Your pregnancy week-by-week: week 22

Your baby is around 27cm from head to toe now, about the size of a sweet potato and weighs around 430g.

Your baby

Many little changes are happening right now. Your baby is developing creases on her palms and she can now feel other bits of her body and know that parts are connected. Her brain is mature enough for her to investigate anything she touches.

Your little one is starting to build an immune system to act as a natural defence against infection. Her lungs are growing quickly now and the air sacs (alveoli ducts) keep budding. In four weeks’ time, the alveoli will be surrounded by tiny blood vessels so that oxygen can pass from the air sacs into the blood. Before birth her lungs are full of fluid, which contains lots of chloride, a bit of protein and some mucus. Not far off birth she will start producing ‘surfactant’, a remarkable chemical that stops the air sacs collapsing when she breathes in and out.

In her mouth, canine and incisor tooth buds have appeared just below the gums ready to emerge as milk teeth a few months after birth.

At the moment, your baby’s preferred position in the womb is probably ‘transverse’ – lying across your tummy – but she will change position all the time.

You

You’re about four months and four weeks into your pregnancy now, and soon it’ll be countdown time. For some mums-to-be, it can take until now for reality to hit home. You may wonder how you’ll deal with parenting challenges, or the process of the birth. Having a baby is a huge deal and so it’s natural to question these things, so that you can make sense of it. Remember that you can talk your feelings through with your partner, friends, family or midwife – you aren’t expected to do this all by yourself!

From this week through to 26 weeks your uterus will continue to grow up past your navel. You may be starting to feel a little breathless and not have as much lung capacity as you usually do. Nature has been generous though. Your whole ribcage will move upwards so it’s more out of the way and your bottom ribs will adjust sideways. Much like those stretchy pants you’re wearing really.

Are perfect strangers coming up and touching your bump?! Don’t be afraid to ask people not to, if you’re not happy with this uninvited attention. People are often very happy for your situation and, in spite of themselves, can get a bit over-familiar!

You might want to make some changes now, whilst you aren’t busy with changing nappies and feeding, to your set-up at home. Where will you put your crib or moses basket? Will you have a changing mat upstairs and downstairs to make nappy changes easier? Think of where you might feed your baby, and whether there is space for a chair. Perhaps a side table or near a surface where you can put your phone and drinks if you get stuck in one position!

A changing unit is very handy if you have back problems but it isn’t essential. Although have a think about how you can store wipes, nappies, cream etc close by to make things easier for you. You might want to buy a basket to put all the essentials in so you can easily transport it around with you.

For the next four weeks, your uterus will continue to grow up past your navel. You may start to feel a little breathless but your body will change to allow more lung capacity – the whole ribcage will move upwards and your bottom ribs will adjust sideways.

Your partner

Friends and family might be so excited about your upcoming arrival that they’re talking about things they want to buy for baby. It might help to put together a list of essentials and perhaps nice-to-haves to help them with their purchases.

 

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