16 Weeks - Pregnancy
This week, your baby is just beginning to accumulate some fat cells underneath her translucent skin. Your baby is about 4 ½ inches long and weighs about 3 ½ ounces, about the size of a plum. She is beginning a huge growth spurt within the coming weeks in weight and height, so hold on!
Your baby’s heart is strengthening, and is now pumping about 6 gallons of blood per day. The heart beats doubly as fast as yours, and it is furiously working to promote circulation and feed the organs for growth. The whorl pattern on her scalp, which will form her hair, has started to develop. If you were to watch your baby’s face, you would see that she has also developed some reflexes, including sucking, swallowing, and blinking her eyes. Her eyes have moved to the front of her head as well.
Another great milestone this week is that your baby is breathing. Her tiny lungs are taking in oxygen-enriched amniotic fluid for practice until she can breathe air one day. Further development in her lungs will take place until she is ready to breathe on her own after she is born. As she swallows and breathes amniotic fluid, her urinary tract is beginning to function as well.
Still feeling morning sickness? If so, that will most likely come to an end very soon. It is in the second trimester that women start to feel better and develop a new energy. Every woman is different, and unfortunately some of us are unlucky enough to develop morning sickness late or during our whole pregnancy. Most likely though, you are almost done with those symptoms. Another symptom most likely coming to an end is the need to urinate frequently. As your uterus moves up into your belly, the pressure on your bladder will ease, so that you can once again have sweet dreams at night.
Since your baby is just starting to move into a growth spurt, you may feel like you need more rest. Remember, your body is working hard to give baby everything she needs to grow, so eat healthy and get plenty of rest. That sense of fatigue will go away if you make sure to get enough sleep and take your prenatal vitamins.
As your baby grows, you will begin to grow as well. The uterus expands to 1,000 times its normal size during pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if you start putting on one pound per week now.
Are you glowing? Some pregnant women report a sense of calm and happiness at this time, while many others report feeling anxious or having “the blues”. The increase in hormones is often what is causing your mood swings. If you are feeling sad or overwhelmed, talk to a family member or friend. Talking to a counselor, as well, is not considered unheard of for pregnant women. Many of us go through depression at some point in our pregnancy, so there is no need to feel embarassed or ashamed.
Before you know it, you’ll be into month five, and you will be feeling your baby moving and hiccupping inside of you. It is a very rewarding feeling and will give you some excitement in the days and weeks to come.
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This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.