The second half of your second trimester can sometimes feel like the middle of a long road trip. The initial excitement and enthusiasm have begun to wear off, but you know you still have a long way to go before you reach your destination -- or in this case, before you meet the tiny new baby boy or girl who's already brought you so much happiness, anxiety, and, yes, nausea.
The good news: If you're like many pregnant women, around week 22 is the time you'll finally begin to feel like you "look pregnant" -- not like you've been overdoing it on beer and cookies.
So what other pleasant surprises does this week hold in store? Here are some of the things you may be experiencing in your 22nd week of pregnancy.
What You Might Be Feeling
Big -- Maternity clothes are a must for most pregnant women by now. All but your very baggiest jackets and tops will be uncomfortably tight at best and downright indecent at worst. You will never have a better excuse to walk around in pants that stretch, so take advantage while you can.
Clumsy -- As you adjust to your changing shape and size, it's sometimes hard to know where your edges are. At the same time, swollen feet and hands and achy joints can make you feel less sure on your feet and more likely to drop or knock over your water glass. Blame it on the relaxin, a pregnancy hormone that messes with all your ligaments, not just the pelvic ones that you want to stretch out.
Full -- More room for baby means less room for food. The same gigantic meals you enjoyed as you celebrated the end of first-trimester nausea might now cause you hours of heartburn, indigestion and general discomfort. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead, and stay away from foods that you know you'll regret later.
Constipated -- Like your stomach and esophagus, your bowels are being moved aside to make way for baby. Keep moving as much as you can -- even a brisk walk can go a long way toward making you more comfortable.
OK, so maybe "pleasant" wasn't exactly the best word choice for this week's developments. But inside, things are getting a little more exciting
What's Going on in Your Body
Your baby now measures about 7.5 to 8 inches (19 to 20.3 centimeters) long and weighs more than 12 ounces (340.2 grams).
He or she has taste buds, tooth buds (though his baby teeth won't poke through the gums until about 8 months after birth), eyelids and eyebrows, and a fairly well developed sense of touch. If you happen to have an ultrasound this week, you might see her sucking a thumb or notice him testing that new sensation at the end of his fingers by touching his face.
Your baby's ears are working very well now, and he's starting to know your voice. He or she may even respond to other sounds outside your body.
The baby continues to beef up -- building muscle, bone and fat -- and is looking less like an alien and more like a real human infant every day. This is a good thing, not only because it means that your baby is one step closer to surviving and thriving on its own, but also because an alien baby might be pretty tough to explain to your partner in the delivery room.
And speaking of your partner ...
What Your Partner Should Know
For some women, the second trimester is a glorious honeymoon period between the worry, exhaustion and nausea of the first 12 weeks and the worry, exhaustion and inflated-water-balloon sensation of the last three months. The rest of us spend the second trimester wondering when that glorious honeymoon phase we've heard so much about will begin to kick in. Whether your partner falls into the first camp, the second or somewhere in between, keeping a couple things in mind can help you make her 22nd week the best it can be.
First, on any given day, she might feel itchy, sweaty, tired, swollen and even a little guilty that she isn't enjoying the second trimester as much as she "should" be or accomplishing all the things she thought she would do once morning sickness passed. Remind her that she's, you know, growing a new person in there, so maybe she shouldn't be so hard on herself.
Second, it's not your fault. One minute she wants you to rub her back and put lotion on her itchy stomach and swollen legs, the next minute she can't stand the sight of you. And you're pretty sure you heard her talking about her college boyfriend in her sleep last night. Just remember that it's not her fault, either. At this point, hormones may be playing games with everything from her dreams to her moods to her sinuses.
Rest assured: The woman you love is still in there. The best gift you can give her right now is your patience. (And maybe a few hours of housework. Also, more ice cream.) You'll also want to give her your full attention and reassurance as she begins to fret about these other common week 22 topics.
Some Things to Consider
You've probably had an ultrasound sometime between your 20th and 22nd weeks. If you've chosen to find out the sex of your baby (and even if you haven't), the naming game is probably in full swing by now. Before you choose, picture your favorite name at the top of a resume or rolling off the tongue in an introduction. Sure, those celebrity babies named for foods, planets and random household items sound cute now, but chances are those kids will never have to work for a living.
If you're having a boy, or if you don't know the gender, consider taking some time to research whether or not you will choose to have your baby circumcised. The procedure was once practically automatic for baby boys born in the United States, but more and more parents are opting not to circumcise, and the question may catch you off guard if you are unprepared. There are plenty of arguments and strong opinions both for and against, so give yourself time to absorb all the information and talk to your OB (who would normally be the one to perform the surgery) or a pediatrician if you find yourself wanting more information.
Keep up with exercise, good nutrition and plenty of sleep -- however, whenever and (almost) wherever you can get it.
If you're still wearing your rings, and if they're feeling tight, take them off now -- your fingers will get bigger before they get smaller. If you feel naked without them, you can always wear them on a chain around your neck. You'll have one less thing to worry about in the unlikely event that your fingers eventually swell up beyond recognition.
And while we're at it, here are some other things not to worry about.
Don't Worry If ...
We know, no matter what we say, you'll find something to worry about this week. But here are a few concerns we hope you'll cross off your list. Try -- really try! -- not to worry if:
- You and your partner can't agree on a name. Make a couple of lists, pick some personal favorites, and try them out on that growing baby in your belly. Sooner or later, something will sound just right.
- Your bellybutton is beginning to show through your t-shirts. It will go back "in" after the baby is born.
- You're hairier than a caveman. (Thank you, once again, hormones, for all you do to make this such a thoroughly entertaining journey.) Look on the bright side: Soon you won't even be able to see your legs, let alone worry about how hairy they are. With any luck, your fingernails are growing faster and stronger than ever, too, so treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure and try not to worry about that five o'clock shadow on your shins.
- You don't always feel the baby moving. It's still fairly early to feel regular movement, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Often you'll feel him kick up his heels only after you've settled down. Of course, if you're truly concerned, call your doctor or midwife. That's what they're there for. He or she can help to put your mind at ease or have you come in if it sounds like there's a problem.
For more information on week 22 of your pregnancy and for other pregnancy and parenting topics, check out the links on the next page.
- Guide to Being One Week Pregnant
- Guide to Being Two Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Three Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Four Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Five Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Six Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Seven Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Eight Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Nine Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 10 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 11 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 12 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 13 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 14 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 15 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 16 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 17 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 18 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 19 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 20 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 21 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 23 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 24 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 25 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 26 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 27 Weeks Pregnant
- Harris, Christine. "The Pregnancy Journal: A Day-to-Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy." Chronicle Books. 2005.
- KidsHealth. "Pregnancy Calendar Week 22." (May 26, 2011) http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week22.html
- Parenting. "Your Pregnancy: Week 22." (May 26, 2011) http://www.parenting.com/article/your-pregnancy-week-22
- WebMD.com. "Second Trimester Tests During Pregnancy." (May 27, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/second-trimester-tests
- WebMD.com. "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25." (May 27, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-21-25
- What to Expect. "Second Trimester of Pregnancy." (May 27, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/second-trimester-of-pregnancy.aspx
- What to Expect. "Week 22 of Pregnancy." (May 27, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-22.aspx