By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 11/10/2015

During this week, it is likely that you feel mild discomfort under the abdominal and pubic area. It is due to your uterus growing, which at this point surpasses the belly button.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

What happens in week 22?

What follows is a list with some of the most remarkable changes and symptoms that occur in your body at this point:

Skin changes

It is normal that you notice several changes in your skin at this stage of pregnancy. You can see small veins or red spots in your face, neck, breasts, and limbs. They are known as vascular spiders that develop due to high estrogen levels and normally disappear after childbirth.

Another common skin abnormality is the presence of stretches. You will notice that your skin has a different texture, and that skin furrows appear more easily, which is due to your skin being overstretched. You can prevent or at least reduce their presence using specific moisturizers and essential oils to keep your skin hydrated.

Braxton-Hicks contractions

Braxton-Hicks contractions start at this point. Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that these contractions are not labor contractions. That is the reason why, in most cases, they go unnoticed.

It is likely that you feel the skin of your belly getting harder occasionally, going from relaxation to contraction in minutes. These movements are necessary to get your pelvis and womb ready for labor.

Leg cramps

Oftentimes, pregnant women wake up in the middle of the night due to a sharp leg cramp. This is a common annoyance of 22-week pregnant women, and is caused by the extra effort your back has to do to support the pregnancy.

The curvature of the vertebral column changes during pregnancy to compensate the excess of weight, which causes the lower back to move forward. Due to this deviation, the sciatic nerve is compressed, which is the cause of this uncomfortable cramps.

Fetal development

At week 22 of pregnancy, your baby develops a particular activity and sleep pattern.

The fetus typically gets active when the mother sleeps. His muscles, in the meantime, continue developing, so that he or she can move more vigorously. Movements are possible thanks to the length of the umbilical cord, which allows the fetus to move inside the amniotic sac.

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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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