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16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Your baby’s tiny muscles are getting stronger! Your little one is pumping those little arms and legs frequently this week. Sometime between now and 20 weeks, you may be able to feel movement for the first time. But don't worry if you can't sense anything yet. Your little one is still very small, and the cushion of amniotic fluid can make it difficult to feel movement just yet.

At 16 weeks, can a baby hear? Not quite yet. Although your little one’s ears are moving much closer to their permanent location, he or she may be able to hear closer to your 18th week. Some of the movements your little one makes after that time may be in response to sounds from the outside world.

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How Big Is Your Baby at Sixteen Weeks?

Your baby is now the size of an apple. At 16 weeks, the average fetus measures between 4.5 to 4.75 inches long and weighs just under 3 ounces.

pregnancy week 16 fetus

Mom’s Body at 16 Weeks Pregnant

Congratulations! You’re just four weeks from reaching the halfway point. Are you getting enough rest and shut-eye? Most healthcare providers recommend that you sleep on your side during pregnancy. As you might have noticed, sleeping on your belly is pretty much impossible at this stage. It's thought that lying on your back can increase pressure on the vena cava, the blood vessel that returns blood to your heart, so lying on your left side is best. Sleeping in this position increases your circulation, which can help minimize your chances of developing edema (swelling) and varicose veins.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Heavy Breathing – Out of breath crossing the room? Pregnancy hormones cause fluid to collect in your lungs, making it harder for you to draw big breaths. Later on, your growing uterus will compound the problem by placing pressure on your diaphragm and reducing the space in which your lungs can expand.
  • Feeling Tiny Movements – Tiny fluttering movements might or might not be felt at this stage. The motions your baby is making are very small, so it can be difficult to tell if the sensations you’re feeling are caused by a rumbling, hungry tummy, gas, the baby moving, or something else. By about week 28, your baby’s motions will be easier to identify and you’ll be able to tell when your little one is feeling frisky.
  • Skin Changes – You might have heard about the “pregnancy glow,” and now it might be your turn to experience it! Although many women love the way their skin looks around this time, many others find that their skin develops dark spots called melasma. Still others suffer from acne flare-ups. To help curb breakouts, wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. You can also ask your doctor or dermatologist to recommend products that are safe for use during pregnancy.
  • Unexplained Nosebleeds – At 16 weeks, nosebleeds can be an issue for some women. They’re a normal side effect of increased circulation and higher levels of hormones, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. You can keep pregnancy-related nosebleeds to a minimum by humidifying indoor air, moisturizing the edges of your nostrils with petroleum jelly, and gently clearing nostrils one by one if you need to blow.
  • Frequent Backaches – If you’re experiencing lower back pain, some preventative steps. Take warm baths or showers, and stretch regularly to help those hard-working muscles relax.
  • Dizziness – Feel like the room is spinning? Dizzy spells are common for some women. They’re usually a side effect of hormones that work to increase circulation to your baby, but also lower your blood pressure and cut back on the amount of blood that reaches your brain. Other conditions like low blood sugar, anemia, and varicose veins can make you feel dizzy, too. If you have a headache while dizzy or if your case is accompanied by heart palpitations, abdominal pain, bleeding, or blurred vision, you should consider it an emergency and call your doctor immediately.
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16 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Being pregnant can be fun at this stage! Those bothersome symptoms of early pregnancy have probably disappeared, and you are likely to have more energy. Enjoy this time by staying moderately active with walks, a swim, or a pregnancy yoga class. Pick up tips on different forms of exercise during pregnancy.
  • Now that you’re starting to look like you’re expecting, treat yourself to some maternity clothes to show off your new shape.
  • If your sleeping position feels uncomfortable, consider using extra pillows for added support wherever it’s needed. Special pregnancy pillows are an option too.
  • Schedule a 20-week prenatal visit if you haven’t already done so, and be sure that you’re set up for a mid-pregnancy ultrasound [https://www.pampers.com/en-us/pregnancy/healthy-pregnancy/article/ultrasounds-during-pregnancy].

16 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Call your doctor right away for bleeding or unusual discomfort, including cramping. If you have any questions about what you're experiencing, play it safe and call your healthcare provider.
  • How’s my weight gain? If you started your pregnancy at a healthy BMI, during the second trimester you’ll most likely need to add a pound a week until you deliver. If you’re not sure how to eat, ask your doctor for pointers and see whether you can consult with a nutritionist.
  • Now is the time to speak with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of the MSAFP test. This simple blood test screens for birth defects like Down syndrome and spina bifida, and must be performed between weeks 16 and 18.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Start sleeping on your side, if you’re not already

Speak with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) test

Plan or take a trip — a babymoon! — with your partner

Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Start sleeping on your side, if you’re not already

Speak with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) test

Plan or take a trip — a babymoon! — with your partner

Sign up to get weekly pregnancy tips