If you’re 22-weeks pregnant, then there’s a whole world of exciting and helpful information to learn about you and your baby. Sure, thoughts of parenting might be overwhelming, making it tough to focus on the now.
To ease your mind on stresses of the future, get a taste for the magic of the first six months of parenthood, Birth Days. Following parents and their newborns, it’s reality television at its cutest and funniest.
For some insights that may help you in the meantime, check out our comprehensive guide to being 22-weeks pregnant:
What’s It Like?
Being 22-weeks pregnant is a time of consolidation. Your baby is developing senses like hearing and taste and your body is learning to adjust to the extra weight. It’s worth taking the time to eat healthily and eat right—at the end of this article are some recommended guidelines that have been adapted from the USDA Choose My Plate Guide for pregnancy.
Also on Z Living: 23 Weeks Pregnant: Storing The Stem Cells
Your Baby’s Growth.
- Body Size: Your baby gains 0.24 lbs (110 grams) from last week, to reach a total of about 1.4 lbs (610 g). In length, your baby reaches nearly 9 inches (230 millimeters), or about the length of a head of cabbage.
- Head Characteristics: During week 22, your baby gains use of the inner ear, which gives them balance, and a sense of place inside the amniotic sac.
- Body Appearance: Your baby’s skin is still thin and translucent, but she is accumulating fat stores under her skin. The fat will provide energy and help keep your baby warm after birth.
Also on Z Living: 24 Weeks Pregnant: An Excellent Time To Create A Birth Plan
What Happens Inside Your Body?
This week, you may find you have developed pregnancy hemorrhoids. As your uterus expands, it puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava, a large vein on the right side of the body that drains the blood from the lower limbs back to the heart. This can slow the return of blood from the lower half of your body, which increases the pressure on the veins, causing them to become dilated and swollen. If the blood vessels in your rectum become swollen, it is called hemorrhoids. They can be as small as a pea (smaller and you probably won’t notice them) or as large as a grape. They can feel itchy, uncomfortable or painful.
The best way to avoid hemorrhoids is to add 25 grams of fiber to your diet per day to reduce straining when having a bowel movement. Also, practice your Kegels, and avoid sitting for long periods of time. Exercise keeps the blood circulation working so aim for at least 30 minutes, three times per week.
- Back Pain: Having lower back pain is very common beginning this week. You’re carrying more weight, which also changes your posture, curving your spine, and adding pressure to your lower lumbar muscles. Try standing and sitting straight, with your shoulders back like there’s a piece of string pulling the crown of your head up. And you can try lower back stretches, or extensions to strengthen these muscles. One popular stretching and strengthening exercise is to get on your hands and knees, in a crawling position, and then raise the opposite hand and foot, e.g. left hand and right foot or right and left foot, until they are straight, horizontal and hip length. Then bring them back down and repeat twenty times.
Also on Z Living: Try These Holistic Approaches for Relief From Back Pain)
How Different Will You Look?
At 22-weeks pregnant, your uterus is about 1 inch (25 millimeters) higher than your belly button. You may have gained a few more stretch marks, although some women only get these in the third trimester of pregnancy. Moisturizers likely won’t be able to completely eliminate marks, but they may lessen them or at least reduce itchiness.
While there are many pregnancy inconveniences, there is also the pregnancy glow, which comes with stronger, more radiant hair and fuller breasts. And there’s the excitement of how your life is about to radically change.
Also on Z Living: Prenatal Vitamins For A Healthy Pregnancy
Tip For Dad—Exercise Together.
If your partner’s feeling tired and heavy this week, you can help out her motivation by cheering her on, or going swimming, walking or to a yoga class together. If you’ve started pregnancy courses, why not go together or drive her? While these things might seem obvious or old school, a simple gesture can go a long way towards letting her know that you understand some of the challenges she is facing, and you want to support her in any way you can.
Also on Z Living: 5 Parenting Truths We Learned From ‘Birth Days’
Tip For Mom To Help You Through The Trimester:
- Healthy Diet For A Healthy Baby: The idea that you need to eat for two isn’t quite correct. You need to eat more (about an extra 300 calories more during the second trimester or 450 extra calories during the third). And you need to eat healthily. The following recommendations are adapted from the USDA Choose My Plate Guide.
- Eat Iron-Rich or iron-fortified foods (meat or meat alternatives, breads, and cereals) include vitamin C-rich foods (e.g., orange juice, broccoli, or strawberries) to enhance iron absorption.
- Take Folic Acid Supplements (400 micrograms), daily.
- Fruits And Vegetables: You need to eat fruits and veggies—fresh, frozen, canned or juiced are all suitable forms. Shoot to injest 3 to 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, with a focus on a variety of different colors of these foods.
- Calcium Rich Foods: Milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals, but at the same time, they have a high content of animal fat. Stay clear of unpasteurized milk and cheese made from unpasteurized or raw milk. If you’re not sure whether the cheese had been made with raw milk, check the label or ask at the deli counter. Vegan foods that are high in calcium are pinto beans, soy beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, bok choy, kale, collard greens, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, seaweed, sesame seeds and tahini. Eat/Drink 3 cups of milk or calcium-rich foods per day, with a focus on low-fat or skimmed milk products.
- Small Meals: Aim for three small-moderate sized meals per day and two nutritious snacks (a piece of fruit). Otherwise, you should continue eating as you would regularly. Consult the USDA’s Choose My Plate Guide for more information.
You have a baby the size of a cabbage inside of you and you may be suffering from back pain. However, despite the pregnancy aches and pains, this can be one of more relaxing and less challenging times in the pregnancy. If you have a chance, try and make time to go away with your partner, even if it’s just for a long weekend. It will give your body time to rejuvenate before you head into the final trimester.