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Week 22 of Pregnancy

Written by Amina Hatia RM
Medically reviewed by Marley Hall BA RM Diphe
February 07, 2022

By around week 22 of pregnancy, you should be feeling some kind of activity or movement from your baby. Whilst some feel their baby move from around 16 weeks, for most – especially if it is your first baby it usually happens after 18-20 weeks. If you have never felt your baby move by the time you are 24 weeks you should let your midwife know who can arrange additional checks – but this rarely happens.

Sometimes you may not feel movements clearly at this stage because of where your placenta is positioned. If you have an anterior placenta which means your placenta is at the front of your baby bump, you may find that the placenta cushions baby’s movements

Now don’t be surprised if you don’t feel kicks to begin with – it’s not uncommon to wonder if the first few movements you feel are baby or just a bit of wind! At this stage your baby is very active, but still little, so you feel fluttering, like butterflies or little pops of air in you and even then they can be quite subtle. Of course if you’ve had a baby before you know what you are looking out for and less likely to miss these little ‘hello’s’ from your baby. And before you know over the coming weeks, the kicks will be felt.

These movements are an important change and indication of how your baby is doing. Most parents find them highly reassuring – and it’s often when you start to feel properly pregnant because there is no denying with movements that there is a baby growing inside.

At 22 weeks the movements you feel won’t always have a pattern and there are no set number of kicks you should be feeling. As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows you will soon get to know what is a normal pattern of movement for your baby.

How big is my baby?

Baby has now grown to the size of a papaya (yes we are back to fruits after last week’s vegetable comparison!). Your papaya sized baby is now measuring around 28 centimetres long and weighs about 430 grams.

What happens in week 22 of pregnancy?

By around 22 weeks baby is beginning to explore and make sense of their sense inside you. Those little hands and tiny fingers are exploring opening and gripping things – such as the umbilical cord. Don’t worry — it’s safe enough, the umbilical is incredibly robust, very flexible and has lots of a jelly like substance around it for baby to use for gripping practice and not be affected.

The other sense that is developing more is sight with your baby now being able to experience light and dark even though their eyelids are still fused closed.

And another change is in your baby’s red blood cells which up until this point have been made by your baby’s liver. From now on though, your baby’s bone marrow will start to take over this role and by 24 weeks will take over as the primary producer of baby’s red blood cells.

Week 22 pregnancy symptoms

It’s not unusual to feel a few twinges and mild abdominal cramps at 22 weeks pregnant. This can be caused by a variety of reasons – but if you are ever worried or find the pain is getting stronger or more painful, then you need to contact your maternity unit straight away for advice.

The common reasons for some of the cramps may be due to:

  • Gas and constipation – this is mainly due to your progesterone levels in pregnancy which causes the relaxation and slowing down of your intestines leading to a more sluggish digestion. This can lead to constipation. Eating healthy food and exercise will help with this.
  • Round ligament pain – some mild cramping at this in pregnancy may be caused by the ligaments that support and go around your uterus lengthening and increasing in diameter to accommodate your growing uterus. This pulling on the ligaments causing you to feel a sharp, stabbing pain in your lower abdomen.

Week 22 pregnancy tips

  • Combat that constipation sooner rather than later – increase the amount of roughage you are eating, make healthy swaps to help you with this.
  • As your bump grows and baby starts moving more, you’ll find that you cradle it more and more and stroke your changing shape. And you’ll also find that others are excited by it too – which is lovely if invited and by people you want to touch you, but it’s not uncommon for people to feel it’s ok to reach out and touch your bump. It’s ok to say no, it’s your body and should be respected.