Discovering the world around him
Week 22: Your baby has an increased sense of touch
During your 22nd week of pregnancy, your baby is starting to discover a world around him as his senses continue to develop.
- When you’re 22 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 7-1/2 to 8 inches long head to rump, around the length of a head of cabbage, and weighs about 1 pound.
- Your baby's sense of touch progresses significantly this week.
- Your baby's brain and nerve endings mature enough to process the sensation of touch.
- Your baby's reproductive system continues to develop. In a boy, his testes begin to descend. In a girl, her ovaries and uterus now are in place and her vagina develops. She already has all of the eggs she'll need for her own reproductive life.
- When you're 22 weeks pregnant, the surface of your baby's brain, which has previously been smooth, begins to develop folds. This creation of hills and valleys in the brain will continue until the 34th week of pregnancy, when your baby's brain will have enough surface area for a full complement of brain cells.
- Your baby continues to hear sounds from the outside world. Although these sounds are muffled behind the amniotic fluid and the protective covering of vernix, your baby will soon recognize your voice.
Your Week 22 nutrition and health
How much weight should you gain?
During the second three months of pregnancy, increase your caloric intake by about 340 calories a day. How much weight you need to gain depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight. Do not use weight loss diets during pregnancy. You need calories and nutrients for healthy growth and development of your baby. It’s best to consult with your doctor about weight gain.
Here are the guidelines from the Institute of Medicine based on a 2009 reexamination of the science of pregnancy weight gain:
|Pre-Pregnancy Weight||Recommended Weight Gain|
|Normal Weight||25—35 pounds|
What to expect at your 22nd week checkup
Around the 22nd week of pregnancy, you probably are visiting your doctor for another prenatal checkup.
- This month's appointment will be similar to previous checkups as your doctor checks your health and your baby's progress.
- Your doctor might tell you about an upcoming glucose screening test — a routine test that checks for gestational diabetes. You might take this test at your next appointment, sometime between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
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