Your baby is the size of a papaya

22 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Feeling peckish? Maybe you’re not the only one. At around 22 weeks pregnant, you might now have a little gourmet living inside your bump!

Your little one’s taste buds are developing, and as certain flavours find their way into the amniotic fluid, he may be able to taste what you have just had for dinner.

Noshing out on wholesome foods while you’re pregnant not only keeps you and your foetus healthy, it can also help make your little one less of a fussy eater later on.

It might sound strange but what you eat now could influence your baby’s food preferences after he or she is born. This is another good reason to cut down on sweets and junk food.

If you’ve just had your 20-week ultrasound scan, you might have noticed your little one making little swallowing motions. This happens when your foetus takes small gulps of the amniotic fluid that surrounds him.

Most of the swallowed fluid will stay in his bowels and turn into meconium – a sticky, tar-like poo that will come out with your baby’s very first bowel movement after he or she is born.


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The Size of the Foetus at 22 Weeks Pregnant

Now that you’re 22 weeks pregnant, your foetus is about the size of a papaya, measuring close to 27.8 centimetres from head to toe, and weighing in at around 430 grams.

Check out this illustration to help you get a sense of what your little one might look like this week:

22 weeks pregnant

Mum’s Body at 22 Weeks Pregnant

At 22 weeks pregnant, you’re well into the second trimester. As your belly grows in size, more and more people around you probably know – or strongly suspect – that you’re pregnant, even if you haven’t told them.

When people start giving up their seat for you on public transport, commenting on your bump or asking how many months or weeks you’ve got left to go, it could make this new stage in your life seem all the more real for you.

Leaky breasts are another thing you might be experiencing at 22 weeks pregnant or a little later on – if you haven’t already, that is. If you notice any fluid dripping out of your nipples or leaving stains on your bra, this is probably colostrum – the first milk your body produces to feed your baby straight after birth.

Not everyone gets this kind of leakage, but it is perfectly normal if you do. In fact, it might help you feel a little more reassured that your breasts are gearing up to provide food for your little one when the time comes.

If you’re experiencing colostrum leaks, consider getting some breast pads to put in your bra to absorb the excess liquid. Some soft tissue paper also does the trick if you don’t have any to hand.

22 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing at 22 weeks pregnant:

  • Indigestion and heartburn. If you experience a burning sensation in your throat or chest during pregnancy, this could be indigestion, which you might also know as heartburn or acid reflux. Other symptoms include burping, nausea or bloating. Despite the name, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart! It happens when stomach acid moves up towards your throat. Anyone can suffer from indigestion, but it’s more common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In the second and third trimesters, heartburn can also be caused by your growing foetus squashing your stomach. Eating lots of smaller meals instead of a few big ones is one way of lowering the risk of indigestion. Staying upright after eating also helps. Spicy and rich foods, as well as caffeine-based drinks, can make your indigestion worse, so try cutting down on these. Talk to your doctor before taking any medicine for indigestion.

  • Feeling hot. You may be feeling a bit hot and sweaty at 22 weeks pregnant, as a result of hormonal changes and an increase in blood flow to your skin. Stay comfortable by freshening up with frequent showers and keeping your living space cool with a fan or air-conditioning. Wearing loose clothing made of natural, breathable fibres can also help.

  • Pelvic pain. If you’re experiencing pain in the lower pelvic area, sometimes accompanied by a clicking or grinding sensation, it might be a condition known as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, or PGP for short. The pain may intensify when you walk or go up and down stairs. PGP isn’t harmful to your foetus, and won’t usually prevent you from having a vaginal birth, but the longer you leave it without treatment the worse it can get. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action. Sometimes treatment involves wearing a pelvic support belt or using crutches to take the weight off your pelvic joints.

  • Abdominal pain. Mild stomach pains or cramps can be common and normal at 22 weeks pregnant but it might be a good idea to check in with your midwife or doctor about it, just in case. A sharp cramp in the side of your tummy, quite low down, can be what’s referred to as round ligament pain. This is caused by the ligaments in your body stretching to make room for your ever-expanding bump. Other causes of abdominal aches and twinges include constipation and wind. An irregular tightening in your tummy may be Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes known as ‘practice contractions’. These can be uncomfortable, but aren’t usually painful. It’s more common to feel them in the third trimester, but they might occur at any time during your pregnancy. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe or persistent pain, cramping or tightening at regular intervals, stomach pain with bleeding or spotting or an unusual vaginal discharge.

  • Stretch marks. Lots of mums-to-be get these striations on their skin. If you get stretch marks, they may seem very vivid when they first appear, but they usually fade away over time after you give birth, usually leaving a faint silvery trace. You can’t really do anything to prevent or eliminate stretch marks, but a non-scented moisturiser may help your skin retain its elasticity.

22 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • If you’ve been keeping your cards close to your chest, maybe it’s time to put the guessers out of their misery! Check out some of these fun ideas for announcing your pregnancy.

  • It’s probably safe to keep on having sex when you’re pregnant, as long as your pregnancy is normal and your doctor or midwife hasn’t advised against it. Keep in mind, you or your partner’s sex drive may change when your pregnant. This is perfectly normal. Many couples continue to enjoy lovemaking; others are less comfortable with the idea. The important thing is to keep talking to each other about your feelings. You might also have to experiment a little to find the best positions to suit your changing body shape.

  • If you’re working and haven’t told your boss that you’re pregnant yet, your growing bump might be making it harder and harder to keep secret. When you do reveal your news, your employer should do a risk assessment of your workplace to make sure your job isn’t putting you or your foetus in danger. Depending on your situation, you may have access to certain entitlements, including maternity leave. Ask your employer and midwife for information about what’s available to you.

  • Consider adding pelvic floor exercises to your daily routine. The beauty of these exercises is that you can do them almost anywhere – just clench and unclench the muscles that you squeeze to stop yourself from peeing. About 10-15 times in a session is enough at first, then you can increase the number and duration of clenches gradually as the muscles get stronger. This is great for strengthening the ‘deep stomach’ muscles that support your growing foetus, and taking some of the strain off your pelvis and back. Doing these muscle clenches regularly also stands you in good stead if you plan to give birth vaginally, as these muscles are very important during labour. Doing pelvic floor exercise can also lower your risk of incontinence after pregnancy.

  • Keep looking for those baby names! If you’re struggling to find inspiration or you have a shortlist but don’t know which way to go, consider throwing a baby naming party – perhaps your loved ones can help you make your mind up.

  • If you have other children, consider how you will let them know about the new arrival and think about how you would like to involve them in your pregnancy. Read our article on preparing the older sibling for a newborn for more on this topic.

  • Start planning your baby’s nursery and think about what changes need to be made to the existing room to make it comfortable for your baby. If your baby will be sharing the space with your toddler, read our article on creating a room for two.

  • Having a network of mums you can share stories with and get advice from can make your pregnancy and parenthood journey that much easier.

22 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Is your pregnancy weight gain reasonable at 22 weeks pregnant? If not, what can you do to get back on track?

  • Should you have a flu vaccination while you’re pregnant?

  • What should you do if you come into contact with someone who might have chickenpox?

22 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • If you now know your little one’s gender and would like to do a big reveal to family and friends, start organizing your gender reveal party. To help you out, check out our gender reveal ideas for boys and girls.

  • Start researching your options for where you’d like to give birth, by finding out what’s available locally. Whether you opt to have your baby in hospital, at home or in a birthing centre staffed by midwives, your decision is likely to be based on many different factors. Talk to your midwife and doctor about the pros and cons of the various birth locations, and how they fit in with your needs and circumstances.

  • If you’d like to, write a birth plan. This is basically a record of your preferences and choices for how you’d like things to take place during labour and after your baby’s birth. It could include where you want to give birth, what kind of pain relief you’d prefer and anything else that you feel is important. Your midwife can help you compile your birth plan. The process of writing your birth plan is a great opportunity for you to think your options through and for your midwife to get to know your preferences. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be flexible about your plan. The place where you give birth may not have the facilities to accommodate every request, and it’s impossible to predict how any birth will turn out. Complications or unexpected events could overwrite even the best-laid plans. Plus, it’s also possible you might change your preferences on the day.

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How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.