At 16 weeks your growing baby is now the size of an avocado! Baby weighs 3 ½ ounces and measures around 4 ½ inches from crown to rump. Muscles continue to develop and your little one is capable of making a few expressions and squints (even though those eyes are still shut). Safely sealed inside the eyelids, their eyes are able to perceive light and move side-to-side. Baby’s facial muscles aren’t the only ones getting a workout. Muscles in the neck and back are flexed, allowing your growing baby to stretch and straighten.
Your baby now has the features you’d expect right where they belong but if you were to see baby now, their skin would be translucent! You’d be able to see every little vein as they pump an incredible 25 quarts of blood each day. This amount will only continue to grow every day.
Your baby’s tiny ears are taking shape and the middle ear is forming, allowing them to hear your words. Some couples find comfort in talking to the baby so that they recognize voices. Studies have even shown that after birth, your baby will recognize music that was played while in the womb, so choose your music mindfully. Your baby loves to hear you sing too, no matter how bad you may think it is, so don’t shy away from belting out your tunes in the shower.
While the idea of putting on extra pounds is far from favorable in most women’s eyes, that weight you’re gaining each week is good news. It means baby is growing and healthy! Each woman grows differently and it even varies per pregnancy so if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor. Remember to keep eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are good for you and baby.
The extra weight gain is good for baby but your body may show signs of stress since it’s not used to the extra pounds. You may notice varicose veins and stretchmarks forming as your body adjusts to its new size. Moisturize throughout the day and stay off your feet when possible to minimize stress. Pregnancy is a beautiful rite of passage but if you’re feeling down about your looks, this might be the perfect excuse to get that scarf you’ve been eyeing. The little things might do the trick for a little pick-me-up!
You’re likely still experiencing pregnancy congestion as hormones continue to increase blood flow to mucus membranes. You’ll want to stay away from antihistamines because they’re not safe for baby but there are some other solutions you can try. Saline sprays and nose strips can help improve your ability to breath. Netipots are especially handy around this time. You can also try placing a dab of petroleum jelly under your nose before bed and sleeping with a humidifier to relief overnight pressure and encourage a good night of sleep.
You may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge (more mucus membranes) but don’t worry because it’s a good thing. The additional fluid flow is keeping your birth canal infection-free so baby stays safe. It may not be comfortable but avoid using douches or feminine wipes that can alter the body’s pH levels and lead to infection.
This week you might have a maternity serum screening. This test is used to assess the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, Edward syndrome, or neural tube defects such as spinal bifida. The testing is available to all women but it’s up to you whether you are interested in testing or not.
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