You’re on week 16 of your pregnancy, and things are really starting to gear up! Your tiny baby is not so tiny anymore, and it most definitely looks like a human baby now. By week 16 of your pregnancy, you’re 4 months in. That means you’re nearly halfway there and only have 5 more months to go!
In addition to knowing that your baby is getting stronger, you might actually experience some positive 16 weeks pregnant symptoms for a change. After those annoying first trimester symptoms, you could be truly developing your “pregnancy glow” right about now.
Learn more about what to expect when you’re 16 weeks pregnant below!
Your baby at week 16 of pregnancy
Remember when your baby used to look more like a tadpole than anything else? Those days are long gone! Instead, your baby has defined facial features, arms, and legs, and its hair will start growing very soon.
At 16 weeks, your baby already has all its vital systems in place. Now the organs need to mature to be ready to function. Also, the baby needs to gain weight and strengthen its muscles and bones. Of course, there’s still some time to go before the baby is ready to meet you. But it’s exciting to think that it has grown so much already!
How big is your baby at 16 weeks pregnant?
It's time to think about maternity clothes. Your baby is now 4.7 in (12 cm) long and weighs about 3.5 oz (100 g). In the next 3 weeks, he/she will be twice this size, and so will your belly. Right now, the baby’s size is comparable to an avocado or an orange!
Pregnancy week 16 fetal development
Your baby is now constantly doubling up in size and weight. Your baby has gotten so big that its tiny heart is pumping about 6.6 gal (25 l) of blood daily, and this quantity will only keep increasing.
In the womb, your baby at 16 weeks has complete mobility in limbs and joints. It has even started to make more purposeful movements. Their reflexes are also developing, and they might even be sucking their thumb by now! Their eyes also work, even though their eyelids are still shut. They’re making side-to-side eye movements and will turn away from light.
Tiny ears, which started out at their neck, have nearly reached their final position. Your baby isn’t just able to hear, it can also recognize your voice. Studies have shown that, after birth, they can even remember the songs they listen to inside your belly. The baby's head has almost risen; its little body is beginning to straighten. Their facial muscles are getting stronger, and they’re starting to develop facial expressions. It’s also yawning inside the womb!
16 weeks fetal development also leads to your baby looking cuter. The baby’s skin is still translucent, and they don’t have much baby fat. So, your little one looks very long-limbed and thin. Taste buds are also developing for your 16 weeks pregnant baby, and their nails are beginning to sprout.
Your body at week 16 of pregnancy
After those unpleasant first trimester symptoms, you’ll probably be feeling much better. 16 weeks pregnant symptoms will be much more tolerable for most women. You might even find yourself regaining some of the energy you lost during your early pregnancy!
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect some new symptoms when you’re 16 weeks pregnant. These are some of the most common changes to expect at 16 weeks pregnant:
16 weeks pregnant belly
By now, you’ll have a small 16-weeks pregnant bump. During your first trimester, you might have gained weight without a baby bump in sight. Your 16 weeks pregnant belly, however, definitely says that you’re pregnant.
During your second trimester, your uterus will grow to be the size of a papaya. Right now, it’s located halfway between your navel and your pubis. The ligaments that hold your uterus in place are stretching and thickening, preparing for further growth.
Your 16 weeks pregnant baby weight gain should be around 1 pound (0.45 kg) per week or 4 pounds (1.8 kg) per month.
16 weeks pregnant symptoms
You’re probably very happy to be rid of those uncomfortable early pregnancy symptoms, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect any changes. Your hormones are still working hard to maintain your pregnancy, which means that you can still expect some symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms when you’re 16 weeks pregnant include:
- Bigger breasts: you might have thought that your breasts couldn’t get any bigger after your first trimester — think again! Your breasts will keep getting bigger in preparation for breastfeeding.
- Lower back pain: as your round ligaments — the ones that hold your uterus in place — stretch, you could feel some pain. This pain is mild, and you should call your doctor if its intensity increases.
- Constipation: as your uterus grows bigger, it puts pressure on other organs. Your bowels are affected by this pressure, which means that your intestinal traffic could become slower.
- Varicose veins: your blood flow has increased and your uterus is pressuring the veins in your pelvis and legs. This can lead to varicose veins, especially if you’ve gained weight too quickly.
- “Pregnancy brain”: many women refer to this symptom as “brain fog”, and although it might sound like it’s made up, it’s very real. During pregnancy, your brain cell ratio actually decreases, causing forgetfulness and concentration difficulties.
- Thicker hair and nails: finally, some good changes! Pregnancy hormones will make your hair fall out less, and you’ll probably also have healthier nails.
16 weeks pregnant ultrasound: do you need it?
If you have a 4-month prenatal appointment scheduled for this week, you could be getting a 16-week ultrasound. In addition to the ultrasound, your doctor will be performing a physical examination, measuring your belly, and ordering some tests. A urine test will determine your risk of developing conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Your doctor or nurse will also check on your blood pressure. Vaccines are also offered around this period, including the whooping cough vaccine. Getting vaccinated can protect your baby during pregnancy and after birth.
In your 16-week pregnant ultrasound, your doctor will probably be able to determine your baby’s gender. You’ll also get to hear the heartbeat and you’ll see your little one bouncing around inside your belly. And in happy news, your risk of miscarriage is less than 1% after seeing a normal 16-week ultrasound.
16 weeks pregnant lifestyle
- Try remedies for your stuffy nose: if you’re suffering from pregnancy-related congestion, try placing a humidifier in your room and using a neti pot.
- Get healthy extra calories: you should be eating approximately 340 extra calories each day now. Try to get them from lean protein, fruits, and veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds, or pasteurized low-fat dairy.
- Drink plenty of water and eat fiber: constipation is very common around this period, so your 16 weeks pregnant diet should include lots of water and fiber to improve your bowel movements.
- Stay active: some women experience shortness of breath around their 16th week of pregnancy since the baby is also compressing their lungs. Try to keep exercising, but listen to your body and rest if you’re feeling dizzy or out of breath.
Sex at week 16 of pregnancy
Your nausea has gone away and your energy is back up. No wonder you have a higher sex drive around week 16 of pregnancy! Many pregnant moms report that the second trimester is great for having sex. So, don’t worry if your libido goes up around this time.
It’s normal for your partner to worry about the baby being so close while you’re intimate. But unless your doctor has expressly advised against sex, you have nothing to worry about.
What to expect at 16 weeks pregnant – checklist
- Write down a list of names you like.
- Start planning or working on your nursery. You only have 5 months left now, and it’s better to get this done ahead of time to avoid rushing when you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy.
- Make a list of everything you need: a car seat, a high chair, a diaper bag, etc.
- Schedule your next prenatal appointment — usually for week 20.
- Look for maternity clothes that fit your growing bump.
- Reach for healthy alternatives to your cravings.
16 weeks down, 24 weeks left! You’re nearly halfway through your pregnancy, and your baby is bigger and stronger than ever. Looking cuter, too! It’s still too early to meet him or her, but you can already start to prepare for the future months.
Enjoy your second trimester, which is many women’s favorite part of their pregnancy. Most uncomfortable symptoms have subsided, you have stronger hair and nails, and your bump is still small. Meanwhile, your 16-week baby will be getting stronger and practicing to meet you soon!