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During the 22nd week of pregnancy (5 months) the uterus expands up to the point where it takes up the spaces of the internal organs surrounding it.
Because of that, she will experience difficulty in breathing and the backache will become unbearable.
The mother in week 22
As the pregnancy progress, the baby grows in size. In line with this, a mother-to-be will have more stretchmarks around her belly. Plus, her belly button which used to be an innie will become an outie in week 22.
Week 22 symptoms
Increased vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge (often termed as leukorrhea) is triggered by the increased levels of estrogen. This pregnancy hormone increases blood volume to the pelvic area and stimulates the mucus membranes.
Pregnancy-induced heartburn happens when the muscles atop the stomach (esophagus) relaxes due to hormonal fluxes. When the esophageal tract is relaxed, the gastric acids splashes back up the throat
Some experts suggest that leg cramps is caused by the lack of calcium and magnesium. Furthermore, below are the various theories which can be the cause of this symptom:
- Pregnancy weight gain
- Compression of blood vessels in the legs
- Excess intake of phosphorus
- Pregnancy hormones
Protruding belly button
The belly button (navel) protrudes in the later part of the 2nd trimester as the belly ripens. What was once an innie belly button will become an outie.
Colon congestion (widely known as constipation) happens when the digestive movement slows down. This occurs when the pregnancy hormones relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles.
Aside from that, colon congestion also happens because the expanding uterus takes up the space which is normally occupied by bowels.
On the contrary, colon congestion adds more time for the nutrients to be absorbed in the bloodstream and reach the baby.
Dizziness (often termed as lightheadedness) happens during pregnancy due to the following reasons:
- Insufficient supply of blood to fill up the rapid expansion of the circulatory system
- Growing uterus puts some pressure to the blood vessels
- Increased bloodflow to the baby and vice versa
- Low blood pressures
- Low blood sugar
Stretch marks are tears in the supporting layers of tissue underneath the epidermis. From the bottom up to the abdominal cavity, pregnant women gain stretch marks because of the rapid expansion of the skin.
Did you know that stretch marks are hereditary? Chances are if her mother gained stretch marks during pregnancy, then she will probably too.
Edema (swelling hands and feet) is much lighter in week 22.
Increased sex drive
Increased sex drive (libido) happens since the mother’s energy is back. This then gives her the mood for some lovemaking.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath occurs in week 22 because the expanding uterus takes up the space of the lungs. This then gives her less space to breathe in oxygen.
The baby in week 22
At week 22, the baby’s invading too much space inside the abdominal cavity and presses the internal organs that surrounds it. Aside that, below are the following step-by-step procedures which takes place in the baby’s development in week 22:
- The growing baby measures about 10.5 – 11.8 from crown-to-heel length and weighs around 12.7 – 20.8 ounces. The baby is already proportioned like a miniature newborn but a thinner version since his baby fat has not been developed yet. During this week, the baby is always in C-shape position – his legs tucked closely to his chest and his head pulled towards his knees. Occasionally, he will stretch out his body in-utero to test out his muscles. Plus, the blood is passing through the umbilical cord at 4 miles per hour which nourishes his growth with oxygen and nutrients.
- The baby’s weight is getting heavier per day.
- The baby’s bones are beginning to produce fetal red blood cells. His liver and spleen are responsible for the said process. Then as the bones mature, the marrow will be able to sustain the RBCs needs.
- His skin is still translucent and wrinkled.
- The baby’s liver is currently aiding the biliburin (byproduct of RBCs production) to pass through the umbilical cord and onto the placenta where the liver takes care of the excess substances. Furthermore after conception, his liver will not be able to remove all the biliburin from his system. The newborn baby’s body needs a few days expell all the biliburin produced by her body’s RBC production. Biliburins build up and are hard to entirely remove inside a newborn’s system because their bodies produce more RBCs than adults. A biliburin build-up can lead to jaundice – a condition where a newborn’s skin and eyes appear yellowish. If this disease is left untreated, it can lead to brain damage, deafness, and the like.
- His pancreas (responsible for hormone production) continues to develop.
- The baby’s brain rapidly develops in week 22.
- His nervous system continues to enhance his senses – touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste.
- The baby constantly exercises and practices his hand skills. The baby is learning how to grab his ears and nose. He will also grab and pull his umbilical cord. But there is no need to worry about it since the cord is hard enough and it will not break due to the baby’s activities.
- His internal organs are becoming more functional and mature.
- The baby’s eyes, eyelids, and eyebrows are already in their respective location and are fully formed. In line with this, his sense of sight is more developed as the baby can already perceive light and darkness much better unlike last week. However, his irises still lack pigment in week 22.
- The baby’s ears are beginning to hear and process in-utero noises such as the air circulating in and out the lungs, grumbling stomach, sound of blood circulation, and his mother’s hearbeat. In a like manner, he is also able to hear noises and voices from the outside such as the dog’s bark and his father’s voice (which he will identify after birth).
- He already has a distinct pair of lips (either he got his mother’s lips or his father’s).
- Baby’s first set of canines and molars are budding beneath the gum line.
- More hair is sprouting on his head. During the 22nd week of pregnancy, his hair has no pigment. With that being said, his hair color is currently bright white. However, his hair growth will take weeks to cover the entire scalp.
Pregnancy tips for week 22
5 months down and 4 months to go before the baby’s arrival. The pregnancy journey is almost done so a mother-to-be must still ensure that she is doing the right things to maintain her body and her baby’s safety. Below are the following things she must do:
Things to do during the 22nd week of pregnancy
Biliburin build-up happens in week 22. To remove this harmful substance, the baby must be treated with phototherapy (time in the sun).
If jaundice becomes severe, the baby must be treated with a blood transfusion. This treatment is performed by testing the baby’s biliburin levels through a physical evaluation and a blood test.
Shop for baby gears
4 months to go, this is the best week for parents to prepare for the baby’s arrival. This means it is time to shop for baby gears. Below are the following gears that are worthy of buying:
- Breast pump – if a mother plans to breastfeed for a long period of time, purchasing a breast pump is necessary
- Stroller – buy for a sturdy that parents can use for future babies. Opt for a stroller which best suits the travelling needs of the family. If the parents live in the city opt for lightweight, easy to maneuver with 1 hand, easy to fold up and down. If they stroll along gravel roads, opt for a jogging stroller with spaceous storage
- Crib sheets
- Baby carrier
- Comfy car seat
Stretch marks continue to appear until the end of pregnancy. So, to soften the appearance of stretch marks, always add some skin moisturizer on the said areas.
Take a swim
Swimming is the most suitable low-impact exercise to do in week 22. The feeling of weightlessness while swimming eases the her aching body parts.
Prop up with pillows
Sleeping while pregnant is more relaxing with a pillow between the legs or under the back. Propping up with pillows to sleep eases various body strains.
Wear a panty liner
To absorb the vaginal discharge, always bring a pack of panty liner and make sure to wear one everyday.
Do some stretches
To ease the pain of leg cramps, a pregnant woman must do the following before going to sleep:
- Stand about 2 feet away from the wall
- Put the palms flat against it
- Lean forward and keep the heels firm on the floor
- Hold stretch for 10 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds
- Do this 3x a day, everyday
What to avoid in week 22
Caffeinated food and drinks
Caffeine is a diuretic which is can cause birth defects to the baby. Plus, it can ruin the sleeping cycle of both parties. Aside from coffee, below are the following food and drinks which contains caffeine:
Vices are strictly prohibited for pregnant women since it is a very harmful activity. Below are the following vices she must consider avoiding during pregnancy:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Taking illegal drugs
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
Do not buy douches in the drugstore. Douching can disrupt the natural chemistry of the vagina which is harmful during pregnancy.
Feminine washes and wipes
Do not use feminine washes and wipes during pregnancy. These products irritates the pH of the genital tract which increases the chances of vaginal infection.
Never consider using a tampon to absorb leukorrhea (vaginal discharge).
To avoid the occurrence of pregnancy-induced hearburn, consider avoiding the following foods:
- Highly seasoned food
- Spicy food
- Greasy food
- Fatty food
- Citrus fruits
- For some women, peppermint