaphragm can cause shortness of breath.
  • 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 causes hemorrhoids or the swelling of blood vessels, which are painful.
  • The stretching of the abdominal muscles and ligaments due to the growing uterus causes round ligament pain.
  • 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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Preterm Labor At 22 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Preterm labor is when the delivery happens between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy (12). The chance of survival for babies born at 22 weeks of pregnancy is only 10% (13).

The risk of preterm labor is high in the cases of (14):

  • Pregnancy with multiple babies
  • Previous preterm labor
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Abnormalities of reproductive organs such as the short cervix
  • Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • High blood pressure
  • Being underweight or obese before pregnancy
  • Certain developmental abnormalities in the fetus
  • A short time gap between pregnancies (less than six months)
  • Pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization
  • Rupture of the uterus, if you have had a prior C-section or a uterine fibroid removed
  • Placenta previa
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar) and gestational diabetes (which occurs only during pregnancy)
  • Age of the mother (less than 18 years and more than 35 years)
  • Women of African ethnicity
  • Environmental factors like exposure to certain pollutants
  • Domestic violence, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Stress
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs
  • Long working hours with long stretches of standing
  • Lack of social support

If you feel that you are in preterm labor, call for medical help immediately. Then empty your bladder and lie down on your left side and drink a lot of fluids while help arrives.

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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). However, with the latest advancements in medical interventions, the outcomes have improved (15).

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 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 prenatal 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:

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).

The percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) or the cordocentesis test analyzes the blood sample taken from the umbilical vein of the baby. It is done by inserting a needle through the abdomen of the mother and extracting a small blood sample from the umbilical cord. This blood test helps in determining any chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, blood disorders like anemia and certain other infections. It is carried out only when the test results of amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are found to be unsatisfactory (18).

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 a lot of fluids.
  • Give your body enough rest.
  • 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.
  • Indulge in mild physical activities like walking.
  • 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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shreeja pillai

Postgraduate in Chemistry and content writer. She has worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company and also holds a diploma in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. She is a writer for MomJunction and aims at providing informative articles based on health and wellness. Apart from writing, she takes a great interest in music and traveling.
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