week 22 pregnancy diary

Pregnancy Diary | Week 22 | The Pressure to be Perfect

What can I tell you about week 22?

Er, other than the usual, “Sometimes the baby moves a LOT, and it’s awesome, but other times he doesn’t seem to move much at all, which is terrifying,” stuff that I usually write in these updates, I mean?

When he moves, I feel amazed and relieved – and also just a little bit freaked out, if I’m honest. The movements, when they come, are much stronger now, and if I place my hand on my belly I can literally feel him wriggling around in there, which makes me alternate between howling with laughter (I’ve no idea why I find it so amusing, I just do…) and thinking, “OMG, there’s something LIVING IN MY BELLY, WHAT EVEN?!” I dunno, it just makes it all so REAL, somehow, in a way that even seeing it on the scan doesn’t come close to. I guess when you see the scan, you’re looking at a computer screen, which makes it easier to view this little being that’s moving around as being totally unconnected to YOU, if that makes sense? When it’s 1am, and he decides to start dancing, though, that’s a TOTALLY different feeling, and, WHOA, is it ever strange. Good strange… but strange.

So, when he moves, I’m happy… and when he doesn’t move, I feel like the anxiety is probably going to kill me. Which has been the pattern of this week, and pretty much EVERY week in the second trimester, really. Gulp.

week 22 pregnancy diaryA couple of other things happened this week to increase my anxiety even more, though:


I bought a face cream with retinol in it. You are NOT supposed to use face creams with retinol in them. But I didn’t know that, so I bought it, and I used it (only around 5 times, but still…), and when I found out that it was on the FORBIDDEN list, I just about died, seriously. In my defence, there was nothing on the box or bottle to say that the thing shouldn’t be used in pregnancy. Honestly, though, I just wasn’t thinking: it didn’t even occur to me that something I put on my face might have an effect on my unborn child: I obviously realise that it probably SHOULD have occurred to me, but, of course, hindsight is 20-20, and I am not perfect, as much as I wish I was.

Having done some frantic Googling on the subject, I feel a little better about it: it seems like there’s really very little risk at all with this kind of thing, but the problem with these endless lists of Things Thou Shalt Not Do When Pregnant is that they have a way of breeding guilt and paranoia, which can quickly take over your life. Speaking of which…


People keep on telling me I shouldn’t be sitting with my legs or ankles crossed: I keep on doing it. This week I was (YET AGAIN) gently reminded that this is on the Forbidden list, and (YET AGAIN) I felt like an absolute idiot for having to constantly be reminded about . And, I mean, it seems like this should be easy, right? Like, just stop crossing your legs, Amber, FFS. It seems, however, that crossing my legs is completely habitual for me: I do it without even thinking about it, and even when I consciously try to stop myself doing it, my good intentions only last as long as it takes for my mind to be occupied by something else, and those legs are crossed again before I know it. Dammit.

Now, I wasn’t able to find any definitive medical evidence to support the idea that it’s dangerous for pregnant women to cross their legs, although I DID find a lot of anecdotal “evidence”, plus quite a few people’s grannies telling them it makes the umbilical cord wrap around the baby’s neck… so I guess that IS pretty definitive, then? Whether it’s true or not, however, the fact that people keep on scolding me (however gently) for doing it has made me feel guilty and paranoid, to the point that I’ve spent the entire week obsessing over the position of my legs, and am currently typing this with them propped uncomfortably in front of me, in a bid to stop them crossing.

(I just Googled it again while writing this post, and came across this page, which informs me that there is a correct way for me to sit, stand, drive, and I gave up reading at that point because I was too busy trying to make sure my earlobes were in line with my shoulders…)

Seriously, can you even believe I just typed two full paragraphs about something as banal as my LEG POSITION? I can’t. But this is my life now: and when you’re constantly being told that you shouldn’t do this, that, or the next thing, it becomes hard NOT to worry, or to feel like every single thing you do has the potential to cause harm. I mean, if this baby’s health really does depend on me being absolutely perfect in every way – never crossing my legs, never sleeping on my right hand side, never eating thing from the Forbidden List, never using a new beauty product without first of all calling my GP to make sure it’s OK – then it really is doomed, isn’t it?

That’s obviously not true, though, is it? And, despite my paranoia, I don’t REALLY believe my baby will die just because I crossed my ankles occasionally. I do, however, feel that society in general puts a lot of pressure on pregnant women, and really encourages them to feel that they’re constantly in danger of causing irreparable harm by doing something they didn’t think twice about. Honestly, some days I feel like the safest thing would be to just stay in bed for the next few months, so I can stay out of trouble, but, of course, sleeping seems to be the MOST DANGEROUS THING OF ALL (I’m still finding myself rolling onto my back at times, although my pregnancy pillow has helped with that…), so maybe not.

In other week 22 pregnancy news, meanwhile… there IS no other week 22 pregnancy news. Which is why I’ve just spent this entire post rambling on about the position of my stupid legs. Join me next week for an in-depth discussion of how I brush my hair: I mean, it HAS to be more interesting than even one more word about my legs, right?

[Edited to add: I would really appreciate it if people could avoid posting medical information in the comments of this post: because of my health anxiety, I have a really hard time rationalising risk, or even knowing if the information I’m being given is correct, so although I know people mean well, it can be incredibly triggering for me. Thanks so much!]


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books by Amber Eve
  • Not crossing your legs is more about comfort and blood flow for you at this stage I think.

    Then later on it’s about open postures to help the baby get into a better birth position. If your legs are crossed later on you’re reducing the space lower down if that makes sense.

    Not the end of the world either way. I crossed my legs when I was pregnant though I tried not to do it too much nearer the end. Still dilated by my due date and went into labour spontaneously at 6 days over. Baby was head down from 27 weeks and was all the right way round for delivery despite how I’d put my legs!

    September 7, 2017
  • D


    Well…a hundred years ago I never heard this…the leg thing. But then I’m in a different world over here. We have our own old wive’s tales to make you nuts (sorry, anxiety ridden).

    But I do get the cream business…what goes on your body goes in your body.

    My Mum wanted to be perfect at everything, hence…she was good at nothing. Except making me nuts.

    So, Amber, just be the best, most authentic you that you can. (I know you’ve got this!)

    September 7, 2017
  • Sara J


    I’m a habitual leg crosser too. I never heard that you aren’t supposed to during pregnancy (probably for the best since I worried about literally everything else). I crossed my legs until my belly made it uncomfortable to do so sometime in the third trimester and baby was fine. No vericose veins either if that’s the concern.
    Also, I obsessed over sleeping on my left side and just about cried whenever I woke up on my back, but, again, baby turned out just fine. My Obgyn said as long as you’re not sleeping on your back all night every night it’s really not a concern. But I totally feel you on the endless list of things you’re not supposed to do. It’s really annoying and anxiety provoking.

    September 7, 2017
  • Myra


    Haha, sorry I just had to laugh at the notion that if you cross your legs the cord will wrap around the baby. I’ve never heard of the keg crossing thing at all. Keep on doing what you’re doing

    September 7, 2017
  • Laura


    I have literally NEVER heard you shouldn’t cross your legs while pregnant. But yeah the FORBIDDEN list is looooong and occasionally contradictory so at some point I just kind of gave up trying to be the perfect mum-to-be.

    September 7, 2017
  • Justine


    Thank goodness I was pregnant over 50years ago, there was absolutely none of this ” Nanny nagging ” then. On reading your comments, I must have broken every rule in the book !! My 2 children turned out perfectly, so there you go ! I really do think though that as we were virtually all much younger mothers back then, that counted for a lot.
    I wish you and Terry all the best, and hope Terry’s Mum, is doing better. My best friend is also having chemo at the moment and is having a really tough time too.

    back then

    September 7, 2017
  • I haven’t heard the not crossing your legs thing, other than in relation to my hip pain, but I HAVE reached a point where I can’t actually do it anymore – so, I guess your body will stop you when and if it becomes a bad idea!

    Ugh, there’s so much pressure on women to be perfect and so many things you’re FORBIDDEN to do – most of which don’t even get mentioned to mothers in other countries because the risks are so ludicrously small. You do what feels right to you.

    (I’m convinced I would have had an easier labour last time around if I’d given in to the white wine craving the night before!)

    September 7, 2017
  • Lise


    Legs crossed is no risk to the baby.

    Ankles crossed is no risk to you or the baby.

    Amber, with your health anxiety I’m going to leave a long space and let you decide whether to read further about a small risk of pregnancy. I don’t really understand your health anxiety, but after reading your posts about it, I certainly respect it. So health anxiety SPOILER ALERT!

    Crossing legs above knees VERY SLIGHTLY increases the risk of deep venous thrombosis, which is a slightly increased risk during pregnancy anyway since the baby presses on the big blood vessels in the back of your pelvis/abdomen. Basically anything that slows return of blood thru big veins to the heart increases this risk. But a-it’s a small risk to start with, and crossing your legs only adds slightly.

    TLDR: not a major concern.

    September 7, 2017
  • D. Johnson


    I’m feeling the same pressure regarding puppy care: “these are all poisonous plants, if she ingests a bits of a stick she could die and it will cost you thousands, products made in China are dangerous (and 99% of them ARE made in China), etc.” It can take the joy right out of things, but I hope that doesn’t happen to you.

    September 7, 2017
  • I ate a brie, bacon and cranberry baguette when I was pregnant with Felix. It was bloody delicious and it was only as I ate the last mouthful that I remembered brie is on the “forbidden” list. There is a lot to remember so don’t beat yourself up Amber!

    My mw did gently remind me about the crossed legs things when I was on a bed after a checkup, all comfy, ankles crossed but it’s as natural to me as waking up each morning so you have my sympathy as it’s a hard habit to break!

    September 8, 2017
  • If you feel comfortable with your legs crossed, then cross your legs! I think our bodies are designed to let us know when to stop doing something…like sleeping on your belly, for some reason in the last few years I have started sleeping half on my belly..that’s supposed to be a complete no-no after the 12th week. Yet it hasn’t started feeling umcomfortable until now (almost 17th week) and my doctor told me to go with it until it is umcomfortable, my body would let me know =D

    xo,Rosie // Curvy Life Stories

    September 10, 2017
  • Natasha


    Love your blog! As a new parent the only piece of advise i would have loved at 22/23 weeks is be selfish! Do all the little things you like to do, nails painted, tea & cake morning, cinema, sleep in & even going to the shop without having to pack for a weekend break!! Your doing a great job, leg position aside ? Try not to be so hard on yourself x

    September 11, 2017
  • wow I never knew that about crossing legs being bad (maybe). I do it all the time unconsciously!

    September 11, 2017
  • SF


    Been there, done that… the best thing to do is to stop googling and enjoy the pregnancy time 🙂
    Because it’s supposed to be fun time!

    September 11, 2017