16 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms, Baby’s Development & Tips

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Manveen Sibia
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You are in the 16th week of your pregnancy now. Your baby bump is growing, and your skin is glowing. Your baby is almost the size of an avocado. Many women feel the first flutters of movements inside their belly around this time. Learn about your health, symptoms, and your baby’s development during the 16th week in this article.

Pregnancy Week 16

You’re well into your second trimester now. Most of the unpleasant symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue are gone, and you are full of energy. The umbilical cord and placenta are working hard to deliver the blood and nutrients to your baby and to filter out the waste.

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Though your baby has been moving for some time now, he is big enough now for you to feel his movements. Don’t worry if you haven’t felt anything yet. Most first time moms often mistake the baby’s movements for their stomach rumbles or gas.

Symptoms

1. More visible bump

Your pregnancy bump will grow and become more pronounced as your uterus expands and moves up your torso. This process will also reduce your urge to pee more frequently.

2. Breast changes

Your breasts will also continue to grow during this phase. They are also sensitive and tender. They are wholly prepped for breastfeeding by the end of the second trimester.

3. Backache

As your bump grows in size, your lower back curves more than usual, and this can lead to strained back muscles. A prenatal massage or a warm bath or shower can help soothe these muscles. Low impact exercises and stretching can also help ease the pain.

4. Varicose veins

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Varicose veins are described as enlarged and twisted veins that appear on the legs. They occur when the uterus applies pressure to the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from the feet and legs. They can be itchy and painful.  To prevent varicose veins, you must shift position if you have to stand and sit for a while. Do not cross your legs while sitting. Elevate your feet often.

5. Constipation

Constipation during pregnancy is the result of uterus putting pressure on your intestines. Your pregnancy hormones may also make your digestive system sluggish. Drink plenty of water and fluids and eat foods rich in fiber.

6. Increased vaginal discharge

During pregnancy, you also have an increase in milky white or clear vaginal discharge. This discharge protects your birth canal from infection and is harmless.

7. Bleeding gums

Pregnancy hormones can cause gum inflammation, making them more susceptible to irritation, and bleeding. Take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly. Visit your dentist to avoid gum disease.

8. Pregnancy brain

Forgetfulness, inattention, and mental fogginess are common complaints during pregnancy. While it’s not clear what causes these symptoms, many experts believe pregnancy hormones may be responsible. Having a lot on your mind and sleep deprivation may also lead to forgetfulness.

9. Itchy eyes

Pregnancy hormones are also responsible for itchy and sensitive eyes. Over-the-counter eye drops can help.

10. Pregnancy glow

Pregnant women often see an improvement in their skin. The increase in the blood flow in your body can make your face look brighter.

11. Heartburn

Spicy, greasy, and fatty foods can trigger heartburn in pregnant women. Avoid such foods that trigger heartburn and eat small frequent meals rather than three big meals.

12. Nosebleeds

Additional blood flow in the body can cause tiny blood vessels in the nose to rupture. These are harmless. Apply an icepack on your nose to stop the flow of blood.

Your body at week 16

Your baby bump is growing and is quite visible. You can feel your uterus around three inches below your belly button. It contains around 7.5 ounces of amniotic fluid. Some women take great pride in their baby bump, while others rue the loss of their trim figure. Enjoy your new shape, and don’t worry. Don’t compare your baby bump to other women.

You may also notice that you are able to sleep better now.  While sleeping on your stomach is impossible now, sleeping on your back is also not recommended. Lying on your back can increase the pressure on vena cava, the blood vessel that returns the blood to the heart. Most experts recommend sleeping on the side, as it improves circulation and reduces the chances of edema and varicose veins.

You may also be feeling hungrier now. It is normal to struggle with weight gain during pregnancy. You must aim to gain around four pounds a month.

Your baby at week 16

By the end of the sixteenth week, your baby will be around 5.3 inches long and will weigh approximately 2.5 ounces.  In the next few weeks, your baby will begin a growth spurt. He will double his weight and add inches to his length (1).

  • Your baby’s backbone has become stronger, and he can straighten his head and neck now.
  • All the limbs and joints of your baby are now fully formed.
  • Your baby’s eyes and ears have settled into their permanent position.
  • Your baby’s circulatory and urinary systems are fully functional now.
  • His nervous system is connected to the muscles, and he has developed the ability to grip. Your baby can now grab his umbilical cord.
  • Your baby can now hear your voice.
  • Your baby is starting to form taste buds now.
  • Little nails are beginning to sprout on your baby’s fingers and toes.

Tips to be followed when you are 16 weeks pregnant

1. Eat healthy food

Your baby is growing fast and needs all the extra nutrients you can provide. Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cereals, and lean animal protein. Avoid high-mercury fish like king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish. Instead, eat fish like tuna, salmon, or shellfish once a week to get a healthy dose of omega-3 oils.

2. Track your weight gain

You may be feeling hungrier than usual, but that does not mean you fill yourself up with empty calories. Track your weight and maintain a healthy weight gain (2).

3. Talk to your baby

Your baby can hear you now. Taking to your baby is a great way to start bonding with him.

4. Change your sleeping position

Sleeping on your stomach is uncomfortable now, and sleeping on your back can put pressure on your major blood vessels. So sleep on your side to be comfortable through the night.

5. Buy comfortable shoes

Your shoe size can grow by half a size during pregnancy. It is time to buy some comfortable shoes. Buy shoes at the end of the day when they are most swollen.

6. Exercise

You must exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Swimming, yoga, and walking are great options. Talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine.

Your pregnancy week 16 doctor’s visit

If your last appointment with your doctor was at 12 weeks, you would revisit your doctor when you are 16 weeks pregnant. During this appointment, your healthcare provider will check your baby’s size and development. You will also get to listen to your baby’s heartbeat.

At each appointment, your healthcare provider will take your weight, blood pressure, and check your urine sample for signs of increased protein. These tests ensure that you are not at the risk f developing preeclampsia. Your doctor will also measure your fundal height to monitor your baby’s growth.

Tips for the partner

One of the important ways in which you can support your partner is by staying informed. Read books or check online about pregnancy and birth. Talk to other fathers and take advice. Your baby can now hear you. Talk to your baby together or read to him.

Final thoughts

Your baby bump is growing and is quite visible. Your baby is around 5.3 inches long and weighs about 2.5 ounces. He can hear you now and is starting to form taste buds.  You may be able to feel your baby’s movements this week. Some other pregnancy symptoms include backache, nosebleeds, constipation, heartburn, and itchy eyes. Eat healthily, track your weight gain, and exercise regularly.

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