All About Baby
Your baby’s brain is growing daily. Her senses are also starting to develop. She can hear the sound of your heart along with your breathing. As she wiggles her fingers, she may touch her face or even suck her thumb. Her lungs are becoming more mature, and she even goes through the motions of breathing. She can also swallow, although she won’t have her first real meal until delivery day.
All About You
You’re probably feeling fetal movement throughout the day now that your baby’s getting bigger. And as she grows, your body has to make room. Your stomach will have less space to expand, meaning you may suffer heartburn and indigestion, especially at night. Add to that the fact that pregnancy hormones can slow digestion making your tummy troubles even worse. Slight swelling may make your shoes uncomfortable. Your back may also ache with the added weight of your baby bump. Your bladder is also suffering from the space crunch, so expect plenty of potty breaks.
Intimacy and Pregnancy
Some women experience big bonuses along with their pregnancy—larger breasts, glowing skin, and a slight baby bump—if you’re part of this group, chances are you feel more attractive than ever. On the flip side, if your pregnancy has been mostly about enduring nausea and fatigue, your libido may have taken a nosedive. No matter what your circumstance, the changes taking place in your body will undoubtedly affect how you and your partner feel about intimacy.
Why you may feel more attractive
Changes in your appearance: One of the first signs of pregnancy is an increased cup size. If you normally have smaller breasts, your new fuller breasts may make you feel more desirable. Couple that with an increased blood flow, which leaves you with rosier cheeks, and you might be downright irresistible.
Fluctuations in hormone levels: Pregnancy hormones may have you craving everything from pickles and ice cream to more intimacy. Keep in mind that the effects of these hormones vary for every woman, and your moods may change daily (sometimes hourly!).
Free of pressure to conceive: Perhaps you’ve been trying for months to get pregnant. Now that the pressure is off, intimacy may become more enjoyable and less of a task.
Why you may not feel interested
Tenderness: Your breasts and abdomen are going through quite a growth spurt, which may leave you sore. Intimacy may be uncomfortable, especially during your first and last trimesters.
Fatigue and nausea: If you’ve suffered strong bouts of nausea, intimacy may be the last thing on your mind. Fatigue may further zap any other desires.
Weight gain: As you’ve watched the scale tip upwards, you may feel frumpy.
Why intimacy is important
Intimacy allows you and your partner to express your love and concern for each other. It’s a physical closeness that can reinforce your emotional connection to your partner. A gentle massage, cuddling, and kissing, can help erase some of the day-to-day pains of pregnancy and let you know your partner is there for you.
Worrying about the baby
“Unless you have a specific medical issues like multiple births, placenta previa, or another high-risk condition, sexual intercourse won’t hurt your baby,” explains Dr. William Camann, MD, director of obstetric anesthesia at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and coauthor of Easy Labor.
He notes, however, that you may notice some contractions after lovemaking—that’s normal. Unless your cervix is already starting to dilate, there’s little reason to worry that these contractions will lead to labor.
If you have any unexplained bleeding after intimacy, or sex is extremely uncomfortable, talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns.
Q & A
Got questions about Week 22? Other ladies have wondered…
Q: I’ve been told to schedule a gestational diabetes test, but I don’t know what it is.
A gestational diabetes test (also known as an oral glucose tolerance test or OGTT) is done as a routine screening for all pregnant women. Your doctor will let you know when it is appropriate for you. It is routinely done between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy. This test looks at how well your body copes with glucose (or sugar levels). Read more about the gestational diabetes test.
Q: I’m 22 weeks pregnant and my nipples really hurt. Is this normal?
The pain around your nipples is probably a result both of increased sensitivity and small amounts of microscopic engorgement near the drainage ducts going to the nipple. But you may have engorgement in other areas of your breast as well. Severe engorgement can lead to mastitis or an infection of the breast tissue. Read more about breast changes during pregnancy.
Q: Is shortness of breath at 22 weeks a normal symptom?
A feeling of working harder to breathe is common in pregnancy, partly due to progesterone, a pregnancy hormone that affects your breathing, and partly due (usually later on) to the size of the uterus preventing your lungs from fully expanding. Read more about shortness of breath at 22 weeks.
Intimacy is a wonderful thing. It is not just about sex, but about physical and emotional closeness between you and your partner. Some men are uncomfortable having sex while their partners are pregnant, but as long as the doctor says it is safe (and usually it is), by all means, enjoy it. These are the last months you will have a chance to be intimate without worrying about another little being in your life, so take advantage of it!
Once your baby is born you will most likely find yourselves too tired and too focused on other things (like Baby!) to make time for sex. But it is incredibly important to remember that intimacy between you and your partner is vital to the health and success of your relationship. While sex certainly can be a form of intimacy, your relationship doesn’t always have to include sex. Sometimes intimacy can be cuddling together, talking with each other, sharing your time and experiences, reading together, or indulging in a late morning in bed while doing crosswords or Sudoku together.
The key is to practice and be creative in your intimacy now so when things get chaotic after your baby is born, you’ll already know tried-and-true ways to bring you and your partner together, despite all that is going on around you both.