Week 22

Your baby is growing fast now, and is very active – those little fluttering movements are starting to feel more like martial arts!
Little pitchers have big ears – your baby can hear your voice, and also other sounds from outside the womb.
Your baby is developing a sleep schedule – though, in a preview of things to come, it might be the exact opposite of your own!

Your body

Your breasts are getting bigger, and they might also feel tender – all signs that they're getting ready for the big job of breastfeeding. Their blood supply has increased (you may notice blue veins becoming obvious under the skin surface), and your nipples may become darker and larger as well. Don’t worry if they leak a little clear fluid - this is colostrum, a special substance that will provide your baby with food and antibodies in the first few days after birth.

You might also notice that your hands, feet and ankles are a bit puffy. This is because your body is retaining extra fluid (doctors sometimes call this oedema). If it's bothersome, try wearing looser clothing and avoid standing for long periods of time if you can. It might sound counter intuitive, but drinking more water can also help flush out the retained fluids.

One important caution, though: do contact your GP if you experience sudden swelling of your face and hands, as this could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

Your tummy might become itchy as the skin stretches and expands – you or your partner can massage in a gentle moisturiser to relieve the itching and help minimise stretch marks. If you're having severe itching all over your body, though, it's worth contacting your GP for advice.

Buying for the baby

The second trimester is a great time to prepare for when your baby arrives. If this is your first time, you might not have the faintest idea what you'll need – in that case, we'd suggest downloading our handy checklist to get you started. Friends or relatives with young babies can also be an invaluable source of advice and experience about what you need – and what you don't! They may even have nursery equipment they can lend you.

It's also worth remembering that friends, family and workmates are likely to bring gifts after the baby arrives, so you might not want to buy absolutely everything you need straight away.

Looking for more advice on the essentials you can't do without – and which gadgets to leave on the shelf? Join the experienced mums on our HiPP Facebook page to get the straight scoop!