16 weeks pregnant: what is happening and what to do

The exciting changes happening with you and your baby

At 16 weeks pregnant your baby is truly beginning to look like a little human, and your body may experience some very noticeable changes to support that growth. It is a special time for a mother and a family, as the reality of the pregnancy and the new addition to the home is seen and felt.

While changes may have been subtle up to now, they won’t be any longer! Let’s take a look at what is going on at the beginning of the second trimester, what you might expect to experience, and what you can do to add a bit of fun and prepare for your little one.

What is happening with your baby:

At 16 weeks pregnant the baby is about the size of an avocado and is starting to develop its body. Here are some exciting changes that are happening to your little one around this time:

  • Your baby’s back muscles are starting to develop, allowing him/her to straighten the back and neck. Because of this, you may begin to feel some movement, but this might not occur for a few more weeks still.
  • Eyelashes and eyebrows: These are protective accessories to accompany the eyes that are beginning to form. The baby will now be able to perceive light.
  • Facial expressions: Along with the development of the facial muscles will come the baby’s ability to use them.
  • Cardiovascular system: The heart has formed and is beginning to pump 25 quarts of blood a day.
  • Skin development: Although a lot is happening, the baby’s skin is still transparent at 16 weeks.
  • Auditory development: Your baby can hear your voice in there!
  • The legs are also developing quickly. Get prepared for a major growth spurt!

What is happening to your body:

This is a pleasurable time of the pregnancy for many women, as the initial shock has often fully settled in and the changes are subtle and noticeable at the same time, allowing you to more fully adjust to being pregnant and prepare for the third trimester. Some things you might expect physically at 16 weeks pregnant include:

  • Baby bump! The baby will be growing rapidly at this stage and if you weren’t showing at 15 weeks pregnant, you will soon. Remember, big or small, all baby bumps are different.
  • Stuffy nose and congestion.
  • Increased libido.
  • Difficulty concentrating or “mommy brain.”
  • Changes to the skin due to hormone increases.
  • Heartburn: if heartburn occurs pay close attention to the foods that trigger it and refrain from eating them for the time being.
  • Weight gain.
  • Because of the increased blood flow, you may experience nose bleeds, especially if you have experienced them before.
  • Hemorrhoids. 
  • Constipation: just make sure to make little tweaks to your diet such as cutting back on some foods (cheese, grains), and increasing others. It may be nice to add in some high fiber foods that you haven’t enjoyed as much in the past. Some yummy high fiber foods include raspberries, avocados, and popcorn.

If your symptoms are troubling make sure to discuss them with your doctor or midwife and with another woman who has gone through a pregnancy. This will help you to normalize what is going on and vent a little with someone who gets it!

16 weeks to-do list:

  • Have fun! Invest in new underwear and maternity clothing.
  • Start getting used to sleeping on your side.
  • Start researching the big purchases such as strollers, cribs, and car seats. There are a LOT of options out there and a LOT to consider that involve both you and your partner. You may be surprised at how long it takes. Plus, it will be more enjoyable to give yourself plenty of time rather than to rush it.

 

It’s time to start preparing! our providers are offering classes on everything from prenatal yoga to childbirth prep and nutrition. Join our network now and get access to the vast network of educational and community support programs for expectant moms and families.

 

For further reading:

Becoming a parent: stories from our providers

Making a postpartum plan

Expert tips: Preparing for your birth