16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Baby Development and Precaution!

By week 16 of your pregnancy, the baby must have grown considerably. It responds to brain reflexes and moves its arms and legs. In an ultrasound, you’ll get to hear your baby’s heartbeat. Also, the facial expressions of the baby can be seen. These are very beautiful memories you like to capture in your memory. So, read further the 16 weeks pregnant guide to have healthy pregnancy hereafter.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Symptoms 

The pregnancy symptoms are as follows –

  • Enlarged breasts – Your breasts will continue to grow. By now their size may have gone up by many cup sizes. They will be completely ready for breastfeeding by end of the second trimester.
  • Backaches – One may experience backaches which is another side effect of pregnancy. To get relief from backaches, you should regularly exercise.
  • Constipation – Constipation symptoms can occur as the uterus starts increasing. This puts pressure on the intestines. You should eat plenty of fibrous foods. Also, drink a lot of water that will give you relief from constipation.
  • Eye Irritation – Your eyes may become itchy, sensitive and dry. This is happening due to hormones. You can ask your doctor to recommend you suitable eye drops.
  • Forgetfulness – Many women feel forgetful during pregnancy.
  • Baby Movements – Expecting mom can experience the baby kicking and moving during this week.
  • Glowing Skin – Your face will start to glow. Due to the increased blood flow, your skin looks bright and shining.
  • Vaginal Discharge – There may be an increased discharge from the vagina. It is good as it protects your vagina from any kind of infections and irritations. The discharge has to be clean and smell free. If you notice coloured discharge like yellow, pink, brown, etc and it has foul order then it can indicate some infection. You must contact your doctor.
  • Bleeding Gums – You may experience bleeding gums, irritation in gums and bacterial infection. This is happening due to pregnancy hormones. You must visit the dentist in such cases and let them know about your pregnancy. Also maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Leg Cramps – Pregnant ladies can suffer from pain and leg cramps. Take walks throughout the day and keep moving to ease the pain.
  • Heartburn – It is experienced by many women during the second trimester of pregnancy. As the body is expanding, the progesterone hormone slows the food movement along the digestive tract for the foetus to absorb the nutrients. This causes heartburn. You must take small meals throughout the day and avoid eating fatty and spicy foods.

Common problems During 16 Weeks Pregnancy

During the 16th week of pregnancy, you will notice an increased level of estrogen and progesterone which makes the vagina and breasts extra sensitive. The belly size is growing and you may feel conscious about your external appearance.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Precautions

Following are the precautions – 

  • Intimate Hygiene – This is the time when you will have a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections. To avoid these never wait to urinate or delay passing urine.
  • Minimal Tea/Coffee Intake – Do not drink coffee or at least minimize the intake. Caffeine intake has to be minimised to 200 mg per day which comes to up to 2 cups a day.  It can cause many birth defects or premature birth. Remember that caffeine may be also present in certain other food items like chocolates so read the labels before you consume.
  • No Alcohol Consumption – It is not recommended to drink alcohol as it is very injurious to health during pregnancy. It can hamper the foetus growth or cause birth defects like foetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Stop smoking –  It can be even life-threatening for the foetus. It can decrease the birth weight, because many health risks, cause developmental problems or infections in the foetus, decrease the immunity etc. It can also cause sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Avoid X-Rays – Try to not take treatments which include exposure to radiations or X-ray etc. It can affect the growth and development of your baby.
  • No Saunas/ Hot Tubs – You must avoid going to saunas or hot tubs since the environment temperature is higher than the normal temperature of the body.
  • Pre-Existing Medications – If you are taking certain medicines for the pre-existing diseases than you must show it to your doctor. He will suggest you if it is ok to safely consume them during pregnancy or change it.

Start doing exercise regularly. You can do brisk walks, jogging, swimming or yoga. Start with pelvic muscle exercises now which will help you in less stress-free normal delivery. Check with your doctor about the recommended exercises for you.

Dietary Dos

You have a baby growing inside you. So, you need extra nutrients and calories. For healthy pregnancy include the following food items in your diet chart.

  1. Calcium – The doctor will prescribe a calcium pill and vitamin D to you. Your body and the baby would need a high amount of calcium. This will be required for healthy bone development in babies. If you do not provide enough calcium to the growing foetus than the body starts to use calcium reserves from the mother’s body. This can be the reason for problems like osteoporosis in future. So ensure to have 2 glasses of milk or around 500 gm of curd. These will act as a good supplementation to your calcium tablets.
  2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – This is required for the development of brain, nerves and eyes. Your body and the baby will need essential fatty acids to reduce the possibility of premature labour, low birth weight, mental retardation etc. Make sure that your diet will have sufficient amount of essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids which is present in freshwater fish such as light tuna, olive oil and nuts
  3. Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – Fresh fruits and vegetables have loads of mineral and vitamin content. You should consume plenty of fibrous foods which will give you relief from constipation like symptoms. Eat high fibre foods such as spinach, oats, whole grains etc. Also drink a lot of water because fibrous foods absorb moisture from the body during digestion.
  4. Iron and Folic Acid – Take folic acid and iron supplements as recommended by your doctor. You can also include natural sources of folic acid in diet e.g. Beetroot, broccoli etc.  So, include foods rich in iron and folic acid. Your body needs to produce 3-6 extra litres of blood during pregnancy. A diet rich in iron helps in making extra blood and folic acid saves the baby from birth defects, neural tube defects etc.
  5. Vitamin D – Get your daily intake of Vitamin D from foods such as salmon, light tuna, egg yolk, fortified milk, fish liver oil, etc. You can also expose to sunlight to fulfil the requirement of vitamin D.

Dietary Dont’s 

It is also important to avoid few foods during pregnancy which are –

  1. Undercooked or Raw Meat/ Seafood/Eggs – Include meat and meat products in your diet. Keep in mind that it has to be cooked thoroughly. Raw and undercooked meat can carry pathogenic microorganisms which can cause food intoxication. If you are tempted to eat in restaurants, choose to go in your regular, tried and tested ones and do not experiment.
  2. Seafood – Don’t eat seafood with toxic compounds like mercury which can be very dangerous for the growth of the baby. Make sure that the fish you choose to consume must be low in mercury. It is a compound that can cause mental retardation in your baby. Ex. Swordfish, shark, tilapia fish etc.
  3. Refined flour or Maida – It is difficult to digest and can cause constipation and haemorrhoids. So avoid maida products like noodles, pizza, samosas, momos etc. Instead opt for whole grain or multigrain flours.
  4. Unpasteurised Milk Products – Do not eat unpasteurised milk products which may harbour harmful pathogens. So avoid soft cheese like Brie, Camembert etc, or unpasteurised milk.
  5. Dry Fruits Avoid eating too much of dry fruits as they are very rich and warm by nature. It can induce contractions.
  6. Fast food/Street foodsThese food look tempting but you cannot guarantee the hygiene of the kitchen, containers and foodstuff. It can cause water-borne infections like typhoid or cause food poisoning. Opt for homemade chaats, pizza, burger etc.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Baby Growth and Development

In this week the following changes will start to occur –

  • Baby’s eye starts to get more sensitive to light.
  • A vertical groove called medial cleft starts to appear in the middle of the upper lip. This gives it a distinct shape of a cupid bow.
  • Baby’s skin is pink and transparent. It shows the blood vessels which are beneath.
  • Baby can suck the thumb now. Its tiny feet are able to kick and hand does a grasping movement by now. Also, the baby’s toenails start to grow.
  • Baby’s bones are getting organized whereas the facial muscles are improving thereby making facial expressions.
  • As the backbone strengthens, baby’s head and neck gets erect.

Baby Size

In 16th week of pregnancy, your baby is approximately 11.6 cm long and is the size of an avocado.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Parental care

What parental care is needed during the 16th week of pregnancy?

You may have a scheduled prenatal doctor’s appointment this week. During this visit, the doctor will measure the growth of your baby and use a device to check the heartbeat of the foetus. The doctor may need to measure the protein and sugar levels with urine tests as well. Some screening tests for genetic abnormalities may also be performed. If you have any questions or doubts about the prenatal care at this stage then you must talk to the doctor.

Changes in 16th Week of Pregnancy

Changes in Feelings

  • By now women start to enjoy and get excited about the pregnancy. Since most of the early pregnancy symptoms have vanished now.
  • The uterus and placenta will continue to grow. A large amount of amniotic fluid will be also produced which protects the foetus. The baby bump is very evident now and very soon you feel anticipated to notice the baby move.
  • The pregnant mothers feel settled by now with her changing and growing body.
  • Many women experience an increase in their sex drive due to the progesterone and estrogen hormones.
  • Very soon you will be experiencing another important moment of your pregnancy i.e. feeling when the baby moves. In the beginning it will feel like gas bubbles, popcorn popping or little flutters in the tummy. Slowly, their intensity will increase.

Change in looks

After 15 weeks of pregnancy, the breast is fuller and belly size increases. It gets so noticeable that you will start getting questions asking if you are pregnant. Your skin may start glowing. This happens because of the hormones which secret oil making the face look oilier and shiny.

16 Weeks Pregnancy Guide – Sex

Is it safe to have sex during the 16th week of pregnancy?

Doctors will ask some parents-to-be to not have sex during pregnancy in some cases. This can be due to some complications, risk of preterm labour, miscarriage history etc. For others, having sex during the 16th week of pregnancy is completely safe. Ensure that you and your partner are safe from any kind of sexually transmitted diseases.

Doctor Consultation in Week 16 of Pregnancy

In this week of pregnancy you can visit your doctor for the scheduled prenatal appointment. The doctor will talk to you about your health and the baby’s growth.  He may also suggest routine screening tests for genetic abnormalities like spina bifida or Down syndrome. The doctor may also discuss with you about the weight gain, exercise, diet etc. If you have any further queries and doubts you can always ask the doctor.

Test/ Procedure in 16th Week of Pregnancy

What are the tests or procedures you should have in 16th week of pregnancy?

  1. You may be suggested for screening the foetus for genetic abnormalities by using an alpha-fetoprotein test. It is a test which measures the level of your body’s alpha-fetoprotein level. The alpha-fetoprotein is produced by the foetus and if the levels of it are high or too low then it indicates that the baby may have certain defects. These tests are not 100% accurate since a lot of factors like age, weight, history, diabetes, race can affect the results of this test.
  2. Other tests which detect genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome are multiple marker screening or Amniocentesis.
  3. Some physical examination tests such as height, weight, blood pressure etc. Your breasts, lungs, heart, thyroid, vagina, uterus, cervix, ovaries will also go under physical examination tests.
  4. This is the time when your gynaecologist may check for signs of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or urinary tract infections through a urine test.
  5. The gynaecologist will also use a handheld device called a Doppler to let you and your partner hear the heartbeat of the baby for the first time.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Supplements

Do you need to take supplements during 16th week of pregnancy?

You will continue to take your folic acid supplements during this week. You need to continue this throughout your pregnancy. It helps to protect the child from birth defects, neural tube defects such as spina bifida etc.

You will be also asked to take vitamin D and calcium supplements. However, it is very important to also include foods in your diet which are rich and natural sources of calcium, vitamin D and folate.

16 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Important Points to Know

What is important to know during the 16th week of pregnancy?

In 16th week of pregnancy baby’s facial features and muscles will be developing. You can see the baby-making different facial expressions in ultrasound and also hear its heartbeat.  The breasts and belly will be growing. Gaining weight is completely normal but it is important that you eat well and also exercise regularly. Your libido will be changing now and the vagina and breasts of women will be very sensitive.

If you have any questions talk to your doctor without any hesitation.

Preparation Guidelines for Baby

How should you start preparing for baby’s birth?

  • Start healthy food intake, and so, the baby will automatically get proper nourishment. Take the supplements, exercise regularly and drink enough water.
  • Avoid any activities that can cause urinary tract infections since you will be very susceptible to it. Talk to your doctor for any kind of delivery options.
  • This is the time when you can start to talk with your baby. It helps to develop the mother-baby bonding. You can read out loud, share your stories and activities of the day. Talking to babies during pregnancy helps them a lot in developing language skills.

Hope you might have got all the details on 16 weeks pregnancy guide. Remember what you eat will affect your baby’s growth and development. So stay healthy and keep your baby healthy!

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