In the 22nd week of pregnancy, the growth of the uterus causes it to extend past the navel. It is normal to experience an increase in weight of about 5 kilos.
The baby reaches about 25 centimeters from head to toe and weighs about 350 grams. As of this date, his brain will increase by about 90 grams per month.
Fetal changes: emotions appear
Physically, at this stage of pregnancy, the eyelids and eyebrows are formed. Only the eyelashes are missing.
The eyelids are still fused, so the baby cannot yet open his eyes. The shape of the lips is already well defined, and the teeth begin to form inside the gums.
On the other hand, now all the bones of the fetus contain bone marrow. The skin stores a fine layer of fat inside, which is essential to fully develop the nervous system. As this fat is stored, it becomes translucent, and the veins become less visible.
As of this week, the baby’s limbic system is in full development. This system is responsible for controlling feelings and emotions, which will allow the baby to experience changes in mood.
Over the next few weeks, the baby will be able to laugh, cry and even get angry inside the uterus.
Changes in the mother
In the 22nd week of pregnancy, fatigue will be much more pronounced. Breathing becomes deeper and the heart rate accelerates.
Back pain is also very common at this stage. Stretch marks may begin to appear, especially in the areas of the abdomen, thighs, hips and breasts.
The ankles and wrists can swell, especially at the end of the day, as the uterus slightly compresses the veins. This can cause heaviness in the legs and even tingling in the hands and feet. The increase in weight per week will continue to increase.
Besides noticing discomfort in the pubis and abdomen, it’s also common to feel that the belly gets hard. This is because the uterus contracts and relaxes sporadically throughout the day.
These contractions, called Braxton-Hicks contractions, help prepare the uterus and pelvis for future delivery.
At the mental level, it’s possible for the mother to get distracted more easily. This is known as “pregnancy brain.”
This loss of concentration is partly due to hormonal changes, and also partly due to the fact that the vital changes the woman is experiencing can “monopolize” all of her attention.
Because new mothers often experience a lack of sleep, pregnancy brain can last until the baby is one year old.
Advice and care in the 22nd week of pregnancy
In this week, the greatest discomfort will be caused by inflammation in the legs and feet, usually at the end of the day.
You can alleviate the swelling by stimulating circulation. To do this, stretch your legs while you are sitting, making small circular motions with your feet.
At least once every hour, get up and stretch. Putting your feet and hands in cold water with coarse salt will help to combat the feeling of heaviness in your extremities.
Additionally, to facilitate blood circulation, walk at least one hour daily at a brisk pace. At bedtime, place a cushion under your feet. This will favor circulation and allow you to rest better.
Pregnancy milestones: the heartbeat
As of week 22, the fetus’s heartbeat can be heard without having to resort to a Doppler ultrasound.
It can be done at home using a stethoscope, although it’s not always possible due to the baby’s movements and postures. In any case, the best sign of fetal viability is to feel him moving.
It is curious to hear the heartbeat of a baby, as it beats very quickly. An adult’s heart beats 60 to 80 times per minute, and the fetus doubles this, beating between 120 and 160 times per minute.
It’s important to have a urine and blood test at least once every quarter. In addition, in the prenatal visits, the belly will be measured to verify that it’s normal and healthy at all times.
It’s important to remember that bellies have different sizes and shapes, even during the same week of gestation. Therefore, there is a margin of error that is 2 centimeters above and below the established measurement.
In the 22nd week of pregnancy, a healthy belly will measure between 20 and 24 centimeters.