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Pregnancy 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 a stuffy nose and nosebleeds, 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 recommended by your care provider.
Between weeks 16 and 18 of pregnancy, your health care provider may offer you the maternal blood screening test, also known as a “triple marker” test or “triple screen,” which 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 such as spina bifida 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 Week 16
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, and some babies are even in need of having their nails trimmed at birth. 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. The stomach is producing digestive juices and the kidneys are producing urine. Your baby is well on its way to being a little person!