You're now 16 weeks pregnant! You're well into the second trimester by this point. You probably have lots of questions about what's going on with you and your baby at this stage. We've got all the answers for you in this article. Read on to find out what's going on with you and your baby at sixteen weeks!
- You may begin to feel your baby move at this stage!
- Nasal congestion and nosebleeds are common symptoms at this stage. They generally aren't reason for concern, but contact your doctor if your nosebleeds become severe.
- Your baby can make expressions, but they lack control over their facial muscles. As such, any expressions are random.
Body Changes at 16 Weeks Pregnant
You may begin to feel the baby move at 16 weeks pregnant. However, many first time mothers do not recognize fetal movements until 22 to 24 weeks. These first movements are called “quickening.” You may also begin experiencing bleeding gums, pain in your abdomen from stretching ligaments, and swelling of your feet.
For some women, nasal congestion and nosebleeds are a side effect of pregnancy. This is due to altered levels of hormones, which may cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell. Increased blood volume and softening of the tissues also contributes to this. Unfortunately, it may continue throughout your pregnancy. A vitamin C deficiency may cause nosebleeds, so an increase in your consumption of vitamin C-rich foods may help. Do not use nose drops, other than saline, unless instructed to by your doctor.
Between weeks 16 and 18 of pregnancy, your health care provider may offer you a maternal blood screening test, also known as a “triple marker” test or “triple screen”. This test measures the levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the fetus, and the pregnancy hormones hCG and estriol in the mother's blood. The results of the triple marker test can tell whether your baby is at risk for common pregnancy complications like neural tube defects or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. The tests will only tell you if there is a risk, not if your baby has the abnormalities. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and advantages of this test.
Your Baby's Growth and Development at 16 Weeks Pregnant
By the time you are 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is between 4 and 4.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 3 to 3.5 ounces. Your baby's nails are well formed. The ears have also moved from the neck to the head.
Your baby can hold his or her head erect, and the development of facial muscles allows for a variety of expressions, such as squinting and frowning. Your baby lacks control of its facial muscles at this stage, however, so any expressions are random. Your baby is able to form fists and may start punching around inside of you! The stomach is producing digestive juices and the kidneys are producing urine. Your baby is well on its way to being a little person!
Things to Do At 16 Weeks Pregnant
There are some things you'll want to do or continue doing at 16 weeks pregnant. The further you get into your second trimester, the more important it'll become to take care of the things on this list. Delaying will only make your life more stressful, which isn't good for you or for your baby.
Tell your employer. If you haven't told your employer about your pregnancy by now, you really should think about doing so. Notifying your employer about your pregnancy will give you certain legal protections. It will also allow them to have notice that you'll have to go on maternity leave in the coming months. You'll likely be showing by this point, so telling your employer makes sense.
Pregnancy vitamins. If you and your doctor haven't spoken about pregnancy vitamins, you'll want to ask them at your next prenatal appointment. Don't begin taking any vitamins without a doctor's approval; some vitamins are not suitable for pregnant women and it can be easier than you might think to take too much. Overdosing on any vitamin is not healthy or safe.
Continue avoiding alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, and caffeine. All of these substances can have a negative or even dangerous effect on your baby. By consuming these substances, you're putting your baby at risk of severe developmental complications or even death. If you're struggling to avoid using any of these items during pregnancy, speak to your doctor or midwife for help.
Guard your health. Your immune system is compromised during this time, so it's important to keep yourself safe. Keep up with all vaccinations, especially the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Stay away from any area known to have the Zika virus, and avoid anyone who may be infected with chickenpox or rubella. If you have cats who are in contact with other felines or who go outdoors, avoid changing their litterbox. They may contract toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds, and bathe regularly.
So there you have it! All you need to know about being 15 weeks pregnant. Hopefully this article answered all the questions you have about what's happening with you and your baby. If you have any further questions or concerns, contact a medical professional. Feel free to check out our other articles on pregnancy, childbirth, and life with a newborn!
The information in this article should not be taken as professional medical or legal advice. Always seek the advice of a doctor for any medical questions or concerns. Always seek the advice of a qualified attorney for any legal questions or concerns. Moms Who Think is not responsible for any outcomes that may arise as a result of actions taken based on information we provide. It is your responsibility to do your own research and to take the appropriate measures to protect your health. It is also your responsibility to do your own research regarding legal matters.