At 16 weeks pregnant, you are officially in your fourth month of pregnancy and the second trimester of your pregnancy!
Inside your belly, your baby is growing rapidly, and there are some physical changes you are experiencing as well.
If you have not already raided maternity clothing stores, this pregnancy week is the perfect time to do so! Keep reading to learn more about what is going on at sixteen weeks pregnant and what you can expect.
Physical Symptoms During Week Sixteen of Pregnancy
Week sixteen of your early pregnancy will come with some pregnancy symptoms that will color your days, due to pregnancy hormones.
While most of your pregnancy symptoms from past weeks will be nothing new this week, such as tender breast and nasal congestion, some of the common symptoms you can expect during the week sixteen are going to include:
Gas and bloating
The high levels of the hormone progesterone are causing your body to produce more gas than usual. Progesterone relaxes muscles in the whole body, and the digestive tract muscles are included in this equation.
Once relaxed, these muscles slow down the digestion of the eaten food, leading to bloating, gas, and full, uncomfortable sensations in the tummy. And while dealing with bloating and gas is inevitable during pregnancy, a quick walk after the meal can make it easier, as well as eating smaller meals.
Round ligament pain
The round ligaments that support the growing uterus are thickening and stretching with each week of pregnancy. While this growth is pretty great, it can sometimes lead to a sharp, stabbing pain on the side of your abdomen.
This round ligament pain is something many pregnant women deal with. If this pain happens out of nowhere and stops you in your tracks, sit down, relax, and cool the area. The round ligament pain should go away shortly.
Dealing with back pain during pregnancy will be inevitable for many pregnant women, given that the weight you carry is in the front, and your back muscles have to take over as your abdominal muscle weaken. At sixteen weeks pregnant, the weight is big enough for you to start to feel it in your back muscles.
Moderate and gentle movements, such as prenatal yoga, walking, weight training, and swimming, can help reduce discomfort. Using a pregnancy pillow to lay down and relax can also be helpful when your back starts aching.
Studies have not proven that there is such a thing as pregnancy brain that leads to forgetfulness, but most pregnant women report trouble focusing and absentmindedness during their pregnancy.
It is believed that the pregnancy brain is a consequence of an unfortunate combination of stress, fatigue, and hormone fluctuations. Do not hesitate to reach out for help, simplify your tasks wherever possible, and use your phone’s calendar to stay organized.
Headaches during pregnancy can be caused by lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, cutting back on caffeine, hormonal fluctuations and hormonal changes, and many other changes that the body is experiencing during the pregnancy journey. However, tell your doctor if you experience headaches.
Many women notice that, during the second trimester of their pregnancy, they experience pregnancy hormones causing some noticeable changes in their skin.
Some women report having brighter, glowing skin (often called the pregnancy glow), while others report more pimples and an oily appearance.
What Happens to The Baby During Week Sixteen of Pregnancy?
At 16 weeks pregnant, your developing baby is about 4.5 inches long and weighs about 3.5 ounces, which is about the size of an avocado. Your baby will enter a significant growth spurt in the next few weeks as the pregnancy progresses, which is going to make the baby’s development visible.
At week sixteen, your baby is becoming more and more active by the day, moving around in your belly. Also, the baby’s urinary and circulatory systems are functioning at a more advanced stage than before, although they are not fully formed just yet. The baby’s tiny bones are also developing rather fast.
Your baby’s ears and eyes have settled into their permanent position, making the baby’s head appear more normal and human-like. The head itself is becoming more erect and not angled forward as the baby grows. If you are having a girl, her ovaries produce thousands of eggs in her ovaries at week sixteen.
Pregnancy Checklist During Week Sixteen
The list of things you need to complete during your sixteenth week of pregnancy will include:
Tracking your weight gain
In order to ensure you are in a healthy range and gaining weight at a good pace, your healthcare provider is going to monitor your weight during your pregnancy journey.
Make sure to buy some comfortable maternity clothes to accommodate your baby bump and growing uterus.
Second-trimester prenatal tests
Around 16 weeks pregnant to 18 weeks pregnant, your healthcare provider might advise you to complete a test for Alpha Fetal Protein (AFP), which will help screen for neural tube defects (problems with the spinal cord and brain), such as spina bifida.
If you did not have a screening test for fetal chromosomal anomalies in the first trimester, you can have a quadruple screening test between the 15th and 22th week which also includes a test for AFP.
Talking to your baby
It is true that your baby is not here just yet, but starting to speak to your growing bump can help jump-start the bonding process before the baby arrives.
You can read stories to children, narrate your activities, or share your secret wishes for the baby.
Playing some gentle, classical music that you enjoy for your baby can also be a fun way to connect and spend time together.
What To Avoid or Begin to Avoid?
Pregnancy often means staying away from certain things and activities to protect you and the baby inside you. For example, during week sixteen, make sure to stay away from:
- Smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs, and being exposed to toxic substances.
- Drinking an excessive amount of caffeine.
- Eating liver and excessive consumption of foods that are high in vitamin A content.
- Performing physically demanding workouts and carrying heavyweight.
- Touching kitty litter or cat feces.
- Eating deli meats, raw or undercooked meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheeses from unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized dairy foods, high mercury fish, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
- Having close contact with anyone with rubella, chickenpox, or the Zika virus.
- Getting tattooed as it poses a risk of infection.