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Oct15

16 Weeks Pregnant

Overview

One of the most exciting moments of pregnancy is when you feel your baby move. Most of the women notice quickening as

16weekspregnant it is called between the 16 and 20 weeks. The movements can be felt like light fluttering in the stomach. Some women might not experience any movements as yet but there is no reason to worry. At this stage you might have to undergo an antenatal test to screen for birth defects. Amniocentesis is a test recommended for women over 35 years of age especially for those with a history of birth defects. These tests explain the chromosomal abnormalities that might be detected. Minor infections like coughs and colds can be common as the immune system is slightly impaired during pregnancy however this is not a cause of worry.

Infections like chicken pox, rubella can cause problems for your baby depending on when these infections occur in your pregnancy. The health care provider might recommend some tests such as ultrasound, AFP, triple test or amniocentesis to check the proper development of the baby. You might want to discuss certain things with your doctor such as round ligament symptoms, preterm labor and its causes.

Week 16

Your Symptoms: You may be able to feel the baby move! Most women first notice this sometime between 16 and 20 weeks. It is often described as fluttering or popcorn popping.

Baby’s Development: The baby is beginning to move amniotic fluid through his respiratory tract, which helps his lungs to develop. This practice breathing is only sporadic right now but will become more regular as the pregnancy progresses.

Baby’s Size: 8.7 cm (size of an avocado).

To Do: Spend some time lying quietly with your hands on your lower abdomen. You will be more likely to recognize baby’s movement when you are not rushing around.

You can enroll in a prenatal or childbirth class at this time and this can give you more information on how to make the pregnancy period more manageable. Your body produces more blood and with improved circulation your face gets a glow by this time. The body is producing more hormones causing the oil glands to work more making your face appear shiny. You can use a cleanser to clean your face if your face breaks out into pimples however most women glow at this stage.

Baby’s Development

The baby is around 17.5 cm in size and 160 g in weight. The baby has more space in the uterus to move now and will be moving around quite a lot. The baby can grasp with its hands, kick or even somersault by this time. The baby acquires reflex of suction. You can notice the baby stopping the swallowing action if a bitter solution is introduced into the amniotic fluid. The baby can even get hiccups in this stage. The baby reacts to visual stimulation and will use its hands to protect the eyes when violent external light falls on it. The baby develops fat under the skin to provide the baby with insulation. The baby and the placenta are of the same size now. The genitals are fully developed and a sonogram might be able to tell you the sex of the baby.

The head and the neck are held straighter now and you might hear the thumps of the heartbeat with an external monitor. The baby has developed reflexes like sucking, blinking and swallowing. The regular movements of the chest show that the baby is now able to breathe underwater by inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid. The baby develops fingernails and the legs are longer than the arms now. The baby’s urinary and circulatory system begin functioning more efficiently and the baby pumps about 25 quarts of blood daily. By the 40th week it is expected to increase to 1900 quarts per day.

Changes with your body

This is an important week to check for abnormalities like Down syndrome or spina bifida by conducting an AFP test. This is a harmless blood test and carries no risk for the baby as such. The milk glands start production and might become tender or swell. The veins on the breasts become more visible due to the increase in the amount of blood flow to the breasts. The aches and pains you feel during pregnancy can be due to the changing body shape and increased weight of your womb. You will experience backaches which are very common and you might feel more clumsy and prone to falling. Your skin will be stretching on the belly and breasts especially if you are gaining weight fast and this can lead to stretch marks on the skin. You can feel your uterus below your belly and must have gained about 5-10 pounds till now. This is a good time to start practicing sleeping on one side as sleeping on the back can place the uterus on the top of major blood vessels which can decrease the circulation to the baby. Using a pillow as a prop is also a good idea and can ease the strain on the stomach.

What to expect

There is a glow on your face and people start complementing you, this glow is due to the increased blood flow to the skin. This is the time that you will enjoy yourself much more as the hormones have stabilized and the nausea and morning sickness symptoms have eased. Some women notice quickening, that is the fluttering movements of the baby. Some first time mothers might not be aware of the baby’s movements till 20 weeks or more. These first time movements are described as fluttering like gas or bubbles and you can feel these sensations without realizing that it is your baby’s movements. The amount of movement will vary with each pregnancy and you cannot compare any two pregnancies.

The risk of a miscarriage drops drastically after the 14th week and there is an overall sense of well being which one experiences at this stage. If you are gaining excessive weight as per the normal standards you can eat more vegetables and fruits rather than junk food or heavy food and continue with some regular exercise pattern. If you have a hard time gaining weight you can eat nutrient dense foods with healthy fats like dry fruits, and try and have a milk shake daily with fresh fruit to get a calorie boost, you can even eat in between meals to increase weight. Regular check ups are a must at this stage to check the weight as well as the development and safety of the baby.