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Week 16 of pregnancy

Week 16 of pregnancy

Article reviewed by Dr. Anca Panaitescu, specialist obstetrics-gynecologist, Clinical Hospital Philanthropy

In the week 16 of pregnancy the fetus begins to resemble a baby, eyes and ears reaching the final position. At the same time, a remarkable aspect is that the baby becomes able to hear your voice, which he will recognize at birth, so you can start talking to him whenever you feel the need.

How big is the baby at week 16 of pregnancy

In week 16, at a length of 11-12 cm and a weight of 80-100 grams, your child is the size of an avocado fruit. In the next three weeks it will grow a lot, doubling its weight, and it will also increase in length.

Pregnancy at 16 weeks: how your baby grows

The lower limbs are much better developed now, recovering the difference from the upper limbs.

The head is better formed, and the eyeballs have moved to the front of the head. The eyelids are very thin and still closed. The ears are close to the normal position. The internal hearing aid is in full development. Some of the baby's organs and systems are functional: the circulatory system and the urinary system. But it will last until they are fully developed and fully functional. Many organs become fully functional only after birth.

The baby's heart pumps about 20 liters of blood daily, recycling it several times throughout his body and through the placenta. In the placenta oxygen and nutrient exchanges between mother and fetus take place. From the placenta, blood loaded with nutrients is brought to the baby's body through the umbilical cord. Thus, the baby can grow and gain weight. Although the eyes are closed, the eyeballs move slowly and are very sensitive to light. The toenails also began to develop.

The bones strengthen, as more calcium accumulates, and the newly developed fingers are able to hold the umbilical cord.

The bone and nervous system have developed enough connections to coordinate movement of the limbs and body. The girl's muscles have also developed, but they cause involuntary movements (although the baby seems to be twisting or twitching voluntarily).

During week 16, the suction accesses also appear, before the organized breathing, but without producing the related noise. Snoring occurs frequently in the fetus and is not a problem. Many mothers can feel when their baby is sucking on their tummy, usually after 24 weeks. Sucking episodes feel like little rhythmic impulses. It is considered that wheezing is an exercise for the development of respiratory muscles and is not painful for the fetus.

If you have a baby girl, millions of eggs are formed in her ovaries this week.

Read: What does the baby look like in your tummy at week 16 of pregnancy?

Do not forget: Every baby develops slightly differently - even in your body. Our information is intended to give you a general idea about the development of your baby.

How many months is 16 weeks pregnant

You are still in the 4th month of pregnancy.

What happens in your body in week 16 of pregnancy

Have you been told you look great? The "shine" of pregnancy is real and is due to the increased amount of blood reaching the skin. You feel better now, when your hormone levels have been balanced and your morning sickness has improved. In the second trimester the pregnant women generally feel full of energy and tonic. Her mood also improves, especially as her anxiety about losing her pregnancy decreases. After the 14th week, the risk of miscarriage decreases.

Soon you will begin to feel the baby's movements, this being the most wonderful moment of pregnancy. Women who are in the second or third pregnancy feel the fetus's movements earlier because they know how to recognize them. But most pregnant women experience fetal movements at about 18 weeks. If this is your first pregnancy, you can feel the fetal movements later, around week 20. You have every chance to feel the baby's movements when you are lying on your back at night. Weaker women feel the movements earlier. At first you can confuse these movements with those of intestinal peristalsis. The movements of the fetus are initially felt in the middle of the lower abdomen.

The first movements can be similar to the flight of a butterfly or acid bubbles from a bottle of mineral water. In the coming weeks, they will increase in intensity and become stronger, like blows.

In week 16 it is recognized that your appetite is increasing, and you feel it too! Make sure you get all the necessary nutrients and do not consume only empty calories (chips, fries, sweets, etc.). In addition to the pregnancy vitamins you are already taking, your doctor may recommend taking iron supplements. In pregnancy, anemia is common, and at birth it can lose up to 1 liter of blood, which aggravates the iron deficiency.

After the baby in your tummy comes into the world, you will have a very demanding time, so you will need all your energy to take care of it. Anemia can prevent you from doing this, you can feel tired and without pain. Therefore, it is good to correct the iron deficiency. Pills, however, should not replace a healthy diet. Feed as healthy as possible and hydrate yourself enough to give the baby all the nutrients it needs.

As for the tummy, probably at this time began to know, and the hips and waist became more pronounced. It is time to take some comfortable, larger clothes to feel good about.

Common symptoms at 16 weeks of pregnancy

At 16 weeks you may have back pain (make time for light physical exercises to counteract them), face constipation (due to the fact that the uterus begins to press the bowels), itching and dryness at eye level, look more often.

Your cardiovascular system is undergoing major changes and during this trimester, your blood pressure will be lower than usual. Do not get up too fast if you are lying down or in your chair because you might get a little dizzy. Your heart needs to pump up to 30-40% more blood, which means extra effort and energy consumption.

From now on, when you are lying down, it is better to sit on one side, or at least partially on one side. When you lie on your back, your uterus may press on a major vein behind it, the vein that brings blood from the feet to the heart, and thus decrease the return of blood. When you are lying down try to hold a pillow behind you, under your hip or between your legs. Many pregnant women sleep on one side, more often left, with a pillow between the legs and one under the belly. Use as many pillows as possible to sleep comfortably.

Analyzes and investigations in week 16 of pregnancy

Around week 16 can be done amniocentesis. This procedure has an accuracy of over 99% in identifying certain abnormalities in the development of your baby, such as Down syndrome and almost all chromosomal disorders.

Amniocentesis can highlight several hundred other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sach's disease, as well as neural tube closure defects (such as spina bifida or anencephaly). But you will have to balance your desire to know more about the health of your child with the risks of this procedure (pregnancy loss, infection).

Before you undergo the procedure you should ask yourself what you would do if the result was abnormal. Some women opt for termination of pregnancy, while others choose to continue. If you are sure that you will never interrupt the evolution of pregnancy, no matter what the amniocentesis looks like, knowing beforehand that your baby will have special needs can give you and the medical team time to prepare for the challenge ahead.

In addition, some metabolic problems of the fetus, which can be detected by amniocentesis (biotin dependence and methylmalonic acid (MMA) acidemia, can be treated intrauterine once they have been detected.

On the other hand, if you plan to continue the pregnancy regardless of the outcome of amniocentesis, you may not want to expose yourself to an additional (otherwise low) risk of losing the pregnancy, which is associated with amniocentesis.

Who should do amniocentesis

  • Pregnant women over 35 - the risk of having a child with certain genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, growing older.
  • Pregnant women who have had a previous pregnancy resulting in a fetus with abnormalities and defects.
  • Pregnant women who have abnormal results in prenatal screening tests (screening test for quarterly chromosomal abnormalities, bitest or triple test).
  • Genetic problems in the family on the maternal or paternal line - the existence of diseases that are transmitted genetically (for example, cystic fibrosis in the family).

If you decide to do an amniocentesis, the process will take about 30 minutes (the extraction of the fluid itself should take less than 30 seconds). The doctor will use the ultrasound to find a space that contains amniotic fluid at a distance that is safe for both the baby and the placenta. Then under continuous ultrasound guidance, the doctor will insert a long, thin needle through the abdominal and uterine wall to allow the extraction of a small amount of amniotic fluid.

Read more about how amniocentesis is performed

It is possible that during the process you may feel cramps, itching or pressure. The degree of discomfort varies from one woman to another and even from one pregnancy to another.

Amniocentesis is the safest method to identify a congenital defect such as Down syndrome, but in rare cases it can cause pregnancy loss.

What to do during week 16 of pregnancy

Plan a romantic date with your partner, outside the city or even at home. With the arrival of the child it will be very difficult for you to leave for just a weekend. Don't miss this last chance to be just you two. This period is optimal also for holidays at sea or in the mountains.

Also read: List of things to do in week 16 of pregnancy

Do not wait, because in the third quarter you will be too tired to go on the long road. If you can't get out of town, you can go out and do things to enjoy together - this includes dinner in town or watching a movie.

Week 15 of pregnancy | Week 17 of pregnancy