16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Your baby’s tiny muscles are getting stronger! Your little one’s head is erect this week, and coordinated arm and leg movements are now starting to happen.

What else is new at 16 weeks? Your baby's ears are closer to reaching their final position, and it is possible that your baby can hear sounds at this point, or in the next few weeks. Don’t be shy about talking and singing to your little one. If you have an ultrasound at 16 weeks pregnant, you may be able to see your baby’s external genitalia. If the scan doesn’t show it clearly, it could still be a few more weeks before your healthcare provider is able to tell you whether you’re having a boy or girl — that’s if you choose to find out, of course!

Want to share the news of your pregnancy with family and friends? Download our pregnancy milestone cards to help you share the news with your nearest and dearest. You can even use them to help make the announcement on social media!

How Big Is Your Baby at 16 Weeks?

Your baby is now the size of an apple. At 16 weeks, your little one could be more than 4 1/2 inches long, crown to rump, and weigh close to 4 ounces.

Mom’s Body at 16 Weeks Pregnant

You’re now just four weeks away from the halfway point of your pregnancy. Are you getting enough rest and shut-eye? Most healthcare providers recommend you sleep on your side during pregnancy. Here’s why: Sleeping on your belly at 16 weeks pregnant might be a little uncomfortable, and experts believe that lying on your back can increase pressure on the vena cava — the blood vessel that returns blood to your heart. On the other hand, sleeping on your left side can improve your circulation, allowing better blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. Try placing a pillow between your knees, and use another to support your abdomen to help improve your comfort; ask your healthcare provider if you’re still having trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Sometime between now and 20 weeks or even later, you may start to feel your baby move for the first time. This is called quickening. But don't worry if you can't sense anything just yet. Your little one is still very small, and every pregnancy is different. The motions your baby is making are also 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.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Skin changes. You might have heard about the “pregnancy glow,” and now it might be your turn to experience it! Increased blood volume in the blood vessels and pregnancy hormones causing more oil production can make pregnant skin look flushed and dewy. Although many women love the way their skin looks around this time, it’s also possible to develop dark spots called melasma (which usually fade after your baby is born) or to suffer from the occasional acne flare-up. 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 to use during pregnancy.

  • Nosebleeds. At 16 weeks pregnant, nosebleeds can be an issue for some moms-to-be, and might be caused by increased circulation and higher levels of hormones. Even though nosebleeds during pregnancy are normal, this 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 each nostril one at a time if you need to blow your nose.

  • Lower back pain. This is one of the most common symptoms that can strike when you're pregnant, and it's good to have some strategies to avoid or lessen the discomfort. For example, take warm baths or showers, stretch regularly to help your hard-working back muscles relax, pay attention to your posture, and wear low-heeled shoes. Exercise can also help ward off lower back pain, and you can read more about good pregnancy exercise options in our downloadable guide.

  • Dizziness. Feel like the room is spinning? Dizzy spells are common for some moms-to-be. Dizziness might be a side effect of hormones that cause a change in circulation during pregnancy. Try to stay hydrated, and avoid standing for longer periods of time. If you feel dizzy, try lying down on your side, and if you feel dizzy while exercising, contact your healthcare provider.

Can’t wait to know whether your little one is a boy or a girl? Try our fun Chinese gender predictor* tool!


16 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Being pregnant can be fun at this stage! The bothersome symptoms of early pregnancy may have disappeared, and you are likely to have more energy. Enjoy this time by staying moderately active with walks, a swim, or a prenatal yoga class.

  • Now that you may be starting to look like you’re expecting, consider treating yourself to some maternity clothes that might help you feel more comfortable. You might also want to get a professional bra fitting to make sure you’re wearing the correct size as your breasts grow. Look for wide straps, full coverage, and expandable hooks. If you’re exercising, you’ll probably also need supportive sports bras in larger sizes as your pregnancy progresses.

  • If you feel uncomfortable while you sleep, consider using extra pillows for added support wherever it’s needed, like between your knees and under your belly for support as you lie on your side. Special pregnancy pillows are an option too.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • How’s my weight gain at 16 weeks pregnant? If you started your pregnancy at a healthy BMI (between 18.5 and 24.9), then from now until you deliver you’ll most likely need to add a pound a week. If you’re not sure what to eat to gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy, ask your doctor for pointers and see whether you can consult with a nutritionist.

  • Do you recommend 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. All moms-to-be are offered screening tests for birth defects, but you may want to talk to your healthcare provider for more information about your pregnancy.

How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.