The placenta is one of the more extraordinary developments during pregnancy (okay other than the baby). Underrated but essential to a baby's life and proper development, it is the source of nutrients and oxygen that give the baby everything she needs to grow and survive while in the womb. By the end of pregnancy, your placenta will have tripled in size to meet the baby's needs, but even so, from this point on, the baby will outweigh the placenta.
You probably started to feel the baby moving in your belly a couple of weeks ago. These movements will be slight at first and increase in frequency and intensity over time. Eventually, the limited space in your uterus will prevent rolling and turning movements. It will change to limited punches and kicks, but for now, enjoy the sensation of life forming and fluttering inside you.
With new activity and an increase in the size of your uterus, your belly might become a magnet for family, friends, and surprisingly even strangers. However, it is your belly, and if the touching and rubbing are unwanted, you should speak up and let others know it is your body and it's a hands-off situation.
In addition to your belly growing, you might start to notice your feet changing in size as well. Many pregnant women experience foot growth and need shoes about a half size larger than their pre-pregnancy footwear or even flip-flops. The hormone responsible for relaxing the tendons and ligaments in your pelvis to help them expand during childbirth is non-discriminatory. It will also impact other ligaments in your body, like those in your feet. As the ligaments loosen the bones, they hold together spread apart, and your feet will grow. If you add potential edema or swelling to the ligament stretching equation, you might end up with feet that look a lot like Fred Flintstone and will definitely need new shoes. Though the swelling will go away after birth, and your ligaments will tighten up, the spreading of the bones and new shoe size might be permanent.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 22
- Mayo Clinic - Fetal Development Second Trimester