The 16th Week of Pregnancy

Feelings on the 16th week of pregnancyWhat is the fetus like at week 16?
SexUltrasound on week 16
What month of pregnancyPossible problems
RecommendationsNutrition

Feelings on the 16th week of pregnancy

This period is truly wonderful for women expecting a child. This is the happy time when the expecting mother’s well-being and mental state improve dramatically, since the early stage of pregnancy is over, as well as hormonal rebuilding of the body, sick conditions and worries associated with it.

The pregnant woman has already moved past morning nausea, major discomfort in the small pelvis, and mood swings. Week 16 is the days of serenity and peace, when the future mother becomes more confident about her and her baby’s future.

In terms of months, week 16 marks the ending of the 4th month since conception. What major changes can be observed at this time in the female body?

1. Robust appetite comes back. Signs of early toxicosis, which torment many women since the very conception, fade away. Woman’s diet now can be expanded significantly. You should choose products wisely and be guided by the usefulness of foods, when making a diet.

2. The woman gains weight rapidly. As you may have guessed, this has to do with improved appetite and eating more. Now, the organism starts to make up for all weight lost in the first trimester because of early toxicosis. The expectant mother may gain up to 3 kg comparing to the period before pregnancy. The belly is bulging noticeably, and the woman’s delicate condition is difficult to hide from other people.

3. Frequent urination resumes due to the fact that the fetal growth continues at a swift rate. The uterus grows in size together with the fetus and puts increasing pressure on the bladder, leading to more frequent urge to urinate.

4. Difficulties breathing associated with the uterus pressing on the diaphragm. Doctors recommend keeping calm, resting properly, sleeping more, and monitoring your state of health.

5. The pregnant woman may suffer from a so-called physiological rhinitis. It is a specific symptom of this stage of pregnancy that will pass over time.

6. The expecting mother can already feel the fetus moving. Although the feelings are still weak and almost imperceptible, they increase in intensity weekly. The woman even gets the opportunity to communicate with the unborn child through gentle touches.

She may have issues with bowel movement, leading to constipation. It means one more reason to choose carefully what you eat and include more fiber-rich and vitamin-rich foods in your menu.

What calendar month of child-bearing does it correspond to?

The ending of the 16th obstetric week is the ending of the 4th obstetric month. The obstetric month consists of 28 days – that is accurately 4 weeks – while the calendar month consists of 30 to 31 days. In terms of calendar months, the ending of the 16th obstetric week is the 3rd week of the 4th calendar month.

What is the fetus like at week 16?

The unborn child is 14 weeks old by that time. It is still growing and developing rapidly. The length of the fetus is over 10 centimeters, and it weighs around 80 grams. The body proportions of the fetus are already closer to child’s: the legs are growing longer, while the head is not as big comparing to the body. The woman can imagine the average avocado to visualize the current size of the baby.

The skeleton is building, and the muscles are gaining strength. The fetus continues to wave its limbs, and their motions intensify. The fetus can open and close its mouth and eyes already due to the development of the facial muscles. The unborn baby is now able to turn its head, because its neck muscles have grown stronger.

Internal organs of the fetus keep mastering their tasks of contracting, secreting, and filtering.

The most active organs at the 16th week:

  • Liver;
  • Kidneys;
  • Bladder.

The baby’s heart is constantly pumping blood; its volume reaches up to 25 liters per day. It’s believed that the specialists are able to run blood type and cross-match for the fetus at this stage.

The heart rate of the unborn child is around 150 BPM.

The stomach, bowels, and gall bladder are functioning steadily.

One can see distinctive ears, mouth, and eyes with eyelashes and eyebrows on the head and face of the fetus.

The baby still needs to receive the sufficient amounts of nutrients to grow and develop. The fetus takes everything it needs from the mother’s body. Meaning, the future mother needs to eat properly to ensure she and the baby are healthy. It’s better to consume food fractionally, few times a day. During this period, the expecting mother should eat more high-protein food (meat, fish, dairy products) to provide the baby with the “building material” it needs. Adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits facilitate the function of the bowels. However, you should avoid spicy, salty, and smoked products, which are not only unhealthy, but can also cause or increase digestive problems.

Ultrasound scan at week 16

At this stage of child-bearing, ultrasound examination is not medically necessary, unless the expectant mother has alarming symptoms or bad results of the tests. In this case, a gynecologist will refer her to an ultrasound scan. A specialist can show the future mother during an ultrasound examination what the baby looks like.

  • The height of the fetus is ~ 117 mm and it weighs ~ 80 grams. This is understandable, because the baby has been developing for almost 4 months. There are distinctive and well-formed parts of the body, the spinal column and the ribcage in the ultrasound image.
  • The fetus is now reacting to outside stimuli and moving eagerly.
  • In some cases, doctors can determine whether the child in the womb is recognizable as a boy or a girl. However, it should be noted that the possibility of mistake is still high, since the baby’s sexual organs are not quite developed. The scan is not detailed enough during this stage of pregnancy.

Examination during week 16

Your obgyn will continue to monitor how you feel and how the baby develops. At this term, other tests can be performed besides routine tests such as weighing, measurement of blood pressure, complete blood count, common urine test, and determining the height of the uterus:

  • a triple test to determine the hCG and estriol level, along with α-fetoprotein level (to make sure that the unborn baby doesn’t have developmental disorders);
  • amniocentesis, or sampling of amniotic fluid from the womb (this test is performed only on health grounds);
  • ultrasound scan of fetal development, Dopplerometry (if a pregnant woman has complaints or alarming test results).

Remember, even if the doctor refers you to added tests, there is no need to worry. Please keep in mind that you can’t be too careful: it’s better to undergo every single test and make sure that no health issues become known at a later stage.

Possible problems

Pains, aches, cramps

Soreness, pain or cramps that can arise in various parts of the body suggest the pregnant woman that she should take a rest, not to worry, and let the changes in her body happen. Obviously, it can be advised only in case of the mild pain and slight discomfort. If you feel that unpleasant sensations or spasms have intensified, please pay your gynecologist a visit.

At this stage of child-bearing, the woman may feel:

  • pain in the ribcage and lower back (after a long standing) caused by an enlarged uterus;
  • abdominal pain (cramps because of stretched muscles of the uterus);
  • headaches due to higher volume of blood circulating and, consequently, an elevated blood pressure;
  • leg pain and swelling caused by an increase in weight.

Discharge and bleeding

A slightly increased amount of discharge should not be a reason for concern. This fact signalizes of an increased level of the hormone estrogen that causes stretching of the uterine walls and ligaments. Nevertheless, you should monitor if there are any changes in color and consistency. Such changes can indicate what is going on inside your womb.

  • Watery discharge. Urgent medical attention is recommended, because it may be leakage of amniotic fluid.
  • Cotton cheese-like discharge. Such discharge is a sign of yeast, an infectious disease that frequently attacks a compromised immunity of pregnant women. The gynecologist will take a smear, and will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment after making the correct diagnosis.
  • Yellowish discharge. Such discharge may be pus due to an inflammation inside the uterus. Please contact your doctor.
  • Bleeding. Bleeding is a highly alarming sign at any stage of pregnancy, which means a threat to a child’s life. Please call an ambulance as soon as possible.

Cotton cheese-like discharge is a sign of yeast, an infectious disease.

Missed abortion

The 16th week of child-bearing can be marred by such a disheartening diagnosis as missed abortion. It means natural termination of pregnancy and stopping the development of the baby in the womb. The 16th-18th weeks are the most dangerous time when the death of the fetus can happen.

Sadly, it’s hard to tell the exact reasons for which this condition may occur. For the most part, it is a consequence of several factors at the same time, the most common of which are:

  • infection in the pregnant woman that has been transmitted to the unborn child;
  • Rh-incompatibility of the child and mother;
  • low levels of progesterone, a hormone involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and responsible for maintenance of pregnancy;
  • unhealthy lifestyle of the mother, bad ecological environment;
  • chromosomal abnormalities that have occurred during the fetal development;
  • history of abortions.

The missed abortion threatens the pregnant woman’s life and wellness. So, it’s very important to detect the worrisome signals from the body and seek timely medical attention. An additional examination prescribed by the gynecologist in cases when the missed abortion is suspected – a blood test for hCG and ultrasound – will help to make a correct diagnosis. If the hCG level has dropped and the ultrasound scan confirms the missed abortion, the patient should be taken to hospital immediately. In such case, the task of doctors is to save the life of the woman and extract the dead fetus.

The symptoms that cause suspicions of missed abortion:

  • pain in the uterus;
  • abundant brownish discharge;
  • weakness and elevated body temperature.

The worst thing about the missed abortion is that it can’t be diagnosed based on the woman’s sensations only. Minor sickness is often considered a normal symptom of pregnancy. If you want to prevent or detect and treat this issue in time, you should visit your gynecologist on a regular basis, follow his advice, and undergo testing timely.

Cold and fever at week 16

The increased body temperature up to 37° Celsius is a normal sign of pregnancy. It can be explained by the fact that the body of the expecting mother works hard to provide vital functions for herself and her baby. However, if the body temperature rises higher and there are other symptoms such as a stuffy nose or coughing, these are reliable signs of a cold. You should begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening.

  • Most drugs are prohibited for pregnant women, so you will have to use the traditional remedies. In this case, you will need abundant drinking, wiping, rinsing the throat and nose, more rest and sleep.
  • Of all antypiretic drugs – that take down the temperature – you can take paracetamol. Never ever use aspirin, it’s dangerous for the unborn baby.
  • With fever, it is strictly contraindicated to take the bath and to use mustard plaster.

If you have seen a mark of 37.5 on the thermometer, please see a doctor urgently. The body temperature above 38° Celsius is a serious threat to the life of the baby.

Sex

In case of a healthy course of pregnancy, doctors put no restrictions on love life of a woman. Sexual relationship at this period is not contraindicated if there are no bad signs. A gynecologist may only prohibit sexual activities in cases of multiple pregnancies, low attachment of the placenta, or the possibility of miscarriage.

Recommendations for the expecting mother

  • Opt for low-heeled shoes and comfy clothes made from natural fabrics. You should care about convenience and health now, not beauty.
  • Walk outdoors more, since walks have a favorable effect on you and your baby: the organism gets more oxygen, which increases the overall well-being.
  • Keep a diet and eat more vegetables, fruits, and foods containing iron and calcium.
  • Take care of your body: opt for underwear made from natural fabrics, use special skin products and massage your belly and chest to prevent stretch marks from appearing.

Adjust your sleep schedule; lay on your side so that there is no pressure on the tummy or spine.

Diet of the expecting mother

Balanced proper nutrition is essential to a healthy course of pregnancy and easy delivery. The expectant mother should provide herself and her baby with vitamins and nutrients, but not overdo it and avoid abrupt weight gains. This is possible, if you follow five main rules:

1. eat more often, but fractionally (in small portions);

2. eat more cereals, bran bread, vegetables and fruits, lean meat and fish;

3. wash the products thoroughly before cooking or eating;

4. drink at least 2 liters of water during the day;

5. stop drinking coffee, strong tea and booze, if you haven’t given them up already.

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