16 Weeks Pregnant
Greetings! This week you are 16 weeks pregnant and you look and feel beautiful. Your little baby is busy growing up so you can soon hold him/her in your arms. The fetus at 16 weeks is of the size of an avocado that is 4.5 inches long and weighing about 100 grams. You could simply hold up a 100 gm pack of sugar and yes that’s how much your little one weighs. Not much? Don’t worry, as there is lot of growing up yet to be done. Baby fat will be added in the coming weeks and by the end of your pregnancy, the baby’s weight will be around 2.5 to 3 kg.
How Your Baby is Growing This Week?
The head is now beginning to look proportionate to the body. The legs are growing and your baby is straightening out looking taller each day. The eyes are now able to recognize bright light and the eyeballs begin moving from side to side, however the eye lids will remain shut till the third trimester.
If you could see through your belly, your 16 weeks fetus looks more human but is still skinny, yet to put on the baby fat. The skin is translucent with visible blood vessels and the limbs are now actively moving and flexing at the joints. The facial expressions, frowning, sucking is all happening at the same time. Voluntary control over the facial movements is yet to develop.
The bony structure of your baby at 16 weeks is getting stronger each day. However the process of ossification will be completed only once the baby is born as the bones need to remain soft and movable to help the baby pass through the birth canal (vagina) at the time of birth.
The umbilical cord is now formed with one vein and two arteries.
The vital body systems – circulatory, urinary, respiratory and digestive are in tune, each performing their independent functions.
By this time, meconium will also begin to form in the intestines of the fetus. This will be passed as the baby’s first stool after birth. Another importance of the meconium is during the onset of labor. In case the baby is in any kind of distress, then the amniotic fluid, that is meconium gets stained and your doctor will consider this as a very important finding to decide the next course of action. It may also become one of the indications for a Cesarean section as it indicates fetal distress.
Changes in Your Body at 16 Weeks Pregnant
At 16 weeks pregnant, body changes are all about weight gain. You are beginning to gain weight at a steady speed and its time when your new shape says “baby” rather than “burger king”. The most important thing is to aim for a steady weight gain. You can do this by eating whenever you are hungry but only by choosing fruits over fried snacks. Many pregnant ladies get anxious with their changing body shape during pregnancy. Remember, all the changes are for a good cause and soon you will hold your baby in your arms.
Another important change you will notice by week 16 pregnancy is that your breasts are becoming heavier and there may be a yellowish secretion from the nipples. This is the colostrum production which has begun in the breasts; it will be the first milk (protein and antibody rich) for your baby.
Overall you are feeling happy, energetic and with nausea vomiting gone away, more like your normal self again. Your body is also getting used to the pregnancy hormones and helping you cope up better.
Your 16 weeks pregnant belly is beginning to show and you are likely to be rewarded with those first kicks soon. This phenomenon is called “quickening”. The movements now feel like gas bubbles, rumbling or butterflies in your tummy. You may not be able to recognize it at times. It’s normal to start feeling the baby between 16-20 weeks. However if this is your second pregnancy, you will feel the movements earlier and this time you know it’s your baby and not gas. The movements are faint in the beginning and gradually they will get stronger as your baby grows. It is a priceless feeling to be able to feel your baby move.
Week 16 Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
This week your baby is growing bigger and so is your waist line. 16 weeks pregnant symptoms will not be very different from those in the previous week.
- Joint pains
- Sharp pains in lower abdomen (round ligament pain)
- Engorgement of breasts
- Yellowish secretion from the nipples
- Swollen gums
- Stuffy nose
- Itching over the skin of abdomen
- Improving appetite
- Visible bluish veins on breasts and abdomen
- Steady weight gain
- Acidity and heartburn
- Lustrous hair and fast growing nails
- Protruding belly button
- Mood changes and anxiety
- Visible baby bump
- Back pain
- Darkening of acne or moles all over the body
- Muscle cramps
You will begin to feel the baby move between weeks 16-20. Pregnancy hormones have a positive effect on your hair and reduce the rate of hairfall, so you will tend to notice lustrous thick hair during this time and also faster growing nails.
Diagnostic Tests and Ultrasound Results in Week 16 of Pregnancy
At your 16 weeks pregnant ultrasound, you will see that your baby has longer limbs and a head which is in proportion to the body. The external features like the nose, mouth and eyes are visible on a side view. This is a lot different from the picture of your baby during the 4 week ultrasound.
The position of the placenta and umbilical cord will be checked and blood flow assessment will be done to check if your baby is getting enough nutrition.
The weight of the baby is also assessed. Major structural anomalies can be picked up at this stage. You will have a detailed anomaly scan in the coming weeks.
You will get to hear the baby’s heartbeat and the heart rate will be measured.
By week 16, the external genitals are formed and the sex of the fetus can be assessed on ultrasound.
Pregnancy Health Tips
- Begin your day with a nutritious breakfast comprising of proteins, carbohydrates and little fat. Include milk and other calcium rich foods.
- Follow a light to moderate exercise routine like walking or swimming.
- Take your folic acid and vitamins regularly.
- The pressure of the growing uterus will lead to engorgement of veins on the legs. Avoid keeping your legs hanging and support them while sitting.
- Ensure that you wear comfortable undergarments. Your enlarging breasts need a well supported bra.
- You may be experiencing stretching pains so be careful and avoid jerks and sudden change in position.
- Buy stylish maternity wear and look beautifully pregnant.
- Plan a mini vacation (Yes, it’s called a babymoon!) in the second trimester and have a safe trip before you get on to becoming a full time mom!