During the 22nd week, your baby weighs about 15 ounces and is about 27cm in length. You baby would have formed eye brows and eyelids by now and her brain will start to develop fairly rapidly.
The senses your baby will use to learn about the world are developing daily. Taste buds have started to form on the tongue, and the brain and nerve endings are formed enough so that the fetus can feel touch. Your baby may experiment with this newfound sense of touch by stroking his or her face or sucking on a thumb, as well as feeling other body parts and seeing how they move.
Your baby’s reproductive system is continuing to develop, too. In boys, the testes have begun to descend from the abdomen, and in girls, the uterus and ovaries are in place and the vagina is developed.
This week you may begin to notice your uterus practicing for delivery with irregular, painless contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions. You may feel a squeezing sensation near the top of your uterus. Don’t worry. Although your baby may be able to feel the contraction as it squeezes the uterus, Braxton Hicks contractions aren’t dangerous or harmful. If, however, the contractions become painful or if you have more than four contractions in an hour, contact your health care provider immediately because painful, regular contractions may be a sign of preterm labor.
Also, although you may still be feeling energetic, the weight of your uterus may be starting to take its toll on your lower back now. So try and wear low heeled shoes and try not to stand or sit for long periods of time.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD