Week 16 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 16 of Pregnancy
Your baby now weighs in at a whopping three to five ounces, and he’s four to five inches in length. The bones that are now in place in his ears means he can probably hear your voice as you talk to your partner and pals and sing in the car. While he’s getting used to your voice, the tiny muscles in his body, especially the ones in his back, are gaining strength, so he can straighten out a little more. And thanks to his developing facial muscles, your baby is capable of making a few expressive frowns and squints, even at this early stage. (Don’t worry, those frowns have nothing to do with the sound of your voice!) And his eyes are finally working, making small side-to-side movements and perceiving light (although the eyelids are still sealed). Peekaboo!
Learn more about your baby in week 16 and fetal hearing.
Your Body in Week 16 of Pregnancy
It’s hard to watch yourself gain weight during pregnancy, even when you know there’s a wonderful reason for it. The challenge, though, is to try to embrace your body’s new shape and think of every pound you put on as a sign of good health for you and your baby. As long as you eat right during pregnancy (minimize junk and maximize nutrient-dense foods) and get regular exercise, you’ll be fine in the long run. Remember, every woman is different and gains (and loses) at her own pace. One way to show your changing shape some love this week and feel better about yourself in the process: Buy a garment (or accessory) that makes you feel pretty at your new size (and don’t forget to buy underwear that fits!). Another part of you that’s swelling — the membranes in your nose, leading to congestion.
Learn more about your body this week and nasal congestion during pregnancy.
Week 16 Pregnancy Tip: Determining Your Baby’s Gender
True or false: A fetal heart rate of fewer than 140 beats per minute means you’re having a boy, while a heart rate of more than 140 beats per minute means you’re having a girl. It’s a notion that’s been making the obstetrical rounds forever, and the truth is…it’s false. Sorry, but while it sounds more plausible (and more grounded in medical fact), this one is about as reliable as holding a ring on a string over your belly and determining the baby’s gender based on which way the ring turns. (If you buy that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.) There are as many old tales about ways to find out your baby’s gender as there are old wives to tell about them (and try them out at family gatherings). Sure, they’re fun to talk about, but all of them share just one truth: They’re correct in predicting gender 50 percent of the time. If you’d like better odds than that (the kind you can base your nursery-paint colors on), ask at your ultrasound.
Learn more about finding out the sex of the baby.
Week 16 Pregnancy Symptoms
Continued breast growth: Feeling overwhelmed by your ever-growing breasts? Don’t worry — after giving birth and weaning (if you choose to breastfeed) your boobs should return to about their prepregnancy size (give or take a few jiggles).
Constipation: Besides those pregnancy hormones causing your gastrointestinal tract to get sluggish, your expanding uterus is now putting pressure on your bowels, which can back things up significantly. Try increasing the amount of liquid you drink to keep everything moving along.
Increased vaginal discharge: Though vaginal discharge is actually beneficial to your body (it protects the birth canal from infection), it may not feel comfortable. Don’t be tempted to try douches or feminine wipes, however, since they can irritate the genital tract and lead to infection.
Varicose veins: One way to minimize the swollen blood vessels in your legs? Keep your weight gain healthy and gradual (and stick within the recommended range) because extra weight increases the load on your circulatory system.
Possible nasal congestion: Pregnancy hormones cause the mucous membranes in the body to swell, including those in your nose. If this leads to nasal congestion, irritation, and even nosebleeds, saline nasal sprays and nasal strips can offer some relief.
Backaches: As your belly gets bigger, your lower back curves more than usual to accommodate the load, resulting in strained back muscles. Try to soothe these sore muscles by getting a prenatal massage (even from your partner) or taking a warm bath or shower.
Bleeding gums: Have you noticed that your gums are bleeding after brushing? That’s because pregnancy hormones are causing gum inflammation, making them more susceptible to bacteria, irritation, and bleeding. While this is normal, it’s important to keep flossing and brushing regularly. Also see the dentist at least once during pregnancy to avoid gum disease, which can cause pregnancy complications if untreated.