There’s more to your second trimester than just an aching back and swollen ankles! In your 22nd week of pregnancy, your baby is growing in remarkable ways.

Your baby’s development

This week your baby is the size of a… sweet potato.
As well as your unborn baby’s obvious weekly growth (he’s starting to gain fat and fill out his skin), he is also making tiny but fascinating adjustments such as:

· Starting to learn how to grasp things (starting with the umbilical cord).
· Getting a bout of the hiccups.
· Sucking his thumb.
· Developing tastebuds, and testing them on the amniotic fluid.
If you’re having a girl her vagina will be fully developed; if you’re having a boy his testes will move down from his pelvis into his scrotum.

Your physical pregnancy changes

As your baby starts to fill out, so will you. The extra weight might cause some back pain, which is where core-strengthening Pilates and yoga classes come in handy to help you maintain your posture and reduce the pressure on the lumbar region of your back.

If you haven’t undertaken Pilates or yoga during your pregnancy, there are several other options you can try. Swimming is great for relieving the pressure because the water supports your weight, meaning you can stretch out your body without putting it under any strain.
Acupuncture has been proven to help with pain relief. It works by placing thin sterile needles at certain energy points in your body to activate your body’s own pain-relief system. Lumbar support pillows are a useful office accessory as they help to maintain a good postural position when you’re sitting.
As your uterus continues to grow upwards past your navel you may find yourself increasingly short of breath. Your rib cage will, however, adjust to make space for your growing baby.

Your health and fitness during pregnancy

You may feel like the last thing you want to do is haul your growing baby bump around a gym or aqua class, but gentle exercise really will help you keep fit and healthy throughout the remaining weeks of pregnancy. You don’t have to do anything particularly strenuous; Pilates, yoga and water aerobics are all fantastic ways to keep fit, so get along to your local fitness centre to find out what classes they offer for pregnant women.

Your week 22 pregnancy checklist

· Go for a swim or find safe ways to stretch your aching back (such as yoga and Pilates).
· Consider investing in a lumbar support pillow.
· Research options for acupuncture in your area – make sure practitioners are accredited.
· Keep practising your breathing techniques and pelvic floor exercises – you’ll thank yourself later on!