Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

22 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnant Belly Changes

At 22 weeks pregnant, everything is expanding on your body - from your belly to your breasts to your thighs and even your butt! In fact, your pregnancy weight gain at 22 weeks pregnant may be as high as 15 pounds for an average weight woman.

Now that you are a couple of weeks past the halfway mark of your pregnancy, you will probably only gain between 10 and 20 additional pounds by the time you hit your due date. (Remember that the recommended pregnancy weight gain for the average sized woman is between 25 and 35 pounds. Aim for this weight gain if you can.)

Depending on the kind of person you are, you may welcome this attention or you may feel uncomfortable. If you don’t want anyone to touch you, simply tell people how you feel, or take a step backward and place your hand up. You may even want to purchase a shirt that says, “Step away from the belly.”

Have you scheduled into your daily routine "bonding with baby" time. Every day, spend a few minutes – or even an hour or two – just talking to baby and rubbing your stomach. While you're doing this, why not slather on some lotion and rub it into your belly? The lotion may help with your skin itchiness, plus your baby may get some comfort from your belly rubs.

Use this trimester to spend some much-needed valuable time with your partner. As your pregnancy moves into the third trimester, your bountiful belly may limit what you can do. After delivery, there will be very little one-on-one time, or peace and quiet to spend time together.

Have you noticed that your face is glowing? What is this glow or “pregnancy glow”? Your increased volume of blood circulating through your skin will make your skin appear brighter and your increase hormones will make it shiner. Giving your face that glowing appearance.

Unfortunately, not every pregnant woman will experience a “pregnancy glow”. On the contrary, your skin can turn for the worse.

Skin problems include oily skin, dry skin, and acne. Pregnancy hormones can turn your once beautiful skin into your mirror's worst nightmare. Some moms-to-be develop oily, greasy skin. This can lead to pimples and acne breakouts. You might feel like you're 17 again!

If you're struggling with oily skin and pimples, dermatologists recommend that you wash your face several times a day with a gentle cleanser. Using oil-free makeup will also help.

Some pregnant women don't get oily skin; they find that their skin dries out. Dry skin is a common pregnancy skin change. To keep your dry skin under control, make sure that you moisturize daily. It's also important that you lotion immediately after bathing or showering, since this can trap the extra water left on the skin, and slows its evaporation so that your dry skin doesn't get worse.

Mom's pregnancy symptoms at 22 weeks includes pregnancy brain.

How is your mind these days? In the second trimester, some pregnant women find themselves feeling more forgetful than before. Called “pregnancy brain,” forgetfulness during pregnancy is quite common. You may find yourself easily distracted. You may be in the middle of an important conversation, and you suddenly forget what you were talking about. Or you’re on the way to the kitchen to grab something to eat, and when you get there, you forget why you’re there.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes “pregnancy brain,” though pregnancy hormones may play a role. In addition, you are going through a major life event – having a baby is a huge change! It’s possible that your inability to concentrate or pay attention may be due to you paying less attention to the things around you and more attention to what’s happening to your body.

Although pregnancy brain is frustrating, it is just a pregnancy symptom that will pass. Once you have your baby and are settled into your new role as mother, pregnancy brain will go away.

Weight Gain

Can you believe how much weight you've gained? Your weight gain at 22 weeks pregnant should be between 14 and 15 pounds, for the average-sized woman. From this point onward, you should probably only gain one pound with each week that passes.

By the time you deliver, your total weight gain should be roughly 25 to 35 pounds. Overweight women should aim to gain less (15 to 25 pounds), and women who started pregnancy underweight should gain more (28 to 40 pounds).

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

You may notice that you’re starting to develop stretch marks! Some women will develop stretch marks as early as the second trimester, though they are more common in the third trimester, when you start to gain weight very rapidly.

Stretch marks may start out as pinkish or purplish lines on your skin. They will progress to become indented streaks with fine wrinkles. Pregnancy stretch marks are common on your belly, breasts, and thighs. But in some cases, you may even get them on your lower back, buttocks, hips, and upper arms.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks.

Pregnancy stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic tissues that lie underneath your skin, due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. As your unborn baby grows, your skin must stretch to accommodate. Stretch marks occur when your skin “over stretches” and starts to tear.

Between 50 and 70 percent of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy, most often in the second and third trimesters.

Risk Factors for Pregnancy Stretch Marks
If you do not yet have stretch marks during pregnancy, there is no way to tell whether or not you will develop them later in pregnancy. However, you may be at risk for stretch marks if:

  • There is a genetic history of stretch marks in your family. If your mother had stretch marks during her pregnancy, the likelihood is that you will too.

  • You gain a large amount of weight rapidly

  • You are pregnant with twin or multiples

  • You are pregnant with a big baby

How to Prevent Stretch Marks
You may want to prevent stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is no 100 percent surefire ways to do this. But you can minimize your risk of getting stretch marks during pregnancy by gaining the recommended amount of weight for your size and keeping well hydrated. Gaining weight more slowly will also reduce your risk of pregnancy stretch marks.

You may also want to try rubbing lotions and creams in a circular motion on your belly, breasts, and thighs. Massaging in a circulation motion will ease the tension that’s placed on the elastic layer of your skin, and it may also increase blood flow to your belly. As a result, you can help keep your skin more “stretchy” and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Stretch marks are often nothing to worry about. They will eventually fade after you deliver your baby. Most women see a noticeable difference in the look of their stretch marks between six months and twelve months after their baby is born.

Other Pregnancy Skin Changes
Along with stretch marks, you may notice that your skin is itchy, especially around your expanding belly and growing breasts. This itchiness occurs because your skin is stretching to adapt to your body’s growth. It is very common in pregnancy and shouldn’t worry you.

Some women also experience itchy palms and itching on the soles of their feet. This itchiness is often due to the increased levels of estrogen in your body, and it will disappear after your baby is born.

If you’re suffering from itchy skin, you may want to try to moisturize the itchy areas. You may want to choose a moisturizer or lotion that is unscented. Some scents can cause skin irritation.

In rare cases, extreme itchiness may be a sign of more serious problems. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Are Cosmetics Products Safe in Pregnancy?

We all want to look great throughout our pregnancy. But what is safe and what isn’t? Here is a list of some of the popular ‘questionable’ items that are safe to use in pregnancy.

  • Tanning Cream – The use of tanning creams during pregnancy is considered safe. Most tanning creams just stain the outside of the skin and thus don’t enter your bloodstream.

  • Bikini Wax – A bikini wax to help remove the unwanted hairs in pregnancy is perfectly safe but the use of bikini wax usually is more painful during pregnancy.

  • Facial – It is safe to get a facial during pregnancy. Your skin may be more sensitive while pregnant, so make sure to let your technician know that you are pregnant.

  • Cosmetics – Most cosmetics are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy. They can also help you look and feel great even at your biggest. The only cosmetics you should keep an eye out for are those with added chemicals or vitamins that claim to ‘reduce the signs of aging’.

  • Is Hair Coloring Safe? Doctors are hesitant to claim that hair color is 100% safe because some of the chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream. A safer bet is to opt for chemical free products or try highlighting instead of full on coloring while pregnant.

Baby Section

Growth and Development of Baby

At 22 weeks pregnant, your baby is bigger than ever! He or she may be as long as 10.9 inches and weighs around 15 ounces or more. Your little one continues to pack on the pounds and fat!

This week, your baby is laying down layers of fat underneath his or her skin. Fats are important for his or her nerve and brain development, since every nerve cell in your baby’s body is covered in a layer of fat, which insulates it from nearby nerves and improves the connection between the different nerve cells.

As your baby gaining more fat layers, the skin becomes less transparent than it was in earlier weeks of your pregnancy. Your little one’s veins are still visible beneath the skin, but this will slowly change in the weeks to come.

Your baby’s nose continues to develop this week. Your little one’s nasal bridge has not completely developed, so he or she has a “button nose” that many pregnant parents find so irresistible.

Your baby has plenty of room in the womb to move around freely. As you continue to feel your baby’s kicks and movements, he or she may be doing somersaults, flips and flops.

Your baby is exploring their amniotic-filled world with his or her hands. Your baby is constantly moving its hands, touching his or her face and even grabbing the umbilical cord.

This week of your pregnancy, your baby continues to swallow and digest amniotic fluid. He or she stores the waste as meconium (or your baby’s first poop!) Meconium stays in your baby’s intestines until birth. In some cases, your baby may pass meconium while in utero, and this is often a sign of fetal distress and it can cause breathing difficulties after birth.

By now, every bone in your baby’s body has bone marrow, which is capable of producing red blood cells. Did you know that your baby produces essential red and white blood cells at a more rapid rate than your own? Red blood cells are removed from an unborn baby’s circulation after 80 days. In a normal adult, your red blood cells are removed after 120 days.

The ridges in your baby’s skin continue to mature. These ridges will eventually make up your baby’s first finger and toe prints!

From now until your baby is born, your baby’s cells continue to expand, divide, and mature in every part of his or her body. (next week)


Doctor's Corner

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