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Pregnancy

      22 Weeks Pregnant: Pregnancy Symptoms & Baby Development

      Read time: 4 minutes

      22 weeks pregnant is how many months?

      Month 5 (Trimester 2)

      Baby development at 22 weeks

      If you’re speaking to your bump, around now is when you’ll notice it responds.

      Your body

      Your growing baby could be piling on some pressure.

       

       

      Diet & nutrition

      Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin C.

      Baby development at 22 weeks

      What does my baby look like? What size is my baby?

      In week 22 of pregnancy, your baby will measure roughly 20cm from head to bottom (roughly the size of a coconut) and weigh around 450g.

      Your voice is the clearest thing he or she will hear during pregnancy1. Soon, your baby will start responding with sophisticated orienting movements1. Your baby is also beginning to make out other sounds, rhythms and melodies2,3. This is a good time to start talking to and, if feel like it, singing to your baby. Studies have shown that, just hours after birth, babies show a preference for their mother’s voice1.

      The other sense that’s developing is taste4. Your diet can influence what your baby will eat when born, so it’s best to avoid passing on a taste for junk food. Tuck into plenty of fresh veg that’s rich in vitamin C.

      Your baby’s well ahead of the game and already producing their adult teeth. They line up behind their milk teeth, although teething doesn’t usually start until they’re about six months old.1

      Pregnancy at 22 weeks (second trimester)

      What’s happening in my body?

      The most noticeable change spotted by others will be your growing bump. Yet some mums struggle to see anything other than the stretch marks that can appear. They affect around 80% of pregnant women6 and ‘pregnancy stripes’ are something you should be proud of.

      After birth, they fade to a light silver mark, but won’t completely vanish. There’s no need to waste money on ‘miracle cures’. Un-perfumed moisturiser or body oil is fine: just massage it gently into the affected areas.

      The pregnancy hormone progesterone is also piling on the pressure4. Literally. It’s responsible for piles4 - or haemorrhoids - which are common in pregnancy. Progesterone relaxes the walls of blood vessels in your rectum, and with a growing baby pushing against the same blood vessels, they can swell up as piles.

      To ease piles, eat plenty of high fibre foods, including wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of fluids to keep your stools soft and regular. Hold a cloth dipped in iced water against your piles to ease pain, and ensure you talk to your doctor or midwife before using medication7.

      Pregnancy symptoms at 22 weeks

      You may still be feeling the effects of raised oestrogen and progesterone from your first trimester. If they’re affecting how you’re feeling emotionally8, get plenty of rest and light exercise to keep you feeling like yourself.

      Pains on the side of your belly are caused by your expanding womb (and also referred to as ‘round ligament pains’). To treat them, put your feet up and rest9.

      It usually strikes at night, so make sure you turn a light on if you stand up to help clear it. You don’t want to trip and fall. Gentle exercise for your legs, ankles and feet may help prevent cramp.

      Sleep on your side, and use pillows to support your bump and any aching muscles. Also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees10.

      Those hormones are the likely culprits. Paracetamol is usually safe to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but always at the lowest effective dose, and for the shortest possible time.11

      These digestive problems are caused by your baby growing into some of the space your stomach occupies, and your changing hormones.12

      Focus on Vitamin C

      As well as boosting your own immune system, vitamin C will also boost that of your baby. Vitamin C protects and keeps cells healthy, and supports both the immune and nervous system. Vitamin C also helps your baby absorb iron, which supports cognitive function13.

      The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of vitamin C for pregnancy is 40mg each day - with an extra 10mg per day in the last trimester14.

      THE
      SCIENCE
      BEHIND

      VITAMIN C

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      Vitamin C is needed by your baby to help create collagen, a protein that creates the connective tissue that helps give your baby’s body its structure, while supporting their developing organs. Collagen also underpins teeth, skin, gums, cartilage, bones and blood vessels, and your baby’s wound healing ability15.

      Vitamin C is also important for ‘non-haem’ iron absorption. There are two forms of iron: one from animal products and ‘non-haem’ iron, from plants. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from plants16, further reducing the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia, which can affect your own health and your baby’s development17. Improving non-haem iron absorption from plants further builds up your baby’s iron stores to support learning and growth in their first six months of life18.

      1. Voegtline KM, et al. Near-term fetal response to maternal spoken voice. Infant Behav Dev. 2013;36(4):526–533.
      2. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. p. 262.
      3. NHS UK. You and your baby at 18 weeks pregnant [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/18-weeks-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: July 2018. Next review due: July 2021
      4. NHS UK. Start4life. Week 22 - your second trimester. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-22/ [Accessed December 2019]
      5. Babycentre. Your pregnancy at 22 weeks. [Online] Available at: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/s1001619/your-pregnancy-at-22-weeks [Accessed December 2019]
      6. NHS UK. Stretch marks in pregnancy. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/stretch-marks-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 2 August 2019. Next review due: 2 August 2022.
      7. NHS UK. Piles in pregnancy. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/piles-haemorrhoids-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 22 January 2018. Next review due: 22 January 2021.
      8. Reproductive hormone sensitivity and risk for depression across the female life cycle: A continuum of vulnerability? Claudio N. Soares and Brook Zitek. First published: J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2008 Jul; 33(4): 331–343. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440795/
      9. NHS UK. Start4life. Week 15 - your second trimester. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-15/ [Accessed December 2019]
      10. NHS UK. Start4life. Week 19 - your second trimester. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-19/ [Accessed December 2019]
      11. NHS UK. Can I take paracetamol when I'm pregnant? [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/can-i-take-paracetamol-when-i-am-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 1 June 2018. Next review due: 1 June 2021.
      12. NHS UK. Start4life. Week 25 - your second trimester. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-25/ [Accessed December 2019]
      13. NHS UK. Vitamins for children. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-for-children/ Page last reviewed: February 2018. Next review due: February 2021
      14. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. TSO: London, 1991.
      15. Maggini S et al. Essential Role of Vitamin C and Zinc in Child Immunity and Health. J Int Med Res 2010;38:386-414
      16. British Nutrition Foundation. Minerals and trace elements. [Online] Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/minerals-and-trace-elements.html?start=8 [Accessed December 2019]
      17. NHS UK. Iron deficiency anaemia. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/iron-deficiency-anaemia/ Page last reviewed: January 2018. Next review due: January 2021
      18. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.

      Last reviewed: 13th January 2020
      Reviewed by Nutricia’s Medical and Scientific Affairs Team

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