Placenta keeps growing
This is could well be an eventful week for some of you who can start feeling tiny foetal movements for the first time. This first movement, termed as quickening, could be likened to the fluttering of a butterfly. It starts off feeling like a light tap and intensifies and strengthens as the weeks pass by.
If you don’t feel the flutters, not to worry. Most women don’t start feeling movements until 20 weeks.
If you’re having an appointment with your doctor around this time, you would be recommended some specialized blood tests and screenings which are routine during the second trimester. These tests include the Alpha-Feto Protein (AFP) tests and Amnioentesis. The AFP is conducted to rule out abnormalities in the foetus while Amnioentesis is done to check for chromosomal abnormalities.
Baby’s Developments at Week 16
Your baby prepares for a huge growth spurt in the coming weeks. By the end of week 16, baby weighs 140 grams and measures around 4.6 inches
- Baby’s eyes begin to show movement. Even though the eyelids remain fused for protection, the eyes are able to react to light! They move away when a light is shone on the abdomen.
- The placenta, which nourishes the fetus with nutrients and oxygen and removes wastes, is growing. It now contains thousands of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen from your body to the baby’s developing body
- The ears and eyes are in their final positions
- The head is more erect than in the previous weeks
- The mouth and lips also begin to show movement. Many babies can make sucking motions
- The tiny ear bones are in place and baby is able to hear your voice
- The circulatory and urinary systems begin to function in full force.
If you happen to have an ultrasound scan during week 16, this is how your baby would look
Pregnancy symptoms at week 16
- Your body is beginning to gain visible weight at this stage. Your doctor may advice you to switch to sleeping on your side. If he does, then you will have to support your back with extra pillows. You may also find yourself getting forgetful often and having trouble concentrating.
Read: Pregnancy & Weight Gain
- This is also the time when your hair and nails are getting thicker and growing faster.
- Your uterus and placenta continue to grow.
- Your breasts are becoming bigger and heavier as your body prepares for breastfeeding,
- As your tummy grows outward, the lower back curves more, resulting in overworked muscles and backache. Get a soothing massage from your partner or have a warm bath
- The body is producing an increased amount of amniotic fluid which helps to protect the foetus.
- Your blood volume increases by 30-50%. This results in increased circulation, bringing a glow to your face (the pregnancy glow)
- There is also an increase in the oil secreting hormones which may result in oily skin. You can use an oil-free cleanser to clean your face.
- As your uterus starts pressing against on your intestines, constipation and slow bowel movements are common complaints during this stage. Increase your intake of water, fibre-rich fruits and veggies and grain based cereals. Exercise is also an effective remedy to deal with this problem.
Things to keep in mind
- Drink lots of fluids to flush your system. It’s the best way to avoid urinary infections and edema.
- Follow an exercise routine (pregnancy-safe exercises as recommended by your doctor). You could also consider joining prenatal yoga classes
- Practice sleeping on your left side as it improves your blood circulation. It also lowers the risk of varicose veins and edema
- Use a sunblock to protect your skin against skin darkening
- Take your prenatal vitamins regularly and have a diet rich in vitamin C and folic acid
Tip for Pregnancy Week 16
- The second trimester is the best time of pregnancy. So now that you have relief from those nagging symptoms of early pregnancy, make the most of it by staying active with exercises like walking, swimming and yoga
- Indulge yourself to a soothing massage or a pedicure/manicure
- Flaunt your new shape with some new maternity clothes