22 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • measures about 19cm
  • can now hear your voice – if you talk, read or sing to your baby
  • the skeleton is developing rapidly as the bone forming cells increase their activity
  • taste buds have started to form on the tongue
  • fetus can feel touch as brain and nerve endings are forming
  • baby boy’s testes have begun to descend from the abdomen
  • baby girl’s uterus and ovaries are in place and vagina is developed.

You…

  • may find this an enjoyable time of pregnancy – the aches and pains are fading and you’re not too large to be uncomfortable
  • libido may be increased.

This is a good time to think ahead for what you’ll need for your baby – even if, like many mothers, you don’t want to start buying anything yet. If you are working, your progressing pregnancy may mean some adjustments at work…

Working hard

There are a number of aspects of pregnancy that can affect your well-being at work. For example, varicose veins can be aggravated by standing for long periods, and the effects of hormonal changes on your ligaments can increase the likelihood of injury or strains when lifting heavy loads.

You have the right to rest breaks during pregnancy. But you can also think about how you can help yourself. For example, standing may not necessarily constitute a risk, but it might be hard work if most of your job involves standing.

Take care by:

  • remembering to lift properly
  • wearing suitable clothing/flat shoes/support stockings
  • eating little and often to keep your energy levels up – take fruit and healthy snacks to keep at work
  • delegating where possible – don’t be proud!

If you need help in changing your work conditions, talk to your union representative or your personnel department.

Baby equipment

Many couples put off buying baby equipment till the seventh or eighth month – but it can be very tiring then to walk round all the shops. This is a good time to begin to think about what you’ll need for your baby, and what would suit your house and your lifestyle. Don’t feel that you have to buy everything new – most mothers borrow where they can. Car seats, however, are an exception – they should never be bought second- hand; it is impossible to tell if it has been in an accident and, if it has, the seat is not safe.

Breastfeeding

Why is breast milk so special?

  • Breast milk provides all the food and drink your baby will need during the first four to six months of his/her life.  After around six months of age, breastfeeding alone is not enough for baby to grow and develop – complimentary foods (solids) should be introduced and continued breastfeeding is recommended until at least one year of age or longer.
  • It also provides special factors to promote the growth of babies’ brains, nerves, and eyesight.  These cannot be found in any other type of milk.
  • Your breastmilk is specifically for your baby and it will change constantly to meet his needs as he grows.

Breast milk contains antibodies to protect your baby from infections.

  • Breast milk contains interferon which helps your baby fight viruses protect your baby fight viruses.
  • Your body can react to infections in your surroundings by making antibodies that will be passed on through your breast milk to give him the necessary protection.  This is nature’s own way of providing a ‘tailor-made’ medicine.
  • Breast milk comes with its own regulating substances.  This means that your body can make extra nutrients available when needed by the baby and lower them when they are no longer necessary.
  • Breast milk primes the baby to produce antibodies so breastfed babies have a better response to immunisation.
  • Breast milk (unlike formula milk) creates the correct conditions in the baby’s bowels to prevent the growth of harmful germs, which cause stomach upsets.
  • If your baby is born prematurely, breast milk has special properties which prepare his bowels to tolerate milk.

A mother who has a premature baby will produce different milk from that of a mother who has a baby at full-term. This milk is higher in growth factors and antibodies to help fight infections.