Your baby is now about 7 and a half inches long from crown to rump and weighs a little more than 12 ounces. By now, he already has his dad’s nose or your chin. He looks less like every other baby in the world and more like himself.
His skin is becoming a little less transparent, but he’s still thin, wrinkly, and covered with soft hairs (lanugo). He has sweat glands and fingernails.
At week 22, your baby is also developing sex characteristics. If he’s a boy, his testicles are starting to drop into his scrotum. If you have a girl, her vagina is starting to form.
Your baby is really paying attention to his world. He’s awake more often, especially when there’s something interesting to listen to. Tap on your tummy and say hello. He might hear you.
You’re at a nice stage of your pregnancy, the happy middle ground when morning sickness has passed but you still aren’t uncomfortably large. Treasure these days.
Beginning about this time, some women start feeling painless contractions, also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. The muscles in your abdomen may suddenly get rock-hard, a quick rehearsal of the serious contractions that will happen in a few months.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are normal and completely harmless. However, you should call your health care provider right away if the contractions are regular (occurring four times in 20 minutes or eight times in an hour), if they last more than 30 seconds, or if the pain from the contraction begins high in the abdomen and radiates through to the lower back. These could be signs of early labor, a definite emergency at this stage in your pregnancy.
Campbell, Stuart, MD. Watch Me Grow. St. Martins Griffin.
Curtis, Glade, MD. Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 5th edition. Da Capo Press.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Pregnancy Calendar. http://kidshealth.org/
Mayo Clinic. Signs of labor: Know what to expect. http://www.mayoclinic.com/
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Preterm Labor. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp087.cfm