Each week of pregnancy brings along new surprises for you and walking your way through physical and emotional changes can be quite challenging. We recommend that you always have like-minded people around you to hold your hand through these ups and downs because as natural as pregnancy might be, it is difficult to deal with the uncertainties all alone. The 16th week heralds your entry into the fourth month of pregnancy and it might give you some comfort to know that in four more weeks you will be mid-way through this journey. This article intends to give you fundamental information regarding the changes that you can expect in you and your baby this week, without confusing you with medical jargon. We also have a few tips and tricks to offer you, especially if you are a first-time mum and have no clue what is going on with your system.
Your Baby At 16 Weeks
There is no doubt about the fact that your baby is going through a growth spurt this week and in the coming few weeks, there will be quite a bit of addition as far as your baby’s height and weight are concerned. Almost the size of an avocado, your baby is now around 3-4 ounces in weight and 4 inches long. Your baby’s height continues to be measured in terms of the Crown Rump length. In the 15th week, his head was slowly gaining more strength and this week it is more erect than ever before.
One of the primary reasons that he can straighten out his head even more is because backbone and back muscles are getting stronger by the day. If you could look into your womb now, you would be able to see your baby squinting and frowning. This is because its facial muscles are developing rapidly and although his eyelids are still fused together, he will be able to perceive light. Although his hair is yet to start forming, the hair pattern on his scalp has already started mapping out. Those tiny toenails that you will need to trim often are also in place. Your baby’s ability to grab things is getting better by the day which is why he might try and play with the umbilical cord1, owing to his need to keep practicing for the finale.
Did you know that at 16 weeks your baby’s skin is still transparent and all the blood vessels are visible from under the skin? Your baby’s skin is still developing and there is some time before he has more human-like skin and till then he will also look quite skinny because the baby fat will settle in after a few more weeks. While the skin and fat are still in the developmental phase, your baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes make a distinct difference to the way he looks this week. The face has at least more human-like characteristics than the rest of the body.
Sing To Him Or Her!
It is time that you start brushing up your singing skills because your baby already has tiny bones inside its ears that will help it to hear your voice at 16 weeks. This means that whatever you say or sing will be audible and this comes in handy after birth. Research suggests that babies tend to remember and recognize the voices or sounds heard inside the womb and when they are born, it gets easier to put them to sleep if the same lullabies are sung. If you are a fan of Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’, you could very well sing it to him while remembering all the time that it could possibly be one of the songs he dozes off to!
Your Body At 16 Weeks
If you have been skinny all your life, this week might prove to be a turning point for you because your body is likely to start gaining weight to support the pregnancy. You may or may not like the new changes that are happening to you, especially if you are a first time mother or if you are health conscious. What is important for you to know at this point is how gradual weight gain might be more beneficial than accelerated weight gain. You will meet your doctor for your prenatal appointment this week that will also include your routine blood tests, urine test and blood pressure checks. You will also receive information on your upcoming anomaly scan from your doctor or your midwife. If you have a risk of Down’s syndrome, your doctor might advise you for early screening tests like an amniocentesis at 16 weeks. Apart from these, what else is your body saying this week? Read below to know!
How Much Do You Weigh?
Although this is a question that will cloud your mind all through pregnancy, do not let it get to your head because over thinking weight issues might cause further problems. Your belly will probably look more pregnant than ever before and you will no longer be mistaken for having binged on food. However, since all pregnancies are different, you might not start showing yet and that is perfectly normal. If you are on the heavier side to begin with, it will take some time for people to notice that you are pregnant. What is important to know and understand is that accepting your pregnant body is of utmost importance in this journey. Your body will undergo a number of changes and you will have to learn to love it, the way it is.
There will be challenges in the way of how your cravings shape your life and your body and as long as you are eating healthy, getting some exercise and enough sleep at night, you are more or less sorted. It is important to have nutrient-dense food that does not fill you up with empty calories and make you feel hungry often. The right balance of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins will always help you in the longer run.
If all your clothes are now officially not fitting you anymore, this is the time to invest in supportive maternity wear. Don’t wear loose, unflattering styles because you are getting bigger; rather, embrace the curves with flattering shapes and styles that are available in comfortable fabric in most of the branded stores.
Why Is My Nose Always Stuffy?
Nasal congestion and nosebleeds are common during pregnancy. Along with your uterus swelling and pushing other organs around to accommodate itself, so are the mucus membranes in your nose. This is because of the pregnancy hormone, progesterone that is responsible for all the increased blood flow too. Your nasal congestion is likely to increase over time but unless it is bothering your ability to breathe properly, your doctor will probably not recommend anything for it. The safest thing to use this week would be nasal sprays or saline sprays. A lot of pregnant women swear by humidifiers installed in their rooms that help with the congestion. If your nose feels too dry, you could try dabbing a tiny amount of petroleum jelly under your nose for instant relief. Do not try any over the counter medication unless specified by the doctor.
You will probably feel more settled by now because for one, you are getting used to the pregnancy symptoms, and secondly, there are lesser symptoms to deal with. The fundus of your uterus has grown enough to fit halfway through your pelvic bone and your navel. All the thick bands of ligaments that keep it supported continue to stretch out to accommodate the growth. With mood swings bowing out for a while, you will find yourself more cheerful through the day and will have more energy to indulge in constructive work.
You might come across random strangers asking you about your new-found glow and if you are not ready to reveal the news of pregnancy yet, you could simply attribute it to good health or find any other viable reason to give.
Is This Quickening?
A lot of women experience early quickening by Week 16 and if you are one of them, you might as well feel the flutters this week! As exciting as it may sound, don’t be disappointed if you don’t feel anything because if this is your first baby, you might have to wait till Week 20 to feel the movement. What you felt after the satisfying lunch at work, could be more than just gas bubbles because quickening often feels like popping of popcorn, funny flutters or the feeling of wind trapped in your tummy. When your baby gets stronger, he or she will ensure that the movements are more pronounced and you feel sharp jabs and kicks at the most unexpected moments.
Do You Want To Know Your Child’s Gender?
Not that it makes a difference to you, but knowing your child’s gender could be fun. There is a saying doing the rounds that if the fetal heart rate is more 140 beats per minute, you could be having a girl. It is obviously nothing more than an old wife’s tale and there is no evidence to back it up. There are a number of ways in which people try to predict the gender of the baby and family members look forward to playing all sorts of games to keep the excitement alive.
The Scientific Ways
In the medical world, a non-invasive prenatal testing as early as 9 weeks can help determine the gender of your baby. This test is generally suggested if the maternal age is high enough to enhance the risk of Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Since this is non-invasive, it does not carry any risk for you or your baby. This could be quite expensive but worth the money invested since it allows you to come to terms with what the pregnancy has to offer.
Other invasive diagnostic tests include Chorionic Villus Sampling2 and Amniocentesis3 offer a more detailed analysis of the baby’s genetic structure and rule out chromosomal abnormalities. These are also recommended for women whose age could be a factor. However, you should know beforehand that these tests could elevate your risk of a miscarriage to an extent. If you are simply curious to know your baby’s gender then this is probably not what you should aim for. These tests are recommended under special conditions only and are almost always accurate.
If you are looking at a normal way of finding out your baby’s gender, then it is best to wait till 18 weeks when an anomaly scan to check for baby’s vital parts could tell you the sex of the baby. However, ultrasounds are not always 100% accurate in detecting the gender of the baby. You will be asked if you are interested to know your baby’s gender and if the technician gets a good look in between the baby’s legs, he will be able to convey it accurately. Since we are talking about humans here, there is a slight possibility that the finding may not be accurate.
The Fun Ways
While the old wife’s tales could be annoying for some, they could also be a lot of fun for family get-togethers to predict the gender of your baby. If you are not the one who would want to get tested for it, you could try having fun with these predictions. However, these are not evidence-led and may or may not be accurate. Listed below are some of the predictions that you could try with your loved ones:
The Position In Which You Are Carrying
If you are carrying low, in your hips, they say that you might be having a girl and if you are carrying higher in your belly, there are chances that you are having a boy.
How Does Your Linea Nigra Run Down?
It is said that if your linea nigra4 reaches till your belly button, you are having a girl but if it goes past the button and touches your ribs, you could be having a boy.
Chinese Birth Calendar Method
A lot of people use the Chinese birth calendar method to predict the baby’s gender by calculating the month in which your baby was conceived.
How Hungry You Are
It has been seen that if you are hungry every often, your appetite could suggest a boy. On the other hand, people also believe in the statement that if you have been puking a lot through your first trimester, you could be having a boy.
These predictions are all too confusing and most of them are not backed by enough evidence. However, they could add an element of fun to your precious memories. These could also help you to think up a few baby names and colors that you want to add to your nursery. Whatever predictions you try to think of, there is no doubt that the moment your eyes fall on that tiny bundle of joy, you are bound to feel overwhelmed.
Is Your Weight Gain On The Right Track?
Doctors recommend a weight gain of 12-14 pounds in the second trimester for women who are at a normal weight to begin with. If you were underweight, you might need to add a little more to that range. Simultaneously, if you were overweight, you might need to keep your weight gain under control.
How will you ensure that you are on the right track as far as your weight gain is concerned?
The second trimester will need you to add around 340 calories a day. This figure depends on your diet and lifestyle as well. What can you do to ensure that you are not gaining too much weight?
If you feel that your weight gain has been on the rise, you could try going on a nutrient dense diet instead of opting for a low-calorie diet that might not be safe during pregnancy. Listed below are a few tips to slow down your weight gain safely:
- Never ever skip breakfast. A hearty breakfast can not only keep you feeling fuller for longer but also help keep your blood sugar levels stable and thus prevent mood swings. A nutritious breakfast that strikes the right balance of protein, complex carbs, fiber and healthy fats can do wonders to your system.
- It is highly recommended that you eat green leafy veggies, lean meat and all kinds of whole food. Always try and avoid processed or packaged food that have loads of preservatives and are nutritionally poor.
- Sugar-laden desserts are best avoided because they add unwanted calories and also cause a major sugar slump after a while, worsening your mood swings and making you feel hungrier.
- Healthy snacks like cucumber and carrot sticks, fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts can be healthier options if you are looking at a gradual weight gain. Peanut and almond butters can be made at home and are full of nutrients.
- Instead of ice creams, you could try having frozen yogurt that will be as delicious sans the calories.
- Avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages that are filled with empty calories and other toxic preservatives.