Week 16 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Pregnancy Week 16

Welcome to week 16 of your pregnancy. You’ve only got four more weeks until the halfway mark. If you haven’t experienced typical pregnancy food cravings, they may begin now.

 

Your Trimester: Second trimester

Weeks to Go: 24

You This Week

Are you feeling some mysterious butterflies in your belly? It’s likely not nerves, but an indication that your baby-to-be is getting some exercise.

Some second-time moms may feel baby flutters, called quickening, as early as 16 weeks. But if you’re a first-timer, you likely won’t begin to feel baby’s 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 in the 7½ ounces of amniotic fluid that surrounds him or her. (Initially, amniotic fluid is made up of water that’s provided by you; around 20 weeks, fetal urine is the primary substance.)

While it’s unclear why pregnant women have cravings, which may kick in about now, it’s hypothesized that it may be related to, you guessed it, hormones. Of note: If you are craving things that aren’t food, like ice, dirt, or wax, that’s a rare condition called pica, which needs to be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Your Baby This Week

So many of baby’s inner workings are starting to really function this week, including his or her urinary and circulatory systems.

In fact, your baby-to-be’s heart is now pumping approximately 25 quarts of blood a day. (By week 40, this number will jump to 1,900 quarts daily.)

By week 16, your baby can now hold his or her tiny head upright, and his or her ears and eyes have finished their migration, finally situated in their meant-to-be positions. By week’s end, your baby will be about 5.31 inches long, and he or she will weigh 2½ ounces.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If your last appointment was at week 12, you’ll be back at your healthcare provider’s office this week for your next appointment. In addition to the standard trio of requesting a urine sample, gauging blood pressure, and measuring weight, your healthcare provider will also record the distance between the top of your pubic bone and the top of your uterus. This is called the fundus or fundal height, and it helps your OB or midwife monitor fetal growth.  

At the same time, between week 15 and week 18, all pregnant women are presented with yet another screening option for chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects. Here, your healthcare provider may offer you a group of tests called the second-trimester maternal serum screening (or the multiple marker test, triple screen, or quad screen). In some cases, the results of this screening will be compared to the results of your first-trimester screen to get a clearer idea of your baby’s risk.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Your next prenatal appointment will be here before you know it and, while there, you may get a structural ultrasound, also called the anatomy screen. (This generally occurs between week 18 and week 20.) Here, your healthcare provider will evaluate how your baby is developing, checking the location of the placenta and baby’s position, and gauging the status of the major parts of the brain, heart, kidneys, bladder, and stomach.

If your pregnancy is considered low-risk, however, a structural ultrasound may not be offered. “Ultimately, the decision to get one should be made between you and your healthcare provider,” says Allison Hill, M.D., an OB/GYN, author of Your Pregnancy, Your Way and co-author of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

Taking Care

Getting in a comfortable position at bedtime can prove difficult in pregnancy, and that’s even before your belly pops. But know this: “Right now, there is no unsafe position to sleep in,” says Dr. Hill. “Just do what’s comfortable.”

It is a good idea, however, to start getting used to sleeping on your left side as much as you can.

First, laying flat on your back during your third trimester can press your uterus up into your lungs, causing shortness of breath. Second, laying on your right side may disrupt blood flow to your heart, uterus, and the rest of your body.

“There’s a large blood vessel called the inferior vena cava that runs along the right side of your spine, which is responsible for returning blood from your lower half to your heart,” explains Dr. Hill. “Theoretically, the weight of your baby and uterus could press on the vena cava, compromising that blood supply.”

The easiest way to start sleeping in this position: Roll over to your left side and place a pillow under your belly and another between your bent knees, for support and alignment. For still more support, you can use a wedge pillow for your back.

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. And know this: 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’ll then be subjected to many opinions. Because of this, it’s a smart idea for you and your partner to decide on your name-sharing strategy—and how to gently shutdown opinion-sharers, however well-intentioned they may be.

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.

  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.

  • Pick up more regular or specialty pillows, if needed.

  • Start making baby name lists.

Last Week: Week 15
Coming Up: Week 17

Sources:

Allison Hill, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.

American Pregnancy Association. Low Amniotic Fluid Levels: Oligohydramnios. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/oligohydramnios/

American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 16. http://americanpregnancy.org/week-by-week/16-weeks-pregnant/

March of Dimes. Cravings During Pregnancy. https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/cravings-during-pregnancy.aspx

The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 16. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week16.html