Posted November 26, 2012 in 9 - 16 Weeks

16th Week of Pregnancy

16 week pregnancy
16 week pregnancy

The musculo-skeletal system of your baby is well-developed by the end of this week and if your healthcare provider is examining your baby via ultrasound, you can see how easily your baby is moving all her limbs. It is a once in a lifetime experience and it is great if you can experience it with your partner. This makes it so real for your partner who does not feel directly the symptoms of the advancing pregnancy.

What happens inside the maternal body in the 16thweek of pregnancy?

The maternal body tends to gain a lot of weight after the 15th week of pregnancy and mothers who show slackness in maintaining a normal diet or optimal levels of physical activity, tend to gain a lot of weight that may interfere with their  health and increase the risk of complications after childbirth (or during labor). Mothers should gain up to 500 grams or 1 pound of weight per week after the 16th week of pregnancy.  If a sudden or excessive weight gain should happen this would be a reason to contact your care provider.

The uterus is now about 3 inches below your belly button.  The maternal organs are pushed upward each week with uterine growth, often this causes a slight shortness of breath if not sitting straight. It is recommended to sit with good posture to prevent this and recurring back pain.

What changes are occurring inside your developing baby?

With every passing day, your baby develops to look more like her mature form. This week marks for:

  • Lengthening of fetal legs so that her lower limbs are longer than her upper limbs.
  • Your baby will attain the ability to bend her knees or elbow.
  • By the end of this week, all facial features and structures get their final shape and position.
  • Your baby will attain the ability to use her facial muscles to show different expressions like squinting and grimacing.
  • The fetal umbilical cord is now the source of nutrition and communication with maternal body and stay connected until delivery.

What are the signs and symptoms of the 16thweek of pregnancy?

As the pregnancy advances, you may experience more troubling constipation. Most healthcare providers are very firm and vigilant in preventing constipation throughout the pregnancy for a number of reasons. With constipation:

  • You will have low appetite and it will directly affect your dietary nutritional intake, which in turn affects pregnancy.
  • You will have a continuous dull aching pain in lower abdomen.
  • Mothers who tend to strain too much when passing stool increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
  • Mothers who tend to strain too much during pregnancy develop potential muscle weakness that may lead to hernia formation after (or sometimes during) pregnancy.

What cautions you must take?

If you experience troubling constipation, seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding any therapy or medications. Meanwhile you can also try these tips that may help to prevent the progression of symptoms to a dangerous level.

  • Consume a diet that is rich in fiber and nutrients. This excludes all the processed and packaged food that is dehydrated and refined. The risk of constipation increases 10- fold with processed foods.
  • Maintain your hydration status by consuming raw fruits and vegetables that are rich in fluid content and are also able to digest/ assimilate quickly.
  • Drink more water.
  • Maintain regular physical activity

Tests performed during this week:

This week is the most important week of your pregnancy especially if you are above 35 years of age and if you have abnormal MS-AFP levels in your maternal blood serum. This test is normally conducted in the first few weeks of second trimester of pregnancy. If MS-AFP levels are higher than recommended in the maternal serum, your healthcare provider may carry out another test to confirm the findings of MS-AFP levels. This test is amniocentesis and because it is associated with a mild risk of miscarriage, it is generally not recommended in every mother. Amniocentesis enables doctors to analyze the genetic combination of baby with the help of fetal cells that are shed in amniotic fluid.

If this test is also abnormal, your doctor may provide you genetic counseling and other services to prevent complications after delivery.

Points to ponder:

This is the time when most mothers can actually feel the presence of the baby in their womb. Your baby will move in your womb and you will be able to feel movements that give you a feeling of joy and satisfaction. Most mothers first feel a flutter like feeling that then turns to more like a thump. Since your baby has well-developed reflexes and all organ systems, you can communicate with your baby. Experts suggest that mid of second trimester is the most appropriate time to maintain a rapport with your baby. It is therefore recommended to talk to your baby and develop a healthy mommy-baby bond. Some mothers also maintain diaries and photo-albums to form memories for little-one.