Your pregnancy: 22 weeks

You're probably feeling pretty good these days. Your waistline may have vanished but most likely you can still bend over easily, sit comfortably, and walk without effort.

Felt hot dog used to show how big baby is at 22 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 22 weeks

By the end of this week, you’ll officially be five months pregnant! Want to hear something nuts? Your baby is now the size of a hot dog, and she has been doing a lot of growing this week. Her fingernails now cover the tips of her fingers, the bones of her inner ear have developed enough to clearly register vibrations (like your voice—it’s less muffled now), and her heartbeat is now strong enough to be detected by a stethoscope. By 22 weeks pregnant, the average baby is almost 28 centimetres (11 inches) long, and she probably weighs over 15 ounces (425 grams). No wonder you’re beginning to feel like she is cramping your space.

22 weeks pregnant symptoms

Oh so achy
Your baby at 22 weeks is now big enough to put some serious strain on your body. Since your lungs may now be restricted by your growing belly, you might be finding it tough to catch your breath at times and your back might be killing you (some tips to help with back pain here), especially at the end of a long day. Be sure to take care of yourself: Stop and rest whenever needed, take soothing baths in the evenings to help relieve aching muscles and joints, and put your feet up whenever you can, especially if you’re dealing with swelling, which is also known as pregnancy edema. 

Caused by an increased amounts of fluids in your body, pregnancy edema is pretty common. You’ll likely notice that your feet are often a bit swollen, especially after standing, and that your hands are a bit puffy, too. (Word to the wise: If your rings are feeling tight, take them off now before it’s too late!) Minor swelling is totally normal, but severe or sudden swelling, especially in the face, is not. This can signal a potentially dangerous complication called pre-eclampsia and should be reported to your practitioner right away.

My shoes don’t fit!
Sure, some swelling can cause those tootsies to expand, but that’s not the only reason your shoes don’t fit anymore. The hormone relaxin (the one that loosens up your pelvis to make room for baby during delivery) can also cause ligaments to stretch in your feet, allowing bones to spread. Many women experience an increase of a half or full shoe size, and usually it’s here to stay. If you need to update your shoe wardrobe, we suggest sticking to super-comfy, easy-to-slip-on styles for the remainder of your pregnancy because soon you’ll have trouble seeing your feet, let alone bending down to deal with laces or buckles. If you plan on babywearing a lot, you’ll want non-fussy footwear postpartum as well.

Bringing sexy back
Some moms-to-be report a spike in sex drive around this point in their pregnancy. It’s not surprising because your hormones are totally raging at this point. All the new-found attention that you and your cute bump are getting everywhere you go (yes, plenty of visibly pregnant women get catcalled—you’ll see!) could also have you feeling pretty fine. Whatever the exact cause, if you’re into it, go with it! 

What’s on your mind this week

Labour plan
Now that you’ve gotten used to the idea that there really is a baby on the way, you’re probably starting to think about how she is actually going to get here. Deciding what kind of labour you want is an important part of getting ready for baby. Have you decided whether you want to deliver at home (see below), in a hospital or at a birth centre and discussed this with your practitioner? Next, you’ll be thinking about how to manage the pain. Your options go way beyond drugs versus drug-free (sometimes also referred to as a “medicated birth” versus a “natural birth”—a very loaded term). Massage, acupuncture, “toning” and tub soaking in mid-labour are all possibilities on the labour pain management spectrum. And, more often than not, it all depends on your personal preferences, how complicated your pregnancy is, the health of you and your baby and the length of your labour.

illustration of the Google homepage with the words Labour Right Now typed into the search barConfession: My home birth sucked

Having a home birth
If you’re in good health and have had a low-risk pregnancy (with no evidence of pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes), you could be a candidate for a home birth. According to advocates of birthing at home, there are lots of pluses: You can labour in the comfort of your own space, be surrounded by as many loved ones as you wish and avoid potentially unnecessary medical interventions. And you don’t have to schlep home afterwards.

If you’re hoping for a home birth, you’ll need to plan it with your midwife, so start the conversation early. (It should be noted that choosing a midwife doesn’t mean that you’re opting for a home birth. Only about 25 to 30 percent of midwifery clients in Ontario opt for home births.)

Women who have had significant postpartum hemorrhaging with a previous birth or delivered by C-section previously are not good candidates for home births. Women who have elevated blood pressure or are carrying twins will also need to deliver in a hospital.

Just for kicks

Plan a babymoon!
You’ve seen them all over social media: cute couples posing on beaches and taking selfies showcasing their growing baby bumps. If you’re contemplating a mini-holiday before your mini-me arrives, now’s the time to do it. You’ve probably past the morning sickness stage, wrapped up any genetic testing and completed your mid-pregnancy scan, so you’ve got a break from all those doctor/midwife visits. Plus, this tends to be the sweet spot in pregnancy, where you’re feeling energetic and excited about your baby—it’s the perfect time to travel! Hop a last-minute flight to somewhere exotic but Zika-free (you should be free to fly until about weeks 34 to 36), drive out of town to a B&B or book a few days off work for a relaxing staycation. Whatever you decide, enjoy this special time with your partner (and your older child, if this is your second pregnancy) before the baby arrives. 

Baby names

Everyone wants their kids to be successful in life right? Here are some names that will inspire achievement (or so says this expert).

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 22

Book a photographer
If you’re considering a professional bump portrait (also known as a maternity shoot), now is the time to research photographers and set a date. The end of the second trimester is your best bet for looking your big-bellied (but not too swollen and miserable) best. You might want to choose a photographer who could also document your delivery and post-delivery moments (if you’re interested in hiring a birth photographer), as well as some newborn portraits. Pick a professional with great references and lots of experience to guarantee the best keepsakes.

And just for a few laughs, check out these ridiculous pregnancy stock images. This is totally what your pregnancy looks like right?

Water birth

Read more:
How the Zika virus is changing family travel plans
Will I be able to have a VBAC?
Next up: 23 weeks pregnant

 

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