Your baby is getting heavier now and may begin to pull on or push up against your uterus. This can cause cramps or aches in your lower belly. Cramps happen because as your uterus expands during pregnancy, it puts pressure on nearby muscles and ligaments. During your second trimester, your round ligament muscle often cramps as it stretches. Remember, cramping and pain are normal for some pregnant women. You may want to try walking around or gently moving your legs to see if that helps ease the cramping.”
Cramping in your lower belly is common during pregnancy. During the second trimester, your round ligament muscle often cramps as it stretches to support your growing uterus. And cramping may mean you’re dealing with other pregnancy discomforts like heartburn, constipation, swelling, leg cramps and of course, those bleeding nipples.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, a woman will often experience her first round of pregnancy-related aches and pregnancy-related cramps. In fact, many women see their doctor for low back or pelvic pain during week 16 of pregnancy. The cramping can happen in the buttocks, thighs, or glutes. It may be a mild “muscle pain”, or it can feel more like menstrual cramps. This is due to your uterus growing at a rapid rate, putting pressure on nearby muscles and ligaments.
You might feel a dull ache in your lower abdomen for the first few weeks of your second trimester – that’s normal. As your uterus expands, it can put pressure on nearby ligaments. You’re also more likely to be out of breath and have aches in your lower back and legs during this time as they prepare to support the extra weight of your growing uterus. You’ll feel better once you get used to it!
As your uterus grows in size, you may feel some general discomfort in your lower belly. The cramps are caused by the response of your uterus to the hormonal changes that are occurring during the second trimester of pregnancy. This discomfort is most common in early to mid-pregnancy
The extra weight and pressure that your growing baby puts on your lower belly can cause aches, cramps, and tenderness in the second trimester.
When you’re pregnant, you have lots of questions. Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is packed with lots of useful information. From what’s happening inside your body, to how your baby is developing, and tips and advice on having a healthy pregnancy – this is your one-stop pregnancy guide!
What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 16 weeks
At 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a doughnut. She is just over 11 centimetres (4.5 inches) long and weighs about 3.5 ounces (100 grams). She is moving around and making her first voluntary movements—she might even be sucking her thumb in there. Remarkably, if you’re having a girl, her teeny tiny ovaries are starting to develop hundreds of thousands of her own eggs now.
The umbilical cord and placenta have also matured and are working hard to deliver the blood and nutrients that your growing baby needs and to filter out waste. In fact, your placenta is now almost as big as your baby!
16 weeks pregnant symptoms
You might look really pregnant by 16 weeks! Your belly will “pop” sometime in the second trimester. This is when you will start to look decidedly pregnant (so prepare some go-to comeback lines for random belly size comments from strangers now). Even though your baby has been moving around for a while, she is now big enough that you might feel her kick this week! This happens earlier for women with slighter builds and moms in their second pregnancy, partially because you might mistake the feeling of baby’s first flutters for gas or stomach rumbles from hunger if you’re a first-time mom. Your baby sleeps almost all the time (by the end of the pregnancy, she’ll be awake up to 95 percent of the day), so she won’t move all the time and it’s OK if you don’t feel her for a while. The location of the placenta can also insulate her kicks and movements. Your doctor or midwife won’t prompt you to officially start counting kicks until you’re about 28 weeks along.
Battling lower back pain
Back pain is incredibly common at all stages of life and even more so during pregnancy. Your ligaments are relaxing, and you have extra weight on your belly and breasts. Meanwhile, the muscles in your abdomen are separating to accommodate your growing uterus, which means that they’re no longer knitting together strongly to lengthen the lower back. This lower back compression translates to soreness and pain. To counter this, focus on having good posture, wearing low-heeled shoes, sleeping on your side and staying active. If the pain persists, acupuncture and prenatal massage can offer relief.
What’s on your mind this week?
Feel like a klutz lately? It’s not in your head; your growing belly is shifting your centre of gravity, making you more apt to lose your footing. You’re also tired from all those nighttime wakeup calls, and not being able to see your feet doesn’t help either. Research has found that pregnant women are as likely to take a tumble as 70-year-olds, so now’s the time to act like one: Wear flat shoes with good grips, use the handrail when going down stairs, and tread carefully.
Just for kicks
Do you have a strong-willed Taurus on the way? Or a playful and adventurous Sagittarius? If you check your horoscope on the daily (or even if you think astrology is ridiculous), you can use your baby’s due date to start speculating about what the zodiac has to say about his future personality.
Photo GalleryBaby horroscopes
1/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Born between December 22 and January 19, Capricorns are “doers”—they like to keep busy and accomplish goals. Read the full horoscope here
2/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Aquarius, born between January 20 and February 18, love being around people and will have lots of friends. They also are quite intelligent and tend to think outside the box. Read the full horoscope here
3/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Born between February 19 and March 20, Pisces are sensitive and loving with a rich imagination. Read the full horoscope here
4/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Born between March 20 and April 19, Aries have a “just do it” attitude and work quickly, as they like to be the first to do things. Read the full horoscope here
5/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Those April 20 to May 20 babies are loving, affectionate and strong-minded. Read the full horoscope here
6/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Geminis, known as the twins, are born between May 21 and June 21, and tend to be early readers and like to work with their hands. Read the full horoscope here
7/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Cancers are strong and take-charge. Born between June 22 and July 22, these kids are empathetic and react strongly to other people’s emotions. Read the full horoscope here
8/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Leo babies, born between July 23 and August 22, are determined and expressive. Read the full horoscope here
9/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Born between August 23 and September 22, Virgos are perfectionists and love predictability. Read the full horoscope here
10/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Libras, born between September 23 and October 22, embody grace and harmony and love all things musical. Read the full horoscope here
11/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Scorpios, with birth dates ranging from October 23 to November 21, have highly developed sense and will amaze you with how much they understand about the world. Read the full horoscope here
12/ 12 Illustration: Tracy Walker
Adventurous, enthusiastic and playful, Sagittarius kids are born between November 22 and December 21. Read the full horoscope here
Boy or girl? Do you have lists for either gender ready to go? We’ve got the top 25 girls’ names here and the most popular boy names here. Or you can always narrow down your options by choosing a decidedly unisex baby name.
Pregnancy to-do list: Week 16
Embrace stretchy pants
If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to move from leaving the top button of your jeans undone to buying proper maternity clothes. (Trust us: Stretch-top jeans are the secret to happiness.) Add maternity leggings, longer tops and stretchy dresses and you’re good to go. If this feels like too much of an expense, cut down on costs by borrowing from friends and family or buying used maternity clothes through consignment stores and Facebook buy-and-sell groups.
Read up on life with baby
It’s easy to be focused on pregnancy and delivery—after all, they’re big events! But many moms say that they wish they’d learned a bit more about what was going to happen after they had the baby. Brush up on your baby knowledge by adding a few books that cover baby care to the pile on your bedside table this week. What to Expect: The First Year, The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding are bestsellers that will help you navigate the newborn phase. You can also check out our baby care videos here.
Research your maternity-leave benefits
While we’re on the topic of thinking about life with baby, now might be a good time to look into your maternity-leave benefits. If you’ve chosen a 12-month mat leave and worked enough hours to qualify for government employment insurance, you’ll qualify to receive up to 55 percent of your average earnings, up to $51,300 for the year. That works out to about $543 a week for a year in payments every two weeks. And you might also qualify for the Employment Insurance Family Supplement or Canada Child Benefit. Many workplaces also offer a “top-up” for the first few months—your human resources department can walk you through the details. Look into exactly what you and your partner qualify for and, if you’re feeling ambitious, make a budget for that first year, too.
Your baby’s fingernails are well developed now and she’s able to move her arms and legs. In fact, you may be able to feel her move in the next few weeks.
Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From staying fit in pregnancy to advice on your maternity rights, you’ll find it all here.
- Week 13
- Week 14
- Week 15
- Week 16
- Week 17
- Week 18
- Week 19
- Week 20
- Week 21
- Week 22
- Week 23
- Week 24
- Week 25
- Week 26
- Week 27
Week 16 – your second trimester
Your baby is growing quickly and about to have another growth spurt. You will probably have put on some weight over the past few weeks too.
What’s happening in my body?
You may see a midwife around now, who will weigh you and discuss how you’re getting on. You might get to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. You will also get the results of any blood tests that you had during your booking appointment.
You will probably have been offered a test for 3 infectious diseases: HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis. If an infection has been picked up, then your midwife or doctor will talk to you about the best ways to protect your health and reduce the risk of passing on the infection to your baby.
Your blood pressure will be checked and you will need to provide a urine sample. This will be checked for signs of protein that could show if you’re at risk of developing a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia.
Constipation is common in early pregnancy. It’s when you find it really hard to poo, it can make you feel bloated, sick and give you tummy ache.
- eat foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal bread, fruit and veg, beans and lentils
- exercise regularly
- drink lots of water
- avoid iron supplements (but talk to your doctor or midwife before ditching any medication)
Carbon monoxide alert
You can not see, smell or taste it – but carbon monoxide gas is a killer. You can come into contact with it through faulty or poorly ventilated cooking or heating appliances. If you’ve already got a carbon monoxide detector, then check that it’s working. There’s usually a test button – if it does not beep, the battery may need replacing or you need a new detector. You can pick one up at most supermarkets. You can also become exposed to this harmful gas through breathing in cigarette smoke.
Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 16 weeks)
Everyone’s pregnancy is different but if you feel unwell and it’s getting you down, speak to your doctor or midwife.
Your pregnancy symptoms may include:
- swollen and bleeding gums (week 13’s page has ways to cope with swollen and bleeding gums)
- pains on the side of your belly, caused by your expanding womb (known as ’round ligament pains’)
- feeling bloated (read how to cope with bloating on week 10’s page and constipation)
- indigestion and heartburn (read about dealing with indigestion and heartburn on week 25’s page)
- sore breasts
- leg cramps
- feeling hot
- swollen hands and feet
- urine infections
- vaginal infections (week 15’s page explains about how to treat vaginal infections)
- darkened skin on your face or brown patches – this is known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy”
- greasier, spotty skin
- thicker and shinier hair
You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:
- morning sickness (read about dealing with morning sickness on week 6’s page)
- weird pregnancy cravings (read about pregnancy cravings on week 5’s page)
- a heightened sense of smell
- mood swings (week 8’s page has information on mood swings)
- a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)
Tommy’s, the baby charity, has a further list of common symptoms.
What does my baby look like?
Your baby, or foetus, is around 11.6cm long from head to bottom, which is the size of an avocado. The weight is around 100g, which is the same as a medium bag of salad.
Your baby is starting to pull faces now, but any smiling or frowning will be completely random, as there’s no muscle control yet. The nervous system continues to develop, and this enables your baby to start moving their arms and legs. Your baby’s hands can form fists and they may start punching around inside you too. You might be able to feel your baby kicking from week 17 onwards.