During this week of pregnancy an occurrence called quickening may be happening. Quickening is when you start to feel the baby move. This happens between the 16th and 20th week. You feel kicks until the sixth or seventh month. What you will start to feel a small fluttering in your stomach, if you aren’t aware that this happens, you won’t think that it is the baby and dismiss it as something else. So, when it happens pay attention to it, it is the first signs of the baby’s movement.
At the sixteenth week, your doctor may recommend that you undergo some antenatal testing. These tests will test the baby for genetic problems or abnormalities. As we mentioned in week fifteen, the immune system is weakened because of the pregnancy. Conditions like the flu and the common cold can be treated with doctor recommended treatments but you should stay away from potential places where you may be prone to catching chicken pox or rubella.
The doctor may also recommend additional testing such as AFP, triple test or amniocentesis. These tests will let the doctor know how the baby’s development is progressing. You can ask your doctor if there are any prenatal classes that you can enroll in, you can learn more about the rest of your pregnancy as well as what happens during childbirth.
By week sixteen the baby is about 17.5 cm and 160 g in weight. The baby has more space in the uterus and will start moving around a lot more. The baby can grab, kick and even do somersaults in the uterus. As the baby gets bigger the tighter the space will be and you will start to feel more of these movements. The baby will start to suck and in the sonograms you will notice the baby stop swallowing if a bitter taste in found in the amniotic fluid.
The baby can get hiccups too, as the baby grows you will know when the baby has the hiccups, you will be able to feel it. At this stage the baby will react to strong visual stimulation and will use their hands to protect their eyes from strong visuals. By now the baby and the placenta are about the same size. The head and the neck are straighter and you may be able to tell the sex of the baby if the baby is in the right position when a sonogram is done.
By now the baby ‘s urinary system and the circulatory system are beginning to function better. The baby will now start pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day. When you reach the end of the pregnancy at about 40 weeks the baby is expected to increase that amount to 1900 quarts a day.
Changes With Your Body
Week sixteen is a crucial week in your pregnancy. This is the week when doctors will want to check for Down’s Syndrome or Spina Bifida. There are tests called AFP testing. There is nothing you need to do; it is a blood test that has no risk for the baby at all. Within a week or less, you can have the results for the test. You will also experience your milk glands have started to produce breast milk. The breast veins will become more visible as more blood is pumped into the breasts.
You will continue to feel aches and pains as the baby continues to grow. Backaches are the most common during pregnancy, by relaxing and resting you can alleviate the pain. They say when you are pregnant that you feel clumsier and accident-prone that has been attributed to the back pain. Your belly will be expanding every week now. This is happens naturally but when you add rapid weight gain to the mix, stretch marks will soon appear. You can slow down stretch marks but keeping your weight gain in check.
You may want to start sleeping on your side rather than on your back. Use plenty of pillows as it takes to make you feel more comfortable. It also takes the strain and pressure off of your belly.
What To Expect
You will start to exude that pregnancy glow. The actual glow is due in part to the increased blood flow to the skin. You can start to have more fun being pregnant and embrace the next 8 months. You should have no more morning sickness or fatigue and your mental state should improve greatly. You are by now used to being pregnant so the adjustment time may be over. You may start experience quickening (small flutters in the stomach); this is the baby moving around the uterus. You will start to feel more and more of these feelings as the month’s progress.
When this starts to happen, you may not even realize that it is actually the baby moving. The baby’s movement will increase as time goes on. You will continue to gain weight but try to keep it under control. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you have any questions regarding your eating plan or about the AFP testing, now is the time to ask.
Week sixteen is an important week in pregnancy, if you have any genetic history now would be the time to mention it to the doctor. This testing is very important to the pregnancy. Discuss your fears and concerns with your partner as well as the doctor. Stress is not good for you or the baby. Stay on track with taking your vitamins and eating right.
Make sure that you keep on going to your appointments. You should be enjoying the sonograms and hearing the heartbeat every time you go. Seeing the baby’s growth is something very amazing. The heartbeat is the best sound in the world. Enjoy this while you can, it really is an exiting time not for the new mom to be but for the dad to be as well.