At 22 weeks the baby is about 8 inches long and about 1 pound in weight. It can sense touch. You can test this by poking into your tummy with your finger when the baby moves. You might be able to feel a reaction to this touch. My patients tell me that they can play with the baby this way. In the office I can often feel the baby push against the instrument I use to hear the heart tones.
Week 22 is a good time to consider prenatal classes. These is not when you will start the classes but it is a good time to see what is available and make a reservation to take a class. There are a variety of classes available in different formats. The classic format is to meet once a week for six weeks. There are different schedules available as well. We offer weekend classes in addition to the standard classes. I call these “crammer courses” where you can get the entire six week training in one weekend. This is something you will want to attend with your partner if possible. The classes cover many different things. You will learn the vocabulary we use in the hospital. What to expect in terms of monitoring and interventions. Pain management will be discussed as well. There will be instruction on pushing and advice on how to care for your self after the baby comes. These classes can be very informative and fun as well.
Week 22 is when you may start to feel Braxton-Hicks contractions. This is tightening of the uterus that lasts for a short period of time, usually less than a minute. This may feel like your tummy is tightening into a hard ball. These are normal and nothing to worry about. If these become painful and frequent you should be checked. Braxton-Hicks contractions that are coming now and then are normal. Some women never get Braxton-Hicks contractions but others may get them fairly frequently. This can also vary from pregnancy to pregnancy.