Week 22 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Welcome to week 22 of your pregnancy. This week, your growing baby will finally look a lot like a newborn, just much smaller.

week 22 pregnancy highlights
Illustration by Verywell

Your Trimester: Second trimester

Weeks to Go: 18

You This Week

Just two weeks ago, the top of your uterus was sitting flush with your belly button. This week, it’s already about two centimeters north. Your uterus is doing more than simply inching higher and higher up your abdomen. In fact, many women begin to feel their uterus contract around this time. These early, irregular, and painless contractions, called Braxton Hicks, are simply your uterus’ way of practicing for delivery. While these pre-game contractions aren't dangerous, know that if their intensity increases, or if they become painful or frequent, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Your Baby This Week

By week 22 of pregnancy, baby’s tear ducts have started to develop, and his or her completely formed eyes are very likely moving rapidly behind still-shut lids. (Baby’s eyelids will finally open in about six weeks.) Baby’s iris, the colored portion of the eye, is still free of pigment, however. In fact, the pigmentation process won’t even be complete at birth. Instead, you’ll need to wait until your baby is at least nine months old to know his or her permanent eye color.

In other exciting news: Your baby-to-be’s brain and nerve endings are mature enough that he or she can now feel touch. As such, your baby is now busily exploring this new sense by caressing his or her face and body.

By week’s end, your baby will be almost 10 inches long and weigh around 14 ounces. His or her growing body is still pretty wrinkly, though. Don’t worry: Baby has 18 more weeks to steadily put on pounds that will smooth things out.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If you’ve yet to complete the final portion of your three-part integrated screening for Down syndrome and neural tube defects, this is the week to get it done. This test involves an ultrasound performed around 12 weeks, followed by blood tests in the first and second trimesters.

This is also the last week in which your healthcare provider can offer cordocentesis, also known as percutaneous umbilical blood sampling. This is a diagnostic Down syndrome test that examines blood extracted from the umbilical cord. Because this test carries a greater risk of miscarriage than both amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), it’s only suggested if those tests yielded inconclusive results. Even then, know that getting it is entirely your choice.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Sometime between week 24 and week 28, your healthcare provider will give you a glucose screening that detects gestational diabetes, which is high blood sugar that begins during pregnancy. In some cases, you may need to refrain from eating or drinking anything (besides sips of water) for eight to 14 hours before your test and from start to finish, depending on if your healthcare provider is offering one- or two-step testing. Call ahead to find out.

Taking Care

As your pregnant belly grows, so does the attention you receive. Loved ones, friends, coworkers, and, yes, strangers often remark on—and touch—your body freely. You may feel flattered or excited by these gestures, but you also may feel uncomfortable or intruded upon. “That can be especially true if you have a history of body image issues or abuse,” says Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD, a reproductive and perinatal psychologist at the Seleni Institute, a nonprofit organization that specializes in women’s maternal and reproductive mental health.

Either reaction is OK, of course—and so is telling people that you’re uncomfortable with their commentary or actions. “In these moments, it’s completely appropriate to set a boundary and to say something like, Thank you so much for your good wishes, but I'm not comfortable with others touching me,” says Dr. Brofman. “This way, you can both acknowledge people’s good intentions, but also communicate an appropriate personal request and boundary.”

For Partners

While birthing classes are always top of mind (for good reason), it’s also a good idea to look into newborn care/parenting classes and infant CPR training. These classes cover basics like diapering, bathing, and feeding. But perhaps more importantly, they can help you and your partner feel empowered.

“Many new parents and parents-to-be seem to feel that they should know what to do with a new baby. Or, they may even receive messages from others about how they should just follow their instincts about what their baby needs. But these messages can leave parents feeling helpless,” says Dr. Brofman. Think of it this way: When you and your partner are feeling overwhelmed and sleep deprived, it can be difficult to think clearly. But having concrete information beforehand, like newborn care knowledge, can help reduce your stress and boost your confidence.

Ask your healthcare provider for class recommendations, or speak to someone at your hospital or birthing center.

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.
  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to fast for your upcoming glucose screening.
  • Look into newborn care classes.
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