Week 22 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 22

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

At 22 weeks, you are more than halfway through your pregnancy. You may now be able to hear your baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope. You may also feel your first, mild, practice contractions.

22 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 5 months and 2 weeks

Which Trimester? Second trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 18 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 22 Weeks

At 22 weeks, a baby is typically over 7 1/2 inches (19.2 centimeters) from the top of the head to the bottom of the buttocks (known as the crown-rump length). The baby's height is approximately 10 3/4 inches (27.4 centimeters) from the top of the head to the heel (crown-heel length). This week, the baby weighs around 16 3/4 ounces or just over a pound (476 grams).

At 22 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the length of a lovie blanket
Verywell / Bailey Mariner 

Eye Developments

The baby’s tear ducts are developing.

Heartbeat

By 22 weeks, the baby's heartbeat can usually be heard through a stethoscope. You can tell the difference between mom and baby's heartbeat by the number of beats in a minute. An adult's heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The baby's heart beats faster and will be between 110–160 beats per minute.

Making Strong Bones

The baby is growing rapidly and taking in more calcium for healthy development, especially of the bones and teeth. The skeleton continues to harden.

Movements

Baby's hands can now move independently. Baby can touch one hand with the other, cross the hands, and can even grasp the umbilical cord.

Explore a few of your baby's week 22 milestones in this interactive experience.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 10

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.

5:37

How to Deal With Unwanted Pregnancy Advice

Your Common Symptoms This Week

During the second trimester, you may be experiencing leg cramps, forgetfulness, food cravings, nasal congestion, or skin changes. A new symptom that you may begin to feel this week is the tightening of the uterus.

Uterine Contractions

Your uterus is contracting, but you might not notice it. Braxton Hicks contractions begin as early as 20 weeks, and they become more common as pregnancy progresses.

Braxton Hicks contractions are a tightening of the muscles in the uterus. When the muscles get tight, your belly may feel hard. These contractions are normal. They are typically mild and irregular, but they can feel strong.

Braxton Hicks contractions are often considered "practice contractions." They aren't dangerous. However, it's important to know the difference between these practice contractions and the real thing:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular while labor contractions are more predictable in their pattern. Real labor pains get stronger and more frequent over time.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are not accompanied by other symptoms, while labor contractions may be joined by back pain, vaginal bleeding, or a gush of fluid.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions tend to go away with movement or exercise, but true labor continues.

Self-Care Tips

You have a better chance of staying healthy during pregnancy if you get a little exercise, stay within the recommended guidelines for weight gain, take your prenatal vitamins, attend all of your prenatal appointments, and follow your doctor or midwife's advice.

This week you can take a closer look at your diet to be sure it's balanced and includes enough calcium. You may also want to think about how you feel about others discussing or touching your body.

Setting Boundaries

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 not mind it at all and feel flattered or excited by these gestures. But, it could make you feel uncomfortable or intruded upon.

What Experts Say

“That can be especially true if you have a history of body image issues or abuse. 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.' This way, you can both acknowledge people’s good intentions, but also communicate an appropriate personal request and boundary.”

—Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD

Either reaction is OK, of course. It is also perfectly acceptable to tell people that you’re uncomfortable with their commentary or actions.

Getting Your Calcium

Your baby needs calcium to build strong bones. The amount of calcium that the baby needs increases in the second half of pregnancy. If you don't get enough calcium from your diet, your baby will take it out of your bones.

Experts recommend that pregnant women over the age of 18 get 1,000mg of calcium each day. You should take your prenatal vitamin and try to get enough calcium in your daily diet by choosing calcium-rich foods like:

  • Canned salmon or sardines
  • Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy
  • Fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals, bread, and tofu
  • Low-fat dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream (or almonds and almond milk as a non-dairy alternative)

Your Week 22 Checklist

Advice for Partners

While childbirth classes are always at the top of the mind (for good reason), you may also want to look into newborn care classes, parenting classes, and infant CPR training. These classes cover the basics like diapering, bathing, and feeding. But perhaps more importantly, they can help you and your partner feel empowered.

What Experts Say

“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.”

—Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD

It can be overwhelming to have a newborn, especially if it's your first baby. It can be difficult for you and your partner to think clearly when you have this new responsibility—all while you're sleep-deprived. But, by going into your new situation with some information and a little newborn knowledge, it may reduce your stress and boost your confidence.

You can find out about classes by asking your healthcare provider for recommendations or speaking to someone at your hospital or birthing center.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If you are scheduled for prenatal testing, this week is typically the last week to have a few tests, including:

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Special Considerations

High blood pressure is a health condition that some moms have before they become pregnant, but sometimes it develops during pregnancy.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure or force of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart pumps. It is written as two numbers: The top number is the systolic pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for pressure is millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Healthy blood pressure is classified as systolic levels of less than 120 mmHg and diastolic levels less than 80 mmHg (written as >120/80 mmHg or spoken as "less than 120 over 80"). When the blood pressure is higher than the healthy guideline two separate times at least four hours apart, it is called hypertension.

Doctors classify hypertension in several stages:

  • Elevated: Systolic levels ranging from 120 to 129 mmHg AND diastolic levels less than 80 mmHg
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic levels ranging from 130 to 139 mmHg AND/OR diastolic levels at 80 to 89 mmHg
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic levels 140 mmHg or higher AND/OR diastolic levels 90 mmHg or higher
  • Stage 3 Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic levels higher than 180 mmHg AND/OR diastolic levels above 120 mmHg

High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

High blood pressure affects about 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies. During pregnancy, there are two main types of high blood pressure.

  • If you had high blood pressure before you become pregnant or before 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is called chronic hypertension.
  • If you develop high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, it's called gestational or pregnancy-related hypertension.

Complications

Untreated hypertension can cause problems for moms and babies during pregnancy, including:

Treatment

Treatment of high blood pressure during pregnancy depends on the type of high blood pressure you have, your blood pressure levels, and your symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Monitoring your blood pressure more often either at the office or at home
  • Regular blood tests and urine tests
  • Referral to a cardiologist or a perinatologist
  • Medication
  • Monitoring the baby's growth through ultrasound

Concerning Symptoms

High blood pressure is often a silent condition that doesn't necessarily have any symptoms. However, there are symptoms that could mean your blood pressure is getting worse or developing into preeclampsia, such as:

  • Severe headache or a headache that will not go away
  • Problems with your vision like seeing spots
  • Swelling in your hands or face
  • Quickly gaining weight
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing issues

A Word From Verywell

Your belly is growing higher, and by week 22 the top of your uterus (known as the fundus) is now above your belly button. Your uterus may even occasionally feel hard for a few seconds as you being to experience practice contractions.

Inside the uterus, your baby is continuing to grow and gain weight. If you hold a 1-pound bag of coffee or a pound of butter, you can feel just how much your baby weighs this week. Next week is the last week of your fifth month.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD. Email and Phone Communications. October, December 2017.