Pregnancy Week 16 – Weekly Development

It’s week 16! Let’s cut through all the extra talk and get to the point. Right about now, your uterus is growing extremely fast! Your baby is growing pretty much at the same pace soon, and if you still had schemes in place to hide your bump, well, they wouldn’t work for much longer.

In about four weeks, you would be hitting the halfway mark and your cravings are about to go through the roof. If you haven’t been experiencing them, they might start to swamp you right now.

Why pregnant women have cravings, it is really not known. However, it is just attributed to hormones and that’s probably all there is to it. Some women have been known to crave strange stuff that isn’t food such as dirt, wax, or ice. This condition is pretty rare and it is known as pica, if you experience this, you should go see your doctor.

You would also be generally feeling better this week since you’re already in your second trimester compared to how you felt in the first. You are also about to enter one of the most thrilling phases of your pregnancy where you would start to feel your baby move soon.

At first, you could probably think that the feeling in your belly is a result of some other sensation such as gas or regular stomach rumbles. However, if you start to notice a pattern — and it is hard to miss, then it’s just your baby stirring.

 An ultrasound where you can see more of your baby is also just a few weeks away.

Your baby is now roughly the size of an avocado.

Your Baby’s Development

This week sees some leaps and bounds in your baby’s development. The inner workings are starting to actually come to life and organs that are still developing are doing so rapidly.

By the end of this week, your baby would weigh approximately 3.5 ounces. Measurement of length at this point is done from the top of the head to the bottom of the buttocks. This is known as the crown-rump length and right about now, your baby would be around 5 inches.

This is only the start of an acceleration in growth and over the next 4 weeks, your baby would grow about double this size.

The urinary and circulatory systems are up and running and your baby’s heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood every day now (this would see a rapid increase in the coming weeks).

This week, your baby’s head is fully upright now and the eyes and ears have assumed their final position — exactly where they would be when your baby is born.

It would start to move around more frequently and at this stage, it can grip the umbilical cord. The nervous system is still under development and your baby would be flexing the muscles in their limbs more and more often. There’s complete mobility in the joints and limbs and your baby has begun to make purposeful movements.

Reflexes would be developing and don’t be surprised to hear that thumb sucking is also a thing around this time. And although the eyelids are shut tight, the eyes would still work. They would be capable of making side-to-side eye movements and would turn away at the sight of light.

There would be various facial expressions at this stage given that your baby would still be unable to control them. A look at the face at this point would reveal a squint or frown.

Legs are developing more rapidly and although you don’t know yet if your baby is a girl, eggs are already forming in her ovaries by the thousands. At this point, your baby is able to hear and recognize your voice, so, talking to them at this point isn’t a fool’s errand. Studies also indicate that your baby can hear music and recall songs that they listened to inside your belly.

Your baby would also be looking cuter at this point with little or no baby fat and translucent skin. So, your baby would appear thin and long-limbed. At 16 weeks, your baby’s nails are beginning to sprout too with taste buds still developing. 

Your Body & Symptoms

The second trimester is often regarded as the honeymoon phase of pregnancy. This is because you would feel a lot more peaceful and sleep better as well compared to previous weeks. Around this time, sleeping on your side should be something that you’re getting used to as well.

Your doctor may be against your sleeping on your back at this point in time. This would typically mean using more pillows to support your body. Pillows wouldn’t be a problem as there are several pregnancy pillows designed for this very purpose. They may also help you sleep better by supplying added comfort.

Following a healthy diet, you should gain between 12 and 15 pounds this trimester. This is subject to the state of your body before the start of your pregnancy — whether you were underweight or overweight.

You would also feel pretty energetic and your mood would be just great. The occasional mood swing isn’t ruled out of the mix, but it would be nothing compared to your first trimester. By this time, your wardrobe should be looking different with more maternity clothes, gearing up for the inevitable increase in size.

Generally, here are some of the symptoms that you may experience:

1.   Pregnancy Glow

Your face may begin to look brighter as a result of the increased volume of blood flow in your body. Pregnancy hormones may also make your skin look radiant and you would typically notice your skin shining and sporting more oil.

This is nothing strange and it is often referred to as “pregnancy glow.” Your face might get super oily at this point so, using an oil-free cleanser is advised.

2.   Nosebleeds

You may also experience the occasional nose bleed or bleeding gums (stemming from gingivitis). The nosebleeds occur when the extra blood volume circulating in your body causes tiny blood vessels found in your nose to rupture. It is pretty harmless and to stop a nosebleed, here are some steps to take:

  • Sit and elevate your head in a manner that positions it higher than your heart. Avoid leaning back as this may lead to your swallowing blood.
  • Pinch your nose tightly with your index finger and your thumb for a duration of at least 5 minutes
  • An ice pack can come in pretty handy in helping to stop the bleeding by constricting your blood vessels.
3.   Heartburn

Heartburn would typically occur as a result of certain foods triggering it. Fried or spicy foods are usually the main culprits. And while a particular food never gave you issues before pregnancy, the story might be different at this point. You may need to avoid certain foods that previously bode well with you.

4.   Pregnancy Brain

This symptom is pretty common in pregnant women and is known as “brain fog.” This symptom might sound pretty far-fetched, but it is indeed a real thing. During the course of pregnancy, the ratio of your brain cells actually reduces, leading to difficulty in concentration and forgetfulness.

Measures To Begin To Take

1.   Drink Lots of Water and Eat Fiber

Constipation is a pretty common symptom around this time, and your diets during this period should include lots of water. Fiber is also known for speeding digestion along and improves bowel movement significantly.

2.   Stay Active

Around the 16th week, you may experience shortness of breath as a result of your baby putting pressure on your lungs. Constant exercise is a way to avoid this and improve your breathing. However, you need to be in tune with your body so that you don’t overwork it.

3.   Consume Extra Calories

You would be needing more energy for you and your baby and should consume at least 340 extra calories every day.

You can get these calories from healthy foods such as lean protein, pasteurized low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, and healthy snacks.

Essential Purchases To Make

You should be spending quite a bit on food around this time since you would be needing some extra calories.

A healthy amount would be going towards the purchase of new clothes as well since you would have outgrown most of your previous clothes.

Also, you should be spending on supplements such as folic acid and vitamin D.

Suggestions

Do not skip any doctor appointments at this point in time. You definitely shouldn’t be taking caffeine at this point, neither should you be consuming substances with any alcoholic content. Cigarette smoke, whether primary or secondary is a no-no as well and you should avoid spots where you’re likely to inhale other toxic substances.

Reading up about motherhood at this point isn’t too early and you could also talk to other women who have already had kids to learn a bit about their experiences. You should go easy on yourself now that you’re carrying, reduce your workload if possible, and avoid stress like a plague.

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