Welcome to Pregnancy Week 16. You’re in the middle of your fourth month of pregnancy and, chances are, you’re beginning to enjoy your increased energy this week.
Pregnancy Week 16 Guide
In this week’s guide, we’ll check how baby is growing, review your symptoms, and discuss ways you might need to adjust your sleeping position.
How Your Baby is Growing at 16 Weeks Pregnant
By the sixteenth week of pregnancy, there are slight variations in the rate of baby’s growth (although the order of development remains the same). Most babies are weighing in around 3.5 ounces and measure about 4.5 inches long. This is approximately the size of an avocado.
Internally, the baby’s muscles continue to strengthen and he is now able to straighten his back more fully. Your little one’s skeleton is also hardening as his cartilage is turning to bone.
If you could take a peek at your baby this week, you’d see eyebrows, eyelashes, and her eyes moving behind her eyelids. Toenails are even starting to grow.
Perhaps most exciting, your baby is now able to hear your voice and grow to learn it. Before you know it, you'll be able to comfort your baby just by talking to him.
Mom’s Baby Belly at 16 Weeks Pregnant
Your uterus continues to expand and grow by week 16. It now rests halfway between your pelvic bone and your navel. As it bumps out, your round ligaments will begin to stretch. This could cause pain and, if bothersome, is something to chat with your doctor about at your next appointment.
While there are various pregnancy symptoms in the second trimester, they often pale in comparison to those of the first. Regardless, you may be experiencing the following this week:
- Hair and Nails Growing Faster
- Round Ligament Pain
In my 16th week, I’m just beginning to experience many of the aches and pains of pregnancy. I recently caught myself standing, bending, and moving for an extended period of time and found my back pain (and even round ligament pain) got gradually worse. If you too discover this happening, listen to your body and take breaks to sit and relax during prolonged tasks.
Looking ahead, you’ll want to make sure you have your mid-pregnancy anatomy ultrasound scheduled. Most doctors prefer to have this performed between weeks 18 and 20.
Feeling Your Baby Move at 16 Weeks Pregnant
For the first time Mama, week 16 is likely too early to identify baby movement. Even for me (currently pregnant with my sixth baby), it’s always a toss-up when I’ll feel those first flutters of movement.
Here are some things to keep in mind about feeling your baby moving:
- First movements won’t feel like traditional jabs and pokes. Instead be aware for flutters, rumblings, or even twitches.
- Movements won’t be consistent or in any pattern. You may think you feel movement one day and not feel anything else for another day or so (and that’s okay).
- Your body type, placenta location, and baby’s positioning all affect when you’ll feel movement. Be patient, it will happen!
While I often feel movement around week 16, every pregnancy is different. Throughout my first pregnancy, I didn't identify baby movement until in the midst of my 20-week ultrasound when I saw my daughter kick and could line up that visual with the feeling.
Now that I’ve had numerous pregnancies, first movements seem to happen at any time. For some of my babies, I’ve felt flutters around week 13, while others have had me guessing until after week 16. It can be hard to be patient but hang in there. Before long you’ll be reassured that your little one is moving and growing.
Sleeping Positions During the Second Trimester
As your baby belly expands, you may find it becoming uncomfortable to sleep. By week 16, you’ll want to consciously think about what position you’re sleeping in.
While stomach sleeping is obviously impossible during late pregnancy, most doctors also advise against sleeping on your back as this can hinder good blood flow to your baby. Instead, grab some extra pillows and prop yourself on one of your sides.
If possible, sleeping on your left side provides the placenta (and therefore you baby) the best blood flow and nutrient supply while you rest.
Of course, you’re not able to monitor your sleeping position when actually snoozing. If you wake up to find yourself on your back, gently roll over to reposition yourself. This advice is intended as best practice and if it isn’t working it certainly shouldn’t be a reason to feel guilty.
A Dad’s Perspective on Pregnancy Week 16
Names. That’s what’s on my mind at week 16. Well, more accurately, it’s on my mind from the moment I find out we are pregnant, but by week 16, I get brave enough to start some name conversations! Every couple is different when it comes to choosing names, but remember that this is a real human and a real human needs a real name.
I’d suggest sticking to viable options. Also, make sure you don’t get too set on one favorite, as your counterpart might feel differently about it! Have some fun, do your homework, and bear in mind that your little one will ultimately define their name more than the other way around.
Pregnancy Week 16 Wrap Up
This week of pregnancy has been a time of increased excitement as we’ve announced our news to family and friends and our children are eagerly anticipating a new arrival. I hope you’ll continue to join me (and my husband) on our pregnancy journey with our sixth child.
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