16 Weeks Pregnant: What you need to Know
At 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is now 4 ½ inches long and weighs 3 ½ ounces. His size is about similar to an avocado and continues to grow, adding much weight. Any time during 16 weeks pregnant, you will begin to feel your baby move inside you!
Your Baby’s Development this Week
In the coming weeks, your baby’s size and weight will increase two times. This week, his head is more straightened while scalps are starting to form. His arms, legs, limbs and joints are much developed now and are stretchable and flexible, while his toenails are growing more.
Your baby’s heart is also becoming more operational while you are 16 weeks pregnant, pumping about 25 quarts of blood every day. The said amount of blood may change as your baby grows.
He has also learned to put his thumb into his mouth and suck it. Your baby’s skeletal structure, such as his backbone, is hardening and getting stronger at the same time; his nervous system is linking to all his muscles. With this, your baby is able to make movements and develop reflexes.
The facial muscles are also functioning, which makes your baby do some facial expressions such as squinting and frowning, however, he is not yet in control of this. While these muscle reflexes are developing, your baby may develop his gripping skills and might even practice it by grabbing his umbilical cord!
The tiny bones in his ears are now forming and at the same time, his ears are now working. Your baby can now hear you when you talk to him or play music for him. According to studies, babies can still recognize the song played or sung while they are still inside the womb even after they are born.
The skin of your baby is still translucent and thin as the blood vessels under his skin is still visible. This week, doctors will be able to tell your baby’s gender as genitals are now fully formed and now can see through ultrasound. His eyesight is also working now and can make small side-to-side movements and is light sensitive. When you flash your tummy with a light, your baby will turn away from it and cover his eyes using his hands. The eyes and ears have settled into their permanent position on the head.
While his lungs is still developing, your baby can now breath on his own despite surrounded by amniotic fluid, meaning your baby is like breathing under the water. Fats are starting to build on your baby’s skin which will serve as insulation. The urinary and circulatory systems are also now working.
Your Body Changes at 16 Weeks Pregnant
Details about your weight
As your pregnancy progress, your baby will soon grow and become heavier. On the 16th of your pregnancy, you will notice that the top of your uterus has now gone halfway between your pubic bone. At the same time, you will feel heavy. Contributing to that weight are those extra blood and fluid volume in your system, placenta and baby's support systems, as well as enlarging breasts. Despite of this, you will feel nausea and mood swings are reducing. However, you will gain more weight and this is normal. Pregnancy back pains are also due to begin, as most women gain five to ten pounds at this point.
Pregnancy symptoms and hormones
You may also experience a minor pain on your sides when you are moving because the ligaments on each side of the uterus and pelvic walls are already beginning to stretch. Though it is normal pain, if you experience severe pain, talk to your health care provider regarding this.
Another significant change in your body that you will notice is that your breasts have become bigger. It is because your breasts’ milk glands are producing milk. Veins are also clearly visible on your breasts due to the increase level of blood flow.
Though early pregnancy symptoms are completely or almost gone, other pregnancy discomforts are around such as constipation and heartburn. You may also experience Hemorrhoids. At times, you may also feel out of breath. The reason is because pregnancy hormones are making the fluids gather in your lungs, making it difficult for you to draw big breaths. As your belly grows, you might notice that you can’t sleep on your belly anymore.
The mucous membranes of your nose are also swelling due to the pregnancy hormones spreading in your system, increasing the blood flow, leading to pregnancy congestion as well as nosebleeds. This may get worse in the coming weeks of your pregnancy.
What to Think and Do this Week
Make sure you have been doing prenatal checkups and consultation regularly. While you are visiting your health care provider, make sure that you have ask all your important concerns regarding your pregnancy, including the pains and other changes you are experiencing as your pregnancy progresses.
You can also consult the doctor to take AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) test. This simple blood test screens for birth defects like spina bifida and Down syndrome, and should be performed when you are between 16 and 18 weeks pregnant.
If you are feeling sharp pains on your sides due to round ligament pain, even though it is a normal thing to pregnant women, it is important to let your health care provider know what you are experiencing. Your breasts are now bigger compared to the previous few weeks, so it is time for you to shop for maternity bra as well as maternity clothes for your growing womb. You may also feel you’re craving food more. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in protein and calcium, as well as other nutrients that are both important to you and your baby.
Second trimester is the perfect time to spend together with your partner on a trip, while your pregnancy discomforts are still taking a break from you (third trimester may give you more surge of achy body and other discomforts). Think of fun activities for both of you like watching movies or eating out for dinner. Enjoy your time during 16 weeks pregnant before your baby arrives, as well as embrace the world of parenthood!