Week by Week

What pregnant women need to know in week 16 of pregnancy?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

msBahasa Malaysia

Baby Development

How my baby growing?

You are now entering the 16th week of your pregnancy. Your growing fetus is about the size of an avocado, weighing about 100 grams and is about 12 centimeters long from head to toe.

The backbone and tiny muscles in your baby’s back are getting stronger, making it easier for your baby to hold his head straight. The muscles in your baby’s face are also gaining strength. This means your baby can make more facial expressions such as squinting, frowning and smiling. Your baby can now hold his head straight and express emotion with series of expressions, such as squinting and frowning.

If you were able to look through your uterus, you will see that your baby’s skin is translucent. You will be able to see tiny blood vessels under the thin layer of skin. Your baby have not gained any body fat. He is too busy developing other important organs.

You may also be happy to know that your baby’s ears are fully developed. This means your baby is able to hear your voice when you speak. This is a great way for you to bond with your baby. You can sing songs or even talk to your baby. He may not understand what you are saying but will be soothed by the sound of your voice.

Body & Life Changes

How is my body changing?

During this week, you may feel some movement in your stomach. New mothers may mistaken this for indigestion or gas but it is actually your baby kicking. These movements will become more distinct and noticeable as your pregnancy progresses.

Your baby bump is getting bigger! It may be frustrating to not be able to fit your regular clothes. But you should think of it as an excuse to go shopping. You don’t necessarily need to buy maternity clothes. You can find clothes that are loose fitting. For example you can buy long dresses that have a one size fit all. These dresses will be very useful after you give birth too. Make sure to find clothes that are comfortable and do not irritate the skin. Embrace your new shape. You can worry about losing the weight after birth.

What should I be concerned about?

Sometimes you may feel a little breathless. Don’t worry! Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, is a very common symptom that many pregnant women experience. It most often occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy. The cause of shortness of breath is your pregnancy hormones. These hormones stimulate your brain to allow you to breathe in more oxygen for your growing baby. These hormones widen the capillaries in your respiratory tract and relaxes the muscles in your lungs, which make you feel like you are breathing in more air. Another reason for shortness of breath is your growing baby may be pressing on your diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest and the abdomen. During the later part of your pregnancy, your baby will be bigger in size, making it hard for you to breathe.

Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

You may notice that you are eating more sweets and worry that your urine tests detected more sugars than normal. You should tell your doctor about your concern. Also let your doctor know if you have family history of diabetes. If you don’t have any risk factors of having gestational diabetes, you should not worry too much.

Your body is making sure your baby gets enough fuel supply by making sure there adequate amouts of sugars in your blood. There is a hormone called insulin that regulates the amount of sugars in your blood and makes sure there is enough for your own body cells to use. During pregnancy, there are anti-insulin hormones that keeps enough sugars in the blood for your baby. Sometimes the amount of sugars will be excreted by your kidneys and detected in your urine. Don’t worry this is just temporary. Your next urine test will probably be normal.

What tests should I know about?

During this month there will just be some routine tests to ensure you are having a healthy pregnancy. This will include the following:

  • Weight;
  • Blood pressure;
  • Urine test (to test sugars and protein);
  • Fetal heartbeat;
  • Size of the uterus (your doctor will feel from the outside);
  • Height of the top of your uterus (fundus);
  • Test for any swelling in the hands, feet or legs;

Discuss with your doctor about any concerns you may have about your medical tests. These tests are to measure the progress of your pregnancy. It is important that you understand them.

Health & Safety

What should I know about being healthy and safe while pregnant?

Here are some concerns you may have about the health and safety of you and your baby:

Swimming

Swimming is a great way to stay active and stretch out your pelvic muscles. It is usually safe unless your doctor have instructed otherwise. If you may want to start slow and gradually increase the intensity to when you are comfortable. Listen to your body and do not over exert yourself. If you regularly swam before, you may notice that you run out breath faster and easier. This is your body telling you to slow down. You should not expect your body to act like how it was before your pregnancy.

Be careful when you swim in public swimming pools. Your immune system is weak and can make you more susceptible to infections. There are many people, including kids, who use the public swimming pools and the pool maintinence may not be regular. It might be best to find a better alternative to prevent getting sick.

Chickenpox

It is also a good idea to stay away from children who have chickenpox, even the parents who have children with chickenpox. Your immune system is not strong enough to fight these germs. Chickepox is caused by a virus that can affect your growing baby by causing birth defects. These birth defects may include microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head) and limb malformations. Be sure to use wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly. You never know how you can get in contact with the chickenpox virus.

Let’s meet in week 17 to see your baby is growing!

Hello Health Group does not offer any advice, diagnosis or medical treatment.

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