Week 16 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 16

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

You are 4 months along! At 16 weeks pregnant, your bump is likely starting to show, so it may be noticeable that you're expecting. You could also begin to feel the first flutters of baby movement this week.

16 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 4 months

Which Trimester? Second trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 24 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 16 Weeks

At 16 weeks, baby measures just under 5 inches (12.4 centimeters) from the top of their head to the bottom of the buttocks (known as the crown-rump length).

On average, baby's height at 16 weeks measuring from the top of their head to their heels (known as crown-heel length) is approximately 7 inches (18 centimeters). Your little one likely weighs about 5 ounces (144 grams).

At 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the length of a pack of baby wipes
Verywell / Bailey Mariner 

Heart

Your baby-to-be's heart is beating around 150 to 180 times per minute, and it's pumping approximately 25 quarts (24 liters) of blood a day.

Taste Buds

Baby's taste buds and taste pores are developed and working by this week. So, your baby can taste the amniotic fluid as it enters the mouth. Since amniotic fluid takes on flavors of your diet, your baby can now start developing taste preferences while in the womb.

Head and Body Developments

  • Muscles and bones are continuing to grow and complete your baby's skeleton.
  • Your baby's head is more erect or straight and in line with the body now.
  • Hair is beginning to appear on the eyebrows, upper lip, and chin.
  • The first eye movements are seen beneath the eyelids between 16 and 18 weeks; once eye motions start, babies start to touch their eyelids.
  • The ability to hear is still developing, but your baby may begin to hear limited sounds this week.

Explore a few of your baby's week 16 milestones in this interactive experience.

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Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.

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Pregnancy Food Cravings: Myth or Reality?

Your Common Symptoms This Week

While your baby continues to grow and develop in week 16, you may continue to see an increase in energy and feel pretty good overall. However, some second-trimester symptoms may continue or pop up. You may have occasional:

Along with that, this week may bring a growing belly, the first signs of movement, and food cravings.

Baby Flutters

Soon you will feel the little fluttering of butterflies in your stomach, or more accurately, the baby in your uterus. If this isn't your first pregnancy, you may feel baby flutters, called quickening, as early as 16 weeks. But, if you’re a first-timer, it's a bit more difficult to recognize, so you may not begin to feel those first movements until week 18 to week 20.

Whether you feel your first flutters now or later, your baby-to-be is moving quite a lot. Babies are very active in the womb, especially between 14 weeks and 19 weeks, when there's still enough room to move around.

Baby Bump

Some expecting moms can't wait to show off a bump while others try to hide their growing belly for as long as they can. If you're trying to hide it, it's about to get a little harder since, by week 16, many expecting moms are showing.

Of course, it's possible that for those excited for the bump, it isn't as pronounced as you had hoped. That's because everyone is different, and each person's body carries the baby differently. Hang in there. You have 24 weeks of growing still to come.

Food Cravings

With nausea in the first trimester, you may have experienced some food aversions. But, now that your stomach can tolerate the sight and smell of food again, you may find you have some food cravings.

Food cravings are common. Between 50% and 90% of expecting moms report them. While it’s unclear why pregnancy brings cravings, it could be hormones along with the body's way of seeking certain nutrients that you need for your developing baby.

Self-Care Tips

A growing bump may make it more difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in, but it means your baby is getting big enough for you to possibly start to feel their movements. Dealing with cravings may also be on your mind.

Sleep Position

Getting in a comfortable position at bedtime can prove difficult in pregnancy, and that’s even before your belly "pops." To help you get comfortable:

  • Make sure the bedroom is at your desired temperature, not too hot and not too cold.
  • Allow the air to circulate in your room with either a fan, the air conditioner, or an open window.
  • Go to sleep when you're tired, so you're not tossing and turning to try to sleep.
  • Use bed pillows, a pregnancy pillow, or wedges to relieve pressure points.
  • Start sleeping on your side, especially the left side.

What Experts Say

“Right now, there is no unsafe position to sleep in. Just do what’s comfortable."

—Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

Healthy Snacks

While you can crave less nutritious, empty-calorie foods just as much as nutrient-dense options, your cravings may be trying to tell you something. It could be your body's way of getting you to give it a nutrient it wants.

You can definitely indulge in some less healthy treats now and then, the key is moderation, so do your best to make nutritious foods the bulk of your diet. Aim for balanced meals and snacks. Fruit, nuts, cheese, and cut-up veggies are easy and nutritious snacks.

Feeling The Baby Move

Those first baby movements can feel like little flutters, twinges, or gas bubbles. Experienced moms may recognize them sooner since they know what they're feeling for. Moms with a lower body mass index may also feel movement a little earlier.

However, there is no need to worry if you cannot feel your baby move at this point. It can take a little longer to feel movements for all moms, especially for first-time moms or moms with an anterior placenta. Some expecting moms don't feel the baby move until 20 weeks or even later.

As the weeks go on and the baby gets bigger, the movements will be more recognizable. It won't be long before you and loved ones can feel and even see the strong little kicks through your skin.

Your Week 16 Checklist

Advice for Partners

Have you thought about baby names yet? Have some fun and drum up a list of your top picks to compare with your partner’s. You can find inspiration and ideas for traditional or unique names by going through your family tree, history books, baby name books, or online sources:

Whether you have already picked the name or you're still working on it, you will also have to decide if you want to share the name or your possible choices with others. As you start spreading the "we’re pregnant" news, virtually everyone will ask you what you’re going to name the baby.

If you choose to answer, you’re bound to hear some opinions—and, you might be surprised if not all of them are supportive. Because of this, it’s a smart idea for you and your partner to decide on your name-sharing strategy.

You may want to keep the name between the two of you and let it be a surprise when the baby is born. But, if you do want to share, keep in mind that family and friends may not be shy when letting you know how they feel about your choice. Be ready to gently shut down those with negative opinions, however well-intentioned they may be.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If your last prenatal visit was at week 12, you should be back at your healthcare provider’s office this week for your next appointment.

Routine Examination

During your routine monthly prenatal check, your doctor will:

Fundal Height

Along with the above, your provider may take a new measurement this week: It's called the fundus or fundal height, and it's the distance between the top of your pubic bone and the top of your uterus.

This measurement helps your OB or midwife monitor fetal growth. At 16 weeks, the top of your uterus will be about halfway between your pubic bone and belly button when you're lying down.

Genetic Tests

If you've opted for genetic screening, you may have blood drawn at this office visit. This blood test is offered between week 15 and week 22 to determine for your baby's risk of chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.

Amniocentesis is performed between week 15 and week 20. If you have this test, it may be scheduled this week.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Your next visit may be for an ultrasound. Doctors typically schedule the structural ultrasound, also called the anatomy screen or level 2 ultrasound, between week 18 and week 22.

This ultrasound checks how your baby is developing, the location of the placenta, the baby’s position, and the status of the major parts of the brain, heart, kidneys, bladder, and stomach.

Recommended Products

You might be looking for that perfect name or that ideal sleep position this week. Here a few suggestions to help you with your search.

Baby Name Books

Some expecting parents have names chosen for their children long before they're even expecting. Some couples pick a name early in the pregnancy, while others wait until the baby is born to choose a name.

If you and your partner are taking your time to make this decision, you haven't found the perfect name just yet, or you want to do a little more research before narrowing it down, you may want to look through some books together.

Pregnancy Pillows

As your belly begins to expand, it can be challenging to find a comfortable sleep position. A pregnancy pillow provides support to your body and can help you sleep more comfortably on your side.

Special Considerations

Indulging in the occasional unhealthy craving isn't usually harmful. However, some cravings are dangerous. It's important to avoid substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and recreational drugs. But, there are other concerning urges, as well.

Pica

Pregnancy can bring some strange cravings—even odder than pickles over ice cream. Sometimes pregnancy can lead to craving non-food items such as ice, sand, chalk, dirt, soap, laundry detergent, and powder.

The urge to eat non-food items is called pica. Pica is associated with nutritional deficiencies, especially anemia. However, that is not always the case.

While feeding your food cravings in pregnancy is generally not a problem, pica can be. Eating substances that aren't food can be harmful to you and your baby. So, resist the urge and talk to your doctor about your cravings.

A Word From Verywell

Your baby is doing so many amazing things at 16 weeks. The senses are developing as the baby begins to taste, hear, and even touch. Meanwhile, you're showing and possibly starting to wonder if those little gas bubbles might actually be the baby moving.

If you can't feel the baby moving just yet, there's no need to worry. It will happen soon, maybe even next week.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Allison Hill, MD. Email communication. October, November 2017.