Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Week 22 of my pregnancy


Your baby's crown-to-rump length is approximately 7.6 inches and your growing baby weighs about 12.25 ounces now! Your uterus is about 2 cm above your bellybutton and you probably feel comfortably pregnant. Your growing tummy is not yet large enough to get in the way and you should still be able to bend over and sit without much trouble. You might be enjoying your pregnancy more than ever at this point if morning sickness was an issue in the early weeks.

Your baby's body continues to grow and develop every day. The organ systems in your baby's body are becoming specialized for their particular functions. The fetal liver produces different enzymes than it will produce after delivery. The liver is responsible for breaking down billirubin, which is produced by the breaking down of blood cells. Because the life span of a fetal red blood cell is shorter than that of an adult, a fetus produces more billirubin than adults do. Billirubin passes from fetal blood to the placenta and then into your blood. Your liver helps get rid of fetal billirubin. A newborn baby that has high levels of billirubin may show signs of jaundice. Jaundiced babies have a yellowish tint to their eyes and skin and are often treated with phototherapy.

Your baby's senses are developing daily. The fetus now has a full complement of neurons in the brain and is learning about her body and surroundings through touch. Touch is one of the first senses to mature and your baby may stroke its face or feel her arms and legs.

Your blood volume has increased more to meet the demands of your pregnancy. Most of the increase is in the form of plasma, the liquid part of your blood. This has the ability to dilute your blood and give you physiological anemia, which occurs during pregnancy. The measure of blood dilution is called Hematocrit and the levels reach their lowest points this week. You should check with your doctor to make sure you are not developing more serious forms of anemia.

Your baby now shows an extremely rapid brain growth (which lasts until five years after birth).

The ovaries of female fetuses contain primitive egg cells, all of the eggs a woman will have for her entire life. The uterus of female fetuses is also fully formed.

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