Welcome to Week 22 of Your Pregnancy!
What’s Happening With You During Week 22 (5th Month)?
As the weeks of your pregnancy go by, you might notice the numbers on the scale adding up. There is no need to worry as this is healthy and normal. It’s typical to gain half a pound a week ( .2 kilograms) from here on out.
The fundus, or the top of the uterus, is now an inch above your navel which places more pressure on the lungs. So along with this change and your added weight gain you may feeling some shortness of breath this week. Try sitting taller, standing straighter with your shoulders back, try deep breathing exercises or lying stretched out on your left side to promote blood flow. The reason we suggest lying on your left is so that you alleviate any pressure on the main vain that takes blood back to your heart. This vein is positioned on your right side, so if you lie on your left it should help.
As your uterus grows with your rounded belly you are finally looking, and certainly feeling, pregnant! As you grow, your lower back may begin to ache due hormones in your body. In addition to estrogen and progesterone, relaxin, a hormone that behaves just as it sounds, relaxes the muscles and ligaments throughout the body, preparing you for birth.
Your sacrum which is located at the lower end of your spine have ligaments, those that affix the pelvis to the spine, loosen, and may cause the lower back to ache. Heartburn is also attributed to relaxin—and you thought it was simply because your baby has a thick head of hair!
The sphincter muscle, the ring at the top of the stomach, becomes looser, secreting acids back into the esophagus and producing that gnawing burn after you eat. The myriad of hormones racing through your body are also responsible for sensitive and growing breasts, darker areolas, fewer bowel movements inevitably causing constipation, sensitive gums that may bleed when brushed and even leg cramps. Wow there really is a lot going on.
Not only are hormones becoming more and more prevalent, but your blood volume has increased as well. You might be experiencing thicker vaginal discharge due to increased blood flow in that area of the body and to add insult to injury, nosebleeds can be common for some pregnant women as the veins swell with the extra blood. Varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swelling in the ankles, feet, and possibly the hands and face, stretch marks, hair growth in unusual places, a protruding belly-button and pelvic cramping—don’t panic! The uterine muscles are cramping due to the baby’s growth and false contractions are among the many symptoms that you may encounter.
Aside from the physical indicators of pregnancy, there are emotional side effects as well: absentmindedness, continued mood swings including (but not limited to) weepiness and irritability and possible anxiety about the pregnancy and birth being that you’ve already made it to the halfway point. There is good news. Emotions begin to mellow at this stage if they have not already.You will most likely enjoy a spike in your energy levels; therefore, use the second trimester as a time to finish shopping for the baby, prepare the nursery and tie up loose ends at work. Enjoy this time with your little one, feeling him kick, punch, tumble and twist in the safety of your womb.
Not only is your baby working on coordination and strength with constant movement (probably at night), she is actually beginning to take the form of a baby, a one pound (about .5 kilograms), 8-10 inch (20-25 centimeters) bundle of joy, to be exact. The eyes may still be fused shut but they they are formed complete with eyelids and eyebrows and ready to continue developing. In fact, your baby can detect and react to light penetrating the uterine walls. Your little melon practices grasping, a reflex that babies display at birth, by grabbing onto the umbilical cord. As for the sense of hearing, he is busy listening to your voice, your partner’s voice, and your bodily sounds— heartbeat, digestion, blood flow—as well as loud sounds outside of your belly such as the TV, car horns and even music, so get him hooked on your favorite tunes now. You can also expose Baby to your favorite foods. Believe it or not, some of your choice flavors can permeate the amniotic fluid that he consumes.
Senses are not the only advancements being made. The pancreas, which aids in the development of hormones (yes, those very things giving you so much trouble these days), is forming; teeth are detectible below the gum-line; and lanugo, a fine, downy hair that covers your little bambino from head-to-toe continues to grow. She is practicing sucking and swallowing and has probably mastered yawning and hiccupping (look out for rhythmic pulsing or bumping in your belly to detect hiccups). Your baby is even settling into sleep cycles, sleeping a whopping total of at least 12 to 14 hours per day.
Here are a few tips for this week.
• Schedule this month’s check-up if you have not already. The doctor will continue to monitor urine, blood pressure, and weight. He or she will also check the fetal heartbeat, the height of the fundus, feel (from the outside) the shape and size of the uterus and will address any questions that you may have.
• Schedule an ultrasound (usually takes place between 18-22 weeks) if you have not already had one. The medical staff will use this to intricately view the baby’s anatomy and watch out for any abnormalities that may occur.
• Arrange for a glucose screening test any time between twenty-four and twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy.
Well, that is it for week 22! if you have any questions or comments please let us know or join us in the forums. I can’t wait to tell you what’s happening in week 23!
Until then, enjoy this pregnancy journey of yours….These are the precious moments our lives are made of.