At 22 weeks pregnant you're a little over halfway between the second and third trimesters which is usually one of the most relaxing times of pregnancy; gone are the sore breasts and nausea, and not being able to shave your own legs is still (hopefully!) a long way off!
You may have another midwife appointment around now, where your midwife will have a listen of Baby's heartbeat, measure your uterus, and go over the results of your anomaly scan. Remember to take a urine sample with you so your midwife can check for glucose and protein.
Baby: What's Happening?
Your baby has been doing more and more growing and now weighs about 1 whole pound! A full term baby will likely grow 6 to 8 times as big between now and the birth, so if you think your belly is massive now, you may be in for a shock! Your not-so-little one will also measure about 11 inches, having grown about an inch already since your ultrasound.
Although your baby's eyes are still fused shut, the combination of the eyes sensing light and the ears hearing sounds means Baby might be starting to differentiate day and night. Some babies pick up the habit of night sleeping while still in the womb, and may fall into a more established nighttime routine quicker than babies who don't, but that still doesn't mean you'll be getting your 8 hours beauty sleep I'm afraid. Newborns need feeding roughly every 3 hours, and usually won't be ready to sleep through the night until at least 6 months of age.
Your baby's ears are picking up more and more of the surrounding noise, and the most prominent sound will be the beating sound of your heart, and the muffled noises of the blood pumping through the placenta. Your baby will remember these sounds after the birth, and many babies can be soothed by being placed on Mom's chest above the heart, or by being subjected to white noise. It may seem odd, but you'll be surprised how quickly your baby settles to the sound of your washer or dryer!
Your baby still has plenty of room to move in the womb, so lots of acrobatics are normal. Your midwife may have a feel and a guess as to the baby's position and while the preferred position for birth is head down, your baby will likely still be in the head up, or "breech" position at this point. He or she still has plenty of time to flip over.
You: What's Happening?
You should find you're putting on roughly 1 lb per week in weight now, though if you were very small to begin with you may need to put on a little more, and if you were bigger you may only need to put on a fraction of that. As long as you're eating well and doing some gentle exercise don't worry too much about sticking to the "guidelines". Your uterus should be measuring about 22 cm, or 8.5 inches, although a few centimeters difference either way is completely normal; all baby's grow and develop at different rates both in and out of the womb.
Bizarrely, many people, even those who have already had children, like to comment that "you're so tiny for 22 weeks, are you eating OK?", or "you're only 22 weeks? But you're so big, are you sure it's not twins?'. This can get old fast! Whatever size your belly is, that's the right size for you and your baby, so don't listen to what others have to say (unless it's your Doctor or midwife!).
Now you're over the halfway mark, you might start to feel tightenings in your uterus, like soft contractions. This can be scary when you're so far away from your due date, but rest assured that you're probably experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, rather than real contractions.
Braxton Hicks contractions are often thought of as practice contractions, sort of like giving your uterus a work out so it's nice and strong and efficient when the time comes. Usually they're not painful, and some women don't even feel them, but they can be uncomfortable. They're a normal part of pregnancy, and are nothing to worry about.
If you rush to the hospital with Braxton Hicks contractions, thinking you're in labor, you're not alone! Many Moms-to-be experience false labor and are turned away from the delivery suite red faced, but it's always better to get yourself checked out if you're not sure, especially this early. There are a few ways to tell the difference between the two though, which could prevent some embarrassment, and having to make the hospital run in the middle of the night!
Braxton Hicks contractions remain steady. They don't get more intense, they don't get more painful, and they're only temporary. Chances are, if you can talk through the contractions, they're Braxton Hicks. You will know when you are in real labor, believe me!
To reduce the discomfort, try changing position or going for a walk, or drink some water and soak in a warm bath for a while. Relaxation techniques and distraction can really help with Braxton Hicks contractions. You may also want to avoid fizzy drinks and high fiber foods for a day or two if you're getting them a lot; trapped wind can be a lot like contractions!