Pregnancy Tracker: Week 22

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 22




At 22 weeks you may be feeling a little ‘tight’ in the abdomen. Your uterus is growing at a rapid rate as baby’s development escalates. Your earlier symptoms of nausea and morning sickness have abated or disappeared completely, leaving you with a healthy appetite, which means that you are putting on a bit of weight. 

Your uterus is about 2.5cm above the belly button and you have a definite bulge showing. Many people are intrigued by the shape of the pregnant body, and you may find perfect strangers coming up to you to touch or rub your tummy. Well and good if you welcome this attention, but if not, you can try to control the situation by asking them firmly and gently not to touch you, or by turning away.  This is your body, your situation, and you are not obliged to share it with anyone you don’t wish to.

Your baby’s development continues at a rapid pace

Your precious cargo is about the size of a coconut, weighing in at 450g and measuring 28cm from head to heel. A layer of fat is forming under the skin, which will help to keep baby warm.  Taste buds and sweat glands are developing, as well as nerve endings, which result in baby starting to experiment with touch by groping and feeling whatever is available - own face, ears nose or the umbilical cord.

If you could take a peep inside your uterus you would delight in seeing lips, fingernails, eyebrows and eyelashes, which all contribute to making your baby look more like a cute little newborn!

Baby’s eyes are still closed, and will remain so until birth, but despite this, vision is developing, and your baby can tell the difference between light and dark.  Shining a beam on your abdomen sometimes results in baby moving about!

As hearing progresses, your baby will be able to process your bodily sounds, like your heartbeat, breathing and gurgling tummy.  Keep talking and singing to your baby so your voice becomes a familiar comfort.

Pregnancy signs and symptoms at 22 weeks


Even if you have never suffered from pimples before, pregnancy acne is very common and can appear at any time, although not all mums-to-be are affected.  Outbreaks can be pinned to a surge of pregnancy hormones, in particular progesterone, which is responsible for glands producing more sebum (oil) which can clog the pores and cause a bacterial infection.

Do not take any medication unless authorized by your doctor, as some acne treatments like isotretinoin (a retinoid) are highly dangerous and can cause birth defects. Ask which topical treatments are safe to use during pregnancy.

Following a good skincare regime can help reduce or prevent an outbreak of acne:

  • Avoid over-washing as this can strip your skin of its natural moisture, which will cause oil glands to work harder at producing more oil.
  • Do not scrub your face roughly or squeeze pimples as this can possibly cause infection to spread and/or scarring.
  • Use a gentle, medicated, soap-free face cleanser morning and night and pat the face dry.
  • Moisturise with an oil-free lotion.
  • Keep your face clean by washing your hair regularly, changing pillowcases frequently, and avoid touching your face.
  • Use oil-free skin products and makeup.
  • SPF 30 is a must when going outside, and ensure it is oil-free.
  • Boost your natural intake of Vitamin A by eating plenty of fish, eggs and carrots but avoid supplements as an excess amount could have a detrimental effect on baby.
  • Stick to a healthy diet, cutting back on refined foods and sugar.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.

Spider veins

These veins are likely to appear during this stage of pregnancy partly due to the increased blood volume and because the uterus is getting bigger and putting pressure on your veins. Spider veins are tiny blood vessels that lie just under the surface of your skin and can usually be seen on the face and legs. They differ from varicose veins in that they are not very thick and don’t cause the skin to bulge out. Exercise and resting with legs elevated can help prevent or reduce these spider veins, or if they are bad, wearing compression stockings may help.


Edema (swelling) is to be expected at some stage of pregnancy; you have an increased blood volume, you retain water and your uterus is putting extra pressure on veins, resulting in a sluggish return of blood from the legs. The good news is that all this swelling will disappear soon after birth. But right now you need to keep a watch out for signs that could indicate pre-eclampsia or DVT (deep vein thrombosis):

  • Sudden or severe swelling in feet or ankles
  • One leg more swollen than the other
  • Severe swelling of face and hands

Enlarged feet

It is interesting to observe that the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which loosens ligaments in the pelvis to prepare you for labour and childbirth, cannot discriminate between different areas of the body, and acts on ALL ligaments, including those in the feet.  As the ligaments are relaxed, the bones in the feet spread and you may find that your feet increase in size, and may perhaps not return to their pre-pregnancy size.

Stretch marks

Up to 90% of all mums-to-be experience this symptom which starts to show itself in the second trimester.  As your abdomen enlarges to accommodate the growing baby, tiny tears occur in the tissue under the skin, and appear as purple, red or brown streaks. 

The elasticity of your skin has a lot to do with whether or not you get stretch marks. Genetics also plays a part, and if your mother got them, the likelihood of you getting them is high. Rapid weight gain is also a cause as the faster the skin stretches, the more likely it is to leave marks.

Massaging a suitable lotion or oil into areas that are likely to be affected, like hips, thighs, breasts and tummy, is a good precaution.

A word on sex during pregnancy

Now that you feel more energised and less nauseous, you could find that your sex-drive is back, but you are wondering if sex in pregnancy can harm your baby. The short answer is that sex will definitely not cause any harm to your baby!

Having sex while pregnant is not only safe, but also beneficial as a form of exercise, for releasing feel-good hormones, and for bringing you and your partner closer together. Sex is completely safe for your baby because he is protected by the amniotic sac and your cervix is sealed by a thick mucus plug that provides protection from infection.

However, there are a few exceptions. It would be best to chat to your healthcare provider if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Waters have broken
  • Problems with your cervix
  • You are expecting twins
  • You have a history of preterm labour

If you find yourself spending time worrying about your baby or your pregnancy, practice some mindfulness techniques. This will take your thoughts away from worries and help to relax you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.