Baby development at 16 weeks pregnant
At 16 weeks pregnant, things are really starting to get exciting. Your bump is visible, you’ve told your circle the news, and you’re just weeks away from the halfway point.
Your 16-week fetus now measures 4.5 inches long (114.3 millimeters). Your baby is now the size of an avocado. As baby increases in size during week 16, you may be able to feel their kicks if you pay close attention.
Your baby is also now able to hear your voice! They will recognize the sound of your voice when they are born, thanks to bones forming in their ears. Taste buds are also forming, and your baby can actually taste the amniotic fluid. At 16 weeks in utero, the umbilical cord is fully formed and contains one vein and two arteries that help keep the baby nourished and growing.
Week 16 pregnant belly
Women of a normal BMI should gain roughly 1 to 2 pounds per week during the second trimester. At 16 weeks pregnant, that is roughly 5 to 12 pounds total. If you’ve gained more or less than that, don’t worry! You have plenty of time to get to where you need to be. Remember that there is no right or wrong size belly as your baby develops. When it comes to bump size, a mother’s height, uterus and pelvic position, current body weight and genetics all play a role.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 16 weeks
You may need to purchase some new maternity clothes for the first or second time. Sleeping may be getting a bit trickier. Sleeping on your side is recommended — lying on your stomach is no longer an option, and sleeping on your back can reduce blood flow to the baby. Pregnancy body pillows can help you sleep more comfortably.
- Runny nose: If you’ve been dealing with a stuffy or runny nose, it's probably due to pregnancy rhinitis, a side effect experienced by between 18% and 42% of pregnant women. An increase in estrogen can cause your nasal passage to swell, making your nose feel a little stuffy. All the increased fluids don’t help either.
- Dizziness: Dizzy spells can be common in moms-to-be. In the second trimester, dizziness can be caused by the increase in progesterone in your body. It can also happen as a result of a change in blood flow and volume as your body works to drive blood to your uterus. Low blood sugar can also cause dizziness, so remember to keep snacks on hand.
- Acne breakouts: The same hormones that create that pregnancy glow for some moms can lead to breakouts in others. An increase in your skin's oil production can cause clogged pores in some women, leading to breakouts. Exfoliating and using a gentle, over-the-counter product can help clear your skin. Be sure to ask your health care provider which skin care products should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Constipation: Along with an increase in progesterone, your body also releases the hormone relaxin, which helps relax the muscles in your body and contributes to constipation in some women during pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids and eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to find relief.
- Strange pregnancy dreams: Experiencing a whole new kind of dream now that you’re pregnant? Yup, this is totally normal as well. While there isn’t research that explains what causes these dreams, it is a common symptom that many women report having during their pregnancy.
- Shortness of breath: As your uterus continues to shift and grow, you may feel the need to stop and catch your breath more often as your lungs become cramped and lose some of the space they once occupied.
Pregnancy checklist at 16 weeks pregnant
Four months into your pregnancy is a milestone! Whether you feel like your pregnancy is flying by or moving at a glacial pace, here are some things to consider in week 16 of pregnancy.
- Screening tests. Between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy, you will be offered the quad screen test. This test screens for genetic and spinal cord abnormalities. In this timeframe, you will also likely have an ultrasound to view the baby’s organs and measure placenta growth.
- Get a bra fitting. As your breasts continue to grow, now is a good time to get a bra fitting. Check out what the local maternity stores have. These bras are made with pregnant women and new moms in mind. They tend to be a bit more comfortable and functional.
- Plan a babymoon. Whether it's a week-long trip or overnight, spending some time away with your partner can help you both relax before the baby comes. Be sure to get the green light on travel from your health care provider.
- Use a humidifier. If you’re dealing with nasal congestion or pregnancy rhinitis, using a humidifier by your bedside can help make it more comfortable to sleep. As an added bonus, humidifiers can also help with dry skin.
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