22 Weeks Pregnant: Baby Update

She has a slim figure, weighs about a pound and measures 10 inches from top to toe. She hasn’t put on much baby fat yet, so her skin will still appear very thin. Little hairs are growing on her head and eyebrows, too.

Her hands are practicing grasping. They will latch on to her ears or the thick umbilical cord that is floating all around in her little room. Her lungs are filled with fluid but she’s forming the tiny sacs that will eventually fill with air and allow her to breathe once she makes her debut appearance.

There’s plenty going on inside her head, too. Her taste buds are forming, and she will start to get used to the flavors that you enjoy. She can hear your voice and see light, even though her eyelids stay shut as the retina and lens develop. Her brain is growing faster than bread rising in the oven—it will increase 17 times in size by the time of delivery!

She also has her own sleep and wake rhythm and is snoozing a whopping 12 to 14 hours per day!

22 Weeks Pregnant: About Your Body

Have you popped yet? Unlike the rest of your abdomen, which is shielded by a strong layer of muscle, the belly button is just skin and fat, making it a weak spot. As your uterus (and baby) grow, they take up more and more room behind your belly button, turning your innie into an outie. This doesn’t happen to every mom and even when it does, it usually “pops” back in sometime after the birth. The skin on your belly button can be very sensitive (it’s been sheltered all these years!), so if it feels irritated, try protecting it with a little shea or cocoa butter and a Band-Aid.

Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

Between your growing baby and all the amniotic fluid you’re carrying around, there’s a lot of weight resting against your back and the rich network of nerves in your lower abdomen. That pressure can cause lower back pain and even sciatica, which is pain going down the back of your legs (along your sciatic nerve), and can feel like anything from a dull throb or tingle to really bothersome shooting pain.

If you are getting increasing pain, it is always best to check with your doctor/midwife. S/he will probably say it is best to avoid taking any medication. However, you may be recommended to try yoga (perhaps the child’s pose and cat-cow, which gently stretch the back of your body) or use a foam roller slowly rolled up and down under your lower back (the roller is pressed between your body and the floor or wall). Your doctor may also recommend mild chiropractic treatment, massage therapy and ice or heat packs to help reduce pain.

A Pregnancy To-Do List for Your 22nd Week

  1. Skip the Radiation

    Avoid any excess X-rays and make sure you ask for a lead apron to shield your baby if one is needed. Screenings at the airport are considered to be safe but it may be best to ask to be patted down, instead.

  2. Adjust Your Car Seat

    As your belly gets bigger, move the car seat as far back as it is comfortable to put more distance between you and the airbag. Always make sure to wear both the shoulder strap and lap belt of your seat belt. The lap belt should go under your belly and over your hips, never across your bump.

  3. Sit On An Exercise Ball

    A large, well-inflated exercise ball is a godsend. It stabilizes your core, can reduce back pain and opens up your pelvis. Size matters here: Use the right size for your height (5’3” and under use a 55cm ball; 5’4” to 5’8” use a 65cm ball; 5’8” and up use a 75cm ball). Once you’re sitting on it, your hips should be higher than your knees and your spine straight and slightly forward. Try gentle exercises like rocking your hips from side-to-side or rotating them in a figure eight. This practice will come in handy later on…for labor!

  4. Soak Your Beans, Nuts and Grains

    Beans, nuts and whole grains are important pregnancy foods, but they can be hard to digest. An overnight soak in water (called sprouting) is an easy way to make everything—brown rice, quinoa, black beans and almonds—more digestible and is said to increase nutrient absorption. Soaking also removes sugars that can cause gas. So, make sure to dump the soaking water and use new water when cooking.

Myth or Fact: Oral Sex Is Safe While Pregnant

Generally, oral sex is completely safe during pregnancy. Needless to say, you should avoid any sexual interaction if your partner has a cold sore or an STD—which should be treated right away. During pregnancy, orgasm can trigger Braxton Hicks contractions. This can feel weird but is totally normal and won’t bring on labor. If you have been put on bed rest or are at risk of preterm labor, it’s always best to ask your doctor about any sexual activity.

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