Welcome to week 22
You're just past the halfway mark now, and this is the stage when many expectants mums start to feel a bit uncomfortable. You might find your bump is getting in the way of a comfy night's sleep - in which case a special support pillow might help. Suffering from sweats? This is a normal reaction to your thyroid gland working harder – wear natural fibres and try keeping a cooling water spray in your handbag. You might find your ankles swelling, making walking less comfortable. Keep an eye on this, as excessive swelling, especially if it's also in your fingers and face, can be an indicator of pre-eclampsia, which needs prompt treatment. To ease mild swelling, resting with your feet higher than your hips will help.
Your baby has gained another 50g (2oz) this week, weighing in at around 350g, and crown-rump length is now about 19cm (7.5in), which is about the length of a DVD case. Eyelids and eyebrows have developed now and your baby looks like a perfect miniature version of the little person you'll give birth to! The lungs are producing 'surfactant' – a complex substance that helps keep the lungs from collapsing during exhalation.
On the outside
Stretch marks: whether they develop – and how pronounced they are – is largely down to genetics, so don't go blaming yourself for excess weight gain or not moisturising enough if they happen to you. There are many available creams and treatments that claim to eliminate stretch marks, but don't waste your money. Moisturising will help ease itching, but the truth is that once you have stretch marks you've got them for forever. However, they do fade after the birth to silvery streaks. Think of them as part of life's mapping, like laughter lines: they're proof of your womanliness and your prowess in carrying your baby.
Things to think about
It's time to take stock of your maternity wear again: do you have clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good? Is your underwear fitting you properly? Is it time for a new bra?
Things to look out for include:
• wide bra straps and a deep hook panel
• knickers that either encompass your whole bump or sit just underneath (if they sit around your navel they'll either cut in or slide down all the time)
• pretty underwear in maternity styles: you don't have to be a frump with a bump
• loose waistbands or empire-line tops and dresses that pull in just under the bust
• a good pair of maternity jeans
• low-heeled shoes, preferably wedges to support your weight evenly
• something comfy to wear in bed, including a soft night-support bra.