Welcome to your week 22 pregnancy update where we outline the changes you and your baby are experiencing.
During week 22 your baby’s skin will make the transformation from being translucent to opaque. No longer will you be able to see everything underneath all of that skin. It will become cloudy, but remain red. The skin will appear red until the fat, which is white, builds under the skin layers. Then the skin will turn from red to pink, and then to a very light pink or white if they are Caucasian. The skin will be very wrinkly under the thick coating of vernix, until the fat fills it out and pushes the wrinkles out. Baby is 27.8cm long and weighs 430 grams.
Your baby’s brain is advanced enough to sense touch and taste and if you could look inside your womb, you might see her enjoying sucking her thumb and stroking her face. She will be able to tell sweet tastes from bitter, and if you put pressure on your tummy she may just squiggle and squirm in response.
Her heartbeat is getting stronger and is now loud enough to be heard with a normal stethoscope. Her digestive system is getting better every day, and she’s now absorbing water from the amniotic fluid that she swallows and her kidneys are beginning to function.
The vital link between baby’s brain and her spinal cord is maturing and all those nerve cells make vigorous connections, making baby capable of recognising warmth, light, sound and pain. While primitive brain waves have been detected in unborn babies as early as 7 weeks, it is not until 22 weeks that sustained patterns like these can definitely be recorded.
Baby probably likes to be in what’s called the ‘transverse position’ as she grows bigger – she probably lies crossways with her feet and bottom on one side of your belly and head on the other side. Baby’s placenta is now processing about 1 litre of blood per hour and by 40 weeks this will increase to about 12 litres per hour.
Just like adults, all babies are different and develop at varying rates in the womb. This information gives a general idea of your baby’s development and progress.
The Mum Update
Your uterus is now about 2cm above your bellybutton and your enlarging abdomen is not too large and doesn’t get in your way much. You’re still able to bend over, sit and walk comfortably. Morning sicknesss has probably passed, although some women suffer chronic morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) for the entire pregnancy.
Are you having short periods of light-headedness? Maybe even feeling a little dizzy when you stand up? These are very common symptoms during a pregnancy. When you move positions, for instance if you stand up quickly after sitting for a long period, you may be light headed. This is because so much of your blood is centered around your uterus and with your growing size, it may not be able to move through your system as quickly as it used to. To prevent this from happening make sure you change positions slowly. You can also sit with your legs propped up to help with circulation, so that when you do stand up, your circulation has a head start.