16 Weeks Pregnant: Different Symptoms, Tips, And Baby Development

16 Weeks Pregnant: Different Symptoms, Tips, And Baby Development

9 Dec 2016 | 11 min Read

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Congratulations on making it almost halfway through your pregnancy journey! At week 16, you are officially four months pregnant. And so much more awaits you in the next few weeks. During this week, you are in the middle of your second trimester, and your baby is the size of an avocado. You can also hear your baby’s heartbeats in checkups and ultrasounds.

When you are 16 weeks pregnant, you will notice rapid changes in your body, and also experience certain pregnancy symptoms like swelling in your feet and nausea. In this post, we give you all the crucial information on all the symptoms that you will experience, plus your baby’s essential developmental milestones while they are still in the womb. 

Your Baby’s Development at 16 Weeks

Let’s start by learning all about your baby’s development during this time. At 16 weeks of pregnancy, you can expect a major growth spurt in your baby, and in the next three weeks, you can expect them to be more active, and many of their complicated body systems will start to function. 

How Big is Your Baby at 16 Weeks?

At 16 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be the size of an avocado and could fit in the palm of your hand. They will measure about 4.6 inches (11.6 cms), and weigh 3.5 ounces (100 gms). You can follow the pregnancy week-by-week posts to get more idea about your baby’s development every week and common symptoms that you can expect to notice. 

Foetal Development at 16 Week Pregnancy

16 weeks pregnant
At week 16, your baby’s nervous system will continue to develop and they will also form crucial reflexes / Image source: Web MD

According to doctors, you can expect the following milestones in your baby’s growth and development:

  • Skin: During this time, the skin is transparent and pink, and shows blood vessels beneath.
  • Limbs: Your baby’s tiny feet can kick now and their hands can make grasping motions. Their toenails start to grow as well, and they can now suck their thumb.
  • Eyes: At 16 weeks pregnant, your baby becomes increasingly sensitive to light.
  • Lip: The philtrum or the medial cleft begins to appear in the middle of your baby’s upper lip, which gives it a distinct Cupid’s bow shape.
  • Nervous system: Their nervous system continues to develop, and your baby will also have reflexes during this time, thanks to neural control. They will also grab and play with the umbilical cord.
  • Musculoskeletal system: Their muscles and bones get organised, and their facial muscles start moving, giving way to facial expressions.
  • Head and scalp: As their backbone strengthens, your baby’s head and neck will become more erect. Also, their scalp patterning will appear, although the locks won’t be visible yet. 
  • Heart and blood flow: Your baby’s heart will pump about 25 quarts of blood every day, and this fraction will increase as they continue to develop.
  • Placenta: The placenta will grow to accommodate several blood vessels, which will further help in the exchange of oxygen and nutrients.

If you are carrying twins, their development will be the same as above, along with the following symptoms:

  • Your twins’ fingernails grow and they go on to form unique fingerprints.
  • If you spot one of your babies sucking their left thumb in ultrasound, then chances are they may be left-handed.
  • Your twins’ bodies will grow faster than their heads, and their skin will be covered with downy hair, referred to as lanugo, which usually disappears before birth.
  • All of their limbs and joints will begin to move, and their chests move up and down to mimic breathing.

Common Symptoms That You’ll Experience This Week

16 weeks pregnant
You will feel your baby’s kicks for the first time and also feel their slight movement

At 16 weeks of pregnancy, your body will undergo several changes. You will also experience common symptoms and will notice that some of them are similar to early signs of pregnancy. You will notice:

  • Bigger breasts: Your breasts will continue to grow to prep up for nursing.
  • Backache: The hormonal changes during pregnancy, increase the risk of back pain. You can try some low-impact exercises to ease the pain. Also, sit, stand, and stretch regularly to alleviate the pain.
  • Constipation: During this time, your pregnancy hormones can make your gastrointestinal tract inactive. Also, the growing uterus may put pressure on your bowels, leading to constipation. Drink lots of water and consume high-fibre foods to beat this concern.
  • Vaginal discharge: You will also notice an increase in vaginal discharge during this time, but don’t fret, as it helps keep your vagina protected from infections and bacteria. However, if you notice a foul smell, consult your doctor immediately.
  • Bleeding gums: Pregnancy hormones cause inflammation in your body, which makes your gums susceptible to bleeding. Maintain good oral hygiene during this time, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups.
  • Varicose veins: The growing uterus compresses blood vessels in your body, causing painful varicose veins. Plus, additional weight gain during this time can also deteriorate this condition. Hence, focus on maintaining a healthy weight and avoid standing in the same position for a long time. 
  • Forgetfulness: During this time, you may become a little forgetful and even have trouble concentrating. While the exact reason for this condition, more commonly known as pregnancy brain is unknown, it is often associated with the result of endless thoughts on your mind. 
  • Heartburn: The increase in progesterone in your body slows down the movement of food along the digestive system, causing heartburn. To avoid this condition, you can have smaller meals at frequent intervals, and avoid eating spicy and oily foods.

Your Body at The 16th Week of Pregnancy

When you were in your first trimester, you could easily hide your pregnancy by wearing flowy clothes. But when you are 16 weeks pregnant, your uterus will begin to grow rapidly, and you may not be able to hide your pregnancy anymore, even if you wanted to.

You are also likely to experience your baby’s first kicks during this time and will be able to feel them move too. These kicks are called quickenings or flutters and can be mistaken for stomach rumblings or indigestion.

Additionally, you will experience a pregnancy glow, due to increased blood flow during this time, making your face look brighter than usual. The active hormones in your body will also make your skin oilier and shinier.

16 Weeks Pregnant Belly

At 16 weeks, your baby bump will be visible, and your weight gain will be considerable too. However, keep in mind that how your pregnant belly looks at 16 weeks may differ from one person to another. So, before panicking, visit your doctor for more information and confirm that your baby is going at a healthy rate without any complications. 

You can also use a pregnancy month calculator to track your progress and determine if your baby is growing at the right rate or not. 

Do You Need An Ultrasound at The 16th Week of Pregnancy?

When you are 16 weeks pregnant, you will have a four-month prenatal visit. Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination and also suggest some lab tests to check for signs of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and urinary tract infections. 

The doctor will also conduct a doppler ultrasound test during this appointment. Your ob-gyn will use a hand-held device called Doppler to make you and your partner hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, which will become a routine hereafter.

Self-care Tips for 16 Weeks Pregnancy

16 weeks pregnant
Follow self-care tips like eating right and exercising regularly to maintain optimal health

With the morning sickness gone, this is a good time for you to focus on yourself and remain fit. We’ve listed some essential self-care tips that you can practice at 16 weeks pregnant.

  • Exercise: A workout for a half-hour is a good idea. You can indulge in low-intensity activities like walking and swimming, but make sure to discuss your exercise plan with your doctor first.
  • Eat right: Pay special attention to your diet and ensure that you are fulfilling your caloric requirements per day. Consume a balanced diet filled with essential vitamins, and nutrients, and have sweets and desserts in moderation. If possible, swap your cravings with healthier options. For instance, if you are craving sweet foods, have fruits or yoghurt, instead of candies.
  • Research: Start looking for strollers, cribs, and other baby essentials. Shop all the items beforehand, as baby shopping can be difficult once your little one is born.
  • Sleep on your side: This becomes more important from the 16th week of pregnancy. Use pillows to support yourself while sleeping on your side, or invest in pregnancy pillows for added comfort.
  • Enroll in educational classes: Start taking childbirth education classes to cope with your anxious feelings, or thoughts that are affecting you. 
  • Look for baby names: Now is the right time to narrow down a list of baby names for your little bundle of joy and decide on a name with your partner.
  • Have fun with your baby bump: Your baby bump is finally showing, so flaunt it and take countless pictures with it. 
  • Communicate your feelings: Share your feelings with your partner. It will help you cope with your stressful thoughts, and also enable your partner to understand what you are going through. 

Pregnancy Checklist at 16 Weeks

A set of checklists for the week:

  • Schedule a mid-pregnancy ultrasound with your sonographer.
  • Book the next 20-week prenatal appointment with your gynaecologist.
  • Start making a baby name list.

What to Ask Your Doctor?

Before you visit your doctor, make sure to take a list of questions that you are curious about. Some crucial questions that you can ask during your 16th week of pregnancy include:

  • Do I need to make any diet modifications?
  • Is my body weight healthy?
  • Is there anything that I should avoid eating?
  • Is my baby growing at a healthy rate?
  • Can I exercise during this time? If yes, what activities are safe?
  • Do I need to take any medications?
  • What pregnancy symptoms will I experience during week 17?

Conclusion

When you are 16 weeks pregnant, you will experience several bodily changes, and also experience your baby’s kicks for the first time. On the other hand, your baby’s essential organs will continue to develop, and their senses will also grow. To maintain optimal health, make sure to consume a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and visit your doctor for prenatal checkups. 

FAQs

What are the signs of a healthy pregnancy at week 16?

If your body weight, blood pressure, and other lab examinations, such as urinary tests come out normal, then you and your baby are healthy and safe. Additionally, your doctor will conduct regular ultrasounds during prenatal visits to determine your baby’s heart rate and development.

Are you 4 months pregnant at 16 weeks?

Yes, 16 weeks is four months or the end of four months of pregnancy.

What is my baby doing at 16 weeks in the womb?

As your baby’s eyes are forming, they can make small side-to-side movements during this time. Your baby may also start sucking its thumb, and you can feel its first kicks around this time.

Can you feel your baby move at week 16?

You can feel your baby’s first kicks at week 16, and also light movements from time to time.

Can I lay on my back at 16 weeks pregnant?

No, especially from week 16 of pregnancy, you should avoid laying on your back. Always sleep on your side and use pregnancy pillows for extra comfort and support.

How can I make my baby happy in the womb?

You can make your baby happy in the womb by gently rubbing your belly, or by responding to their kicks. 

Also read: 

Ovulation calculator: Check out this post to know everything about ovulation and how to calculate your most fertile days.

17-week pregnancy symptoms: Here’s everything that you can expect during the 17th week of pregnancy, from different symptoms to your baby’s developmental milestones.

Cover Image Source: Pexels.com

 

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