Baby Growth at 16 Weeks Pregnant
Welcome to week 16 of your pregnancy, your second trimester is in full swing now! Your baby continues to grow, averaging 3.53 oz and 4.57 inches long. This is comparable to the size of an avocado.
There are many exciting changes happening this week. Taste buds continue to form and the skin continues to develop. It is still translucent at this point. Your baby’s eyelids are fully developed, and they are becoming sensitive to light. Their movements are becoming more coordinated. You may not be able to feel them, but they can be seen with an ultrasound.
Your baby’s eyes and ears are in their permanent positions, and their body proportions are becoming more normalized. Although their eyes are not open yet, they are able to make small side to side movements. One of the most exciting changes at this time is that your baby is starting to hear your voice!
You and Your Body at 16 Weeks Pregnant
This week, you may notice that your baby bump may be adjusting a little higher up, this happens because it’s beginning to outgrow your pelvis. You might actually begin to feel some baby movement, often described as a muscle twitch, gas bubbles, or a fluttering sensation like butterflies in your stomach. These first movements are referred to as “quickening.”
Your hair and skin may be looking shinier and healthier; this is known as “pregnancy glow.” Your body is producing more progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy and this increases the amount of oil that your skin creates, resulting in brighter looking skin and shinier hair. Due to increased circulation you can also experience clearer skin. Some women may notice a flushed appearance on their cheeks, chest, and breasts as well.
Your breast size is continuing to increase in preparation for breastfeeding, and the glands that produce milk have become active. You may also notice that your areola and nipples are getting bigger and darker, and the small bumps around your nipples are more noticeable. Those small bumps actually help to protect the nipples from possible infection or soreness when you begin breastfeeding. You may have heard recommendations to pinch or rub your nipples to prepare for breastfeeding, this can actually cause them to become dry and uncomfortable or even bring about contractions so it’s best to avoid this practice. A gentle moisturizer can help with any dryness or itching as they continue to develop.
Typical Symptoms at Pregnancy 16 Weeks
You may begin to experience nosebleeds, heartburn/indigestion, swollen gums, constipation, sensitive or dry eyes, and shortness of breath. If you’re experiencing nosebleeds and dryness you may want to begin using a humidifier to help ease those symptoms. Heartburn can be quite uncomfortable, so try eating smaller meals and eating slower. Avoiding spicy foods, fried foods, and citrus juices can provide some relief.
Forgetfulness or trouble concentrating – also known as “pregnancy brain” – is common due to the hormonal changes that are occurring. It can help to write to-do lists for yourself as a reminder to help keep everything organized. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reach out to your partner, family, and friends when things start to become too overwhelming. It’s ok to hand over the reins and have someone help with many of the tasks you tackle throughout the day. Remember to take some time for yourself and relax.
You may also start noticing some swelling of your hands, feet, and ankles as a result of your body retaining more fluid. You may find it helpful to stay off of your feet for long periods of time, sit with your feet propped up, or lay down with your legs elevated to relieve some pressure. Try to wear compression stockings and loose fitting clothing when possible. Being active can help too! Activities like walking, using a stationary bike, swimming, massage and reflexology can help provide relief. While some swelling is normal during pregnancy, be sure to reach out to your doctor if it occurs suddenly and is accompanied by pain.
Pregnancy Week 16 Tips and Advice
Be sure that you are drinking plenty of water. If your urine is clear and pale yellow that’s a good sign that you’re well hydrated. Aim for 64-96 oz of water per day, about 8-12 cups. Water aids in digestion and helps hydrate your body. Water also helps generate the amniotic fluid around the baby which helps with the baby’s movement and protect them. Amniotic fluid helps the lungs to develop properly, prevents pressure on the umbilical cord, and ensures a consistent temperature around the baby. Drink up mama!
At this time in your pregnancy it’s advised to start sleeping on your left side to help with circulation and blood flow to the heart, uterus, kidneys, and your baby. It also helps ensure that your baby is not resting on your liver, which is located on the right side of your abdomen. You can use support pillows to help with any discomfort you may experience, especially if this is not your normal sleeping position. Placing a small pillow or rolled up blanket at the small of your back, under your abdomen, or between your legs can help relieve any pressure you may be having. Experiment with different positions to see what is the most comfortable for you and your growing belly.
This is a perfect time to start talking to your baby and consider using a fetal doppler to listen to their heartbeat. Fetal dopplers work by providing an audible simulation of the baby’s heartbeat; similar to what you would hear during an ultrasound. You may find that this will help reduce anxiety during pregnancy and offer reassurance if your baby isn’t moving around a lot yet. Having your partner join in with these activities can create a bonding experience for all of you.