I've got nothing to wear - honestly!
Your physical changes this week
Indigestion and heartburn - your old friends - are still hanging around. Progesterone, that all important pregnancy hormone which works on softening the ligaments in your pelvis, doesn’t know where to stop. It's relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract as well, which makes the whole process of digestion less "tight" than it once was. Keep constipation under control with lots of fiber, water, and roughage in your diet. Go easy on the white, processed varieties of bread and pasta that are lower in fiber. If you're uncomfortable, speak with your pregnancy provider about safe options you can take to make it easier to stay regular.
You may notice your feet and ankles getting swollen by the end of the day. You could be retaining more fluid than usual and it's showing if you’re standing up for long periods. Go for comfort rather than style in your shoe choices and think about getting shoes which you can slide your feet into rather needing to bend over to put on. You’ll be very glad you did in just a few weeks’ time.
Your emotional changes this week
It can take until the 22nd week of pregnancy for the true reality of pregnancy to hit home. You’re going to have a baby. Doubt may come creeping into your mind, especially in the wee hours of the morning. You may question your ability to mother a child and how you could possibly handle all that parenting involves. This can be a normal and even healthy response to such a significant event. Having a baby is a big deal and sometimes we need to ask ourselves the big questions in order to make sense of what we’re going through.
Thought about baby naming yet? This is a subject which can take up hours and hours of your time. You may be one of the lucky ones who've always known what you and your partner want to call your child. Consider getting some baby name books, doing a web-search or looking through your family tree for inspiration. Listen for children's names being called when you're out. Be prepared to change your mind a million times; this is, after all, an important decision to get right.
Your baby's changes this week
More fat is being laid down this week and your baby doesn’t look as translucent as they did a couple of weeks ago. Don’t fall for the old line of needing to eat extra food for the baby as well. The recommendation from experts is that during pregnancy, you only need to increase your normal intake by about 10 percent or around an extra 250 calories/day during your second trimester. An extra piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or a healthy sandwich is enough to cover this extra requirement.
Your baby has fingernails, tiny as they are. If your baby is a girl her uterus and vagina will be in place and if your baby is a boy, his testes will be descending from his abdomen down to his scrotum. Many babies have enlarged genitals when they are born. This is a result of the pregnancy hormones causing them to swell. Over the first few weeks after birth they’ll decrease to their normal size.
Hints for the week
Avoid back strain by bending down to your toddler, rather than picking them up all the time. Encourage them to climb on your lap when you’re sitting or when you’re lying down. Lower back pain can be a fact of life during pregnancy, and it pays to look after your spine.
Take a good hard look at your mattress, if it’s sagging and unsupportive it's time to say goodbye. Remember, you’re spending at least a third of your day in bed, so look for one which will support your spine in comfortable alignment.
Rediscover baths. Lying back in the water and looking at your tummy moving may well become one of your favorite things to do in the next few weeks. Rolling movements, quick jabs, poking sensations, and a sharp almost electric sensation in your bladder are all signs that your baby is active.
Watch that pelvic floor! Remember to do your pelvic floor exercise and avoid repetitive, jarring exercises. Jogging and running are not ideal forms of exercise at this stage. Walking, swimming, stretching, yoga or Pilates are better options.
See how pelvic floor exercises can benefit you during your pregnancy.
Week 23 coming next!
For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.