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Week 16 of pregnancy

Now that you are in week 16 of pregnancy, there is a lot more you got to deal with this week. You might have a prenatal visit this week. You may also feel the baby kicking and moving inside this week.

 You are officially 4 months pregnant now! Your bump is most likely to show up even more and feel your baby’s flutters inside your belly. Your little baby isn’t little anymore. It has started to look more human-like.  

What does week 16 of pregnancy look like?

This week, you might start feeling the baby moving in your pregnant belly. As the baby gets bigger and bigger the movements may feel like a muscle twitch, but later on, it would be unmistakable. 

Your weight gain and the growth of your baby is likely to pick up the growth speed. The baby bumps may vary from pregnancies to pregnancies and women to women. Don’t compare with other women’s belly. As long as you and your baby are healthy, there isn’t much to worry about. Feel free to list down the questions and ask your doctor.

Week 16 of pregnancy
Female doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient

Fetal development at week 16

The baby is growing every week and there is a lot happening this week. It is almost the size of an avocado and about 5 inches long, weighing about 5 ounces.

  • You can see the heart beating 150 to 180 times per minute, and pumping about 24 liters of blood in a day. 
  • Now that the baby has developed taste buds and pores and learned to swallow, the baby can taste the amniotic fluid which takes flavors from the diet, the baby starts developing taste preferences in the belly.
  • Bones and muscles continue to develop and strengthen, while the skeleton is fully developed.
  • The head is more straight and in line with the body.
  • The movements of the eyes initiate between week 16 and 18, the baby starts to touch the eyelids once it starts to move.
  • The ability to hear is developing. The baby is listening to your voice
  • The 16-week fetus is now growing hair, lashes, and eyebrows.

You may start feeling the baby move within week 16 to 18. Inside, the baby is starting to learn more about tastes, hand, and eye movements.

What are the symptoms?

The baby grows and develops, so does the symptoms and complications. Even though you might feel energetic and good overall while enjoying the “pregnancy glow”, some symptoms can pop-up.

Feeling the baby flutters

You may start to feel the movement of the baby in your belly, resembling mild flutters in your stomach. Whether you feel it or not, your baby is constantly moving, especially between week 14 to 19 while there is enough room for the baby to move.

Food cravings

With nausea taking over the first trimester, you will notice a rise in cravings for some food and aversion towards others.

About 60 to 90% of the moms report them. These are usually triggered by hormones and the body’s way of indicating the requirement of certain nutrition for the baby.

Varicose veins

You may start noticing that your veins are enlarged, swollen and twisting veins, appearing blue or purple. This happens due to increased abdominal pressure and its effect on the legs due to gravity. Avoid standing for longer duration, wear fitted bottoms or stockings and keep your legs elevated whenever you are sitting. This condition is easier to manage and if ignored, it may require surgery.

Round ligament pain

The ligaments that hold the uterus, stretches as the baby grows, causing some pain in your lower abdomen and in the back. If the intensity of the pain is unbearable, consult your doctor immediately.

Brain fog

Are you forgetting this often and losing track of your work? Some women experience brain fog. Although it might sound weird, it happens for real. During pregnancy, your brain cells ratio declines, leading to concentration difficulties.

Pregnancy glow and fuller nails

Some good changes that come along are the pregnancy glow and fuller hair, as a result of increased blood flow in the body.

Related articles: Week 15 of pregnancy | Week 7 of pregnancy

Self-care tips

Remedies for the stuffy nose

If you are experiencing blocked nose and congestion due to pregnancy, you can try using a humidifier in your room, or use some plain saline drops to decongest. If there is no improvement, ask the doctor for a nasal spray that is safe to use to decongest your nasal passage.

Stay active

Staying active is a result of a combination of variables including having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining weight throughout the pregnancy.

Prep yourself for the quad screen

It is a blood test that detects different levels of substances produced by the placenta. The test indicates if the child will likely suffer from any chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.

Sleeping position

Getting comfortable in a sleeping position at bedtime can be a bit comfortable. Make sure the bedroom is at the desired temperature. Allow the air to circulate in the room to avoid suffocation. Use pregnancy pillows to relieve pressure points. Start sleeping over the left side.

Special considerations and complications

Pica 

During pregnancy, you will find yourself having weird cravings for food. Usually, these cravings aren’t dangerous. However, some cravings can be dangerous. It is better to avoid cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs. 

It has been proven that pica is usually associated with iron deficiency anemia. So don’t miss out on those iron tablets, no matter how much indigestion they cause you, before the other option would be blood transfusions and it comes with its own set of complications.

But there are also some unusual cravings of some non- food items such as soap, dirt, and sand. The urge to eat non-food items is called Pica. eating substances that aren’t food can be harmful to you and the baby. So, resist the urge and talk to the doctor about such cravings.

Visit the doctor

Prenatal visit

This week, your health care provider is most likely to schedule a prenatal visit this week for your next appointment. The doctor may take the following tests-

  • blood pressure test
  • Weight check
  • Ask for a urine test
  • Swelling and varicose veins check
  • Checking the heartbeat of the baby through ultrasound
  • Getting your questions answered

Genetic test 

If your doctor has suggested genetic screening, you may have blood during the office visit. This test is offered between week 15 and week 22 to determine the baby’s risk of chromosomal abnormalities and tube defects.

Important checklist for week 16 pregnancy

  • Schedule the next prenatal visit for week 20
  • Maternity clothes 
  • Healthy alternatives for your cravings

Bottomline

Your baby is doing amazing things in 16 weeks. The baby is developing its senses including taste, hear, and touch. 

The baby is moving and more active by now. Soon your baby would be able to hear you and you can also feel the baby moving in your belly. 

Reference:

What do you think?

Written by Neetu Verma

I am a certified Nurse in General Nursing - Midwifery. I am currently fighting coronavirus in a government hospital in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India as a nurse on special duty. I have a special love for writing and write as and when time allows me to do so.

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