You’re not getting any bigger this week, as your little one is staying cozy inside your uterus. Though most of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing lately won’t change this week, particularly those earlier in pregnancy like fatigue and tender breasts, some things may brighten up. You’ll notice more pregnant-like skin (brighter, oilier), and other changes you may not have paid much attention to have stepped up their game. Some of these include constipation (due to the baby’s increasing size), back pain or hip pain (due to the baby’s weight and Mom’s changing hormone levels).
It’s week 16 of pregnancy. This is the last full week of your second trimester and symptoms should be improving, but there are a lot of things to expect this week. Let’s take a look at what you can expect this week. Pregnant women can experience oilier or shinier skin, brittle nails and hair, dental sensitivity and constipation. Even though it seems like it would get easier to walk as you get bigger, increased weight actually makes walking harder so plan accordingly.
What can you expect while you’re 16 weeks pregnant? With most of your symptoms now an old friend, we take a look at the changes you can expect this week. Taller and bonier than last week, pains in your lower back and pelvic area, are just some of the things to expect. “Mommy brain” will cause forgetfulness as well as lack of inhibition and thoughtfulness.
Common symptoms to expect this week include: Tender breasts Your breasts will be tender and sore, although this may lessen as the pregnancy progresses. While you may be tempted to avoid the discomfort associated with your breasts, experts recommend that you do not go braless as this could cause breast engorgement.While your breasts will not explode due to hormones, your bra may no longer fit as well.
Congrats on being 16 weeks pregnant! This week, there should be no new major or bothersome symptoms. You may feel decreased fetal movement, or what is commonly referred to as “turtle syndrome.” This is a sign that your baby is becoming more active, most likely practicing swimming gestures in fluid. The increased blood flow and hormonal changes cause many skin changes, including shinier and brighter skin. Don’t forget to mark your pregnancy calendar this week!
You’ve made it almost to the one-third point of your pregnancy. Congratulations! Here is a look at what’s going on inside this week:You may feel like you have excess energy, or your fatigue may be worse than it was last week Changing hormones can make you feel hungry more often or less often When you’re hot, you might notice an increase in thirst and swelling in your hands or feet that goes away when you cool offHair on your face, legs and arms will probably be darker than before
You’re four weeks from the halfway point. You’re also about to enter one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy. You should start feeling the baby move any day now.
For many women, it can be difficult to tell at first if the feeling in your belly is the baby moving, gas, or some other sensation. But soon, a pattern develops and you’ll know if that movement is a stirring little baby.
Baby development at 16 weeks
Delicate baby skin
Your baby’s skin is thin and translucent. It will thicken and develop as your pregnancy progresses, but will continue to be almost transparent for quite some time.
On your baby’s scalp, hair follicles are forming a pattern that will remain for life. This patterning sets the stage for how your baby’s hair will grow. New hair follicles don’t form after birth, so babies are born with all the hair follicles they’ll ever have.
Heart at work
Your baby’s heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your little one develops.
Learn more about being 16 weeks pregnant with twins.
Your baby is about the size of an avocado
head to bottomWEIGHT5.15ounces
Pregnancy symptoms during week 16
Round ligament pain
As your amazing uterus grows, the round ligaments that support it are thickening and stretching. Unfortunately, this can lead to a sharp, stabbing pain on one or both sides of your abdomen called round ligament pain. If this happens, try to stop and rest – round ligament pain should ease up quickly. If you still feel cramping after resting, call your doctor or midwife.
Gas and bloating
Your body is producing way more gas than usual thanks to the hormone progesterone, which relaxes muscles throughout your body – including your digestive tract. Those relaxed muscles slow down your digestion, leading to more gas and bloating and uncomfortable sensations in your gut. To get relief from gas, eat smaller, more frequent meals and take your time when eating. Avoid carbonated drinks and the artificial sweetener sorbitol. And get moving – a quick walk can get your digestion moving.
Many women experience back pain during pregnancy. As your uterus expands, it weakens your abdominal muscles and puts extra strain on your lower back. Hormonal changes also loosen your joints and relax the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine, causing unsteadiness and pain. Exercises such as weight training, prenatal yoga, walking, swimming, and pelvic tilts can help strengthen muscles and reduce discomfort. You can also ask your partner or a friend to give you a pregnancy massage for back pain, or book a prenatal massage with a practitioner.
You’ve probably noticed breast changes like sore nipples, breast tenderness, prominent veins, pigment changes, and more pronounced bumps on your areolas. Sometimes pregnant women develop lumps and bumps in their breasts, too. These are usually harmless and could be milk-filled cysts (galactoceles) or benign breast tumors (fibroadenomas). It’s unusual for a woman to develop anything serious (like breast cancer) during pregnancy. But let your provider know about any lumps that are hard or otherwise concerning.
Is “pregnancy brain” real? Researchers aren’t sure, but many moms-to-be report having moments of absentmindedness and trouble focusing. No one knows exactly why this happens, but it seems likely that a combination of stress and anxiety, fatigue, and hormones could lead to forgetfulness during pregnancy. If you’re having trouble keeping track of things in your daily life, try simplifying wherever possible, asking for help, and using your phone’s calendar and other apps to stay organized.
Headaches during pregnancy are common, and can be caused by stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, cutting back on caffeine, hormonal changes, and other regular things. If you have a severe headache in the second or third trimester, however, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. Call your provider if you have a bad headache or a headache for the first time.
Don’t see your symptom?
Wondering about a symptom you have? Find it on our pregnancy symptoms page.
Your body at 16 weeksTap the plus for more details
Pregnancy checklist at 16 weeks pregnant
Investigate second-trimester prenatal tests
New trimester, new prenatal tests. Around 16 to 18 weeks, you may be offered a test for Alpha Fetal Protein (AFP) to help screen for neural tube defects (problems with the brain and spinal cord), such as spina bifida. (This test isn’t as accurate as the anatomy ultrasound, however, which you’ll have in a few weeks). If you screen positive, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for a comprehensive ultrasound. Your provider can also order quad screen if you haven’t had a first trimester screen or NIPT but want screening for Down syndrome.
Avoid unsafe activities
As your belly grows, it’s important to avoid unsafe activities that carry a high risk of falling or that may cause trauma to your abdomen. That means scuba diving, contact sports, snowboarding, downhill skiing, four wheelers, horseback riding, and some amusement park rides are off-limits.
Track your weight gain
Your caregiver will monitor your weight to make sure you’re in a healthy range and gaining at a good pace. You can also use our pregnancy weight gain calculator to stay on track.
Start a baby names list
Here’s a good way to come up with baby names you and your partner can live with: Make a list of ten names you like. Have your partner do the same. Trade lists and take turns crossing off names you don’t love until you (hopefully) have some in common.
Talk to your baby
Though you can’t have a face-to-face chat yet, talking to your baby is a great way to start the bonding process. If having an actual conversation seems too odd, narrate your activities, read out loud, or share your secret wishes for your child. Writing a letter to your baby is also a special way to connect, now and when your child reads the letter someday.
16 weeks pregnant bellies
Your body is working hard – so show it some extra love. Use a maternity support garment if you’re feeling pain in your hips or groin, upgrade your bras and underwear, and get a pregnancy pillow if you’re having trouble getting comfortable in bed. The right pillow can drastically improve your sleep by supporting your back and belly.
Consider investing in some cute flats or other good shoes for pregnancy – but be aware that your feet will swell and even grow later in pregnancy, so you may want to buy a half or whole size bigger than your usual.
Baby kicks coming soon
You’ll probably start feeling your baby move between 16 and 22 weeks, most likely when you’re sitting or lying quietly. Veteran moms usually notice the first subtle flutters, known as “quickening,” earlier than first-time moms.
Glowing skin during pregnancy isn’t a myth – it’s a real thing that happens thanks to fluctuating hormone levels and increased blood flow. You’re most likely to have a pregnancy glow in the second trimester.
Dreaming of a babymoon?
16 weeks is how many months?
You’re in your fourth month!
The second trimester is sometimes called “the honeymoon phase” of pregnancy. You may notice that you’re sleeping more soundly and more peacefully than you were just a few weeks before. You should also start getting used to sleeping on your side.
Your doctor may advise you to stop sleeping on your back at this time. This means using extra pillows to support your body. There are several types of specially designed pregnancy pillows you can buy to help you sleep or just provide a little extra comfort while you rest.
With more sleep comes more energy during the day. Your mood may also brighten, but don’t be surprised if you still experience the occasional mood swing. And you may miss your old clothes as you start wearing more maternity clothes.
Becoming more active is only part of what’s happening with your baby at week 16. The baby’s circulatory and urinary systems are functioning at a more advanced stage.
Your baby’s head also appears more “normal” as the eyes and ears have settled into their permanent position on the head. Your baby’s head is also becoming more erect and not angled forward as it had been for the first few months.
Your baby’s legs are also developing quickly. And if your baby is a girl, thousands of eggs are forming in her ovaries.
Babies at this stage are measured from their heads to their bottoms. This is called the crown-rump length. At 16 weeks, most babies are about 4.5 inches long and weigh about 3.5 ounces. This is about the size of an avocado. And next your baby will begin a major growth spurt.
Do you feel any movement yet? Some women start to feel their babies moving by week 16, but women who are moms for the first time often don’t feel movement until much later.
Fetal movement, also called quickening, is a great sign that your babies are exercising their developing muscles. Over time, these little pokes and jabs will turn into rolls and kicks.
Many women get past the morning sickness phase of their pregnancy around this time. This is also the time when you may become a little forgetful or have trouble concentrating.
While most of your symptoms from past weeks will not be new this week, like tender breasts, here’s a look at the symptoms you can expect to continue this week:
- brighter skin (due to increased blood flow)
- oilier or shinier skin (due to hormones)
- continued weight gain
- possible hemorrhoids
- trouble concentrating
If you find yourself growing frustrated, talk with your doctor, or a friend who may have experienced similar symptoms during her pregnancy.
The increase in blood flow throughout your body may make your face look brighter. And those increasingly active hormones may start making your skin oilier and shinier these days.
It’s sometimes referred to as the “pregnancy glow,” but you may not see these changes in such rosy terms. Try an oil-free cleanser if your face becomes too oily.
If constipation becomes troublesome, be sure to eat high-fiber foods, such as fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, beans, almonds, bran cereals, and other whole grains. Watch out for high-fat, low-fiber foods such as cheese and processed meats, which can worsen constipation.
If heartburn develops, pay close attention to the foods that may be triggers. Fried or spicy foods are often to blame. Remember that foods you once enjoyed without a problem may have to be off-limits during your pregnancy.
If you follow a healthy diet, you should figure on gaining between 12 and 15 pounds this trimester. That estimate may differ if you were overweight or underweight at the start of your pregnancy.
One other change that may occur is the occasional nosebleed or bleeding gums. Nosebleeds are usually harmless, and result when the additional blood flow in your body causes the tiny blood vessels in your nose to rupture.
To stop a nosebleed:
- Sit down, and keep your head higher than your heart.
- Don’t lean your head back as this may cause you to swallow blood.
- Pinch your nose with your thumb and index finger continuously for at least five minutes.
- Apply an ice pack on your nose to help constrict your blood vessels and stop the bleeding quickly.
Before you take any over-the-counter or prescription medications for congestion, digestion troubles, or other health issues, speak with your doctor. They can answer your questions about which medications are safe to use now.
During your next prenatal appointment, remember to tell your doctor about any other symptoms you’re experiencing.
After your morning sickness is gone, it’s a great time to focus on healthy eating and fitness.
If you’re craving sweet foods, reach for fruit or yogurt instead of that candy bar. Try snacking on string cheese if you’re craving salty foods. Your body and your baby will appreciate the protein and calcium.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Swimming and walking are great low-intensity workouts. Just remember to speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.
You may also want to start researching cribs, car seats, strollers, baby monitors, and other high-ticket items for the baby. With so many options, and since many of these items will have an impact on your baby’s safety, you might be surprised by how much time this can take.
If you feel your baby move on a regular basis, but then notice you haven’t felt any movement for at least 12 hours, call your doctor. It may just be that you didn’t notice your baby’s movement, but it’s always better to play it safe.
If you haven’t felt your baby moving by this week, be patient. Many women don’t notice a flutter until 20 weeks or so.
While the risk of miscarriage is much lower in the second trimester than it was in the first, you should never ignore spotting, bleeding, or severe abdominal pain.