At 16 weeks pregnant your baby is about 12cm long and weighs about 130g. His or her features are now more in proportion and the eyes and ears are now close to what will be their final positions on the skull.Don’t be concerned if your baby still looks rather thin on the sonagram: this is because there are no layers of fat below the skin yet. The skin is so fine and translucent that the blood vessels can be clearly seen underneath it.From now on the growth rate of your baby will increase dramatically, as will his or her range of movements, due to the now-rapid development of the nervous system. Your baby will be becoming pretty active, moving its limbs and kicking out and can also suck its thumb. When you pick up such movements on the ultrasound scan it can be very exciting.
A layer of fat is now beginning to coat the nerves that link the muscles to the brain. This is important because once the neural connections are complete, messages can be passed to and from the brain and so allow co-ordinated movements.A really exciting development at this stage is that, with the aid of a device called a sonic aid, which basically is an amplifier attached to a stethoscope, your midwife should be able to let you hear the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. This is a dramatic and sometimes emotional moment for many parents, especially for a first pregnancy, as it makes it all seem very real: your baby starts to take on his or her own identity. Don’t be worried if the baby’s heartbeat sounds really fast: that’s perfectly normal for 16 weeks pregnant, when the range of normal is 120 to 150 beats per minute, so it sounds way faster than your own heartbeat would.16 Weeks Pregnant: About YouBy this stage, if you’ve been experiencing morning sickness or pregnancy nausea, if you’re lucky the symptoms should be settling down or disappearing altogether.
At 16 weeks pregnant the top of your uterus is moving upwards towards your navel – it’s now abour half way between there and the top of the pubic bone – and there is a thickening and stretching of the ligaments in your abdomen. Some women are ‘showing’ their pregnancy by this stage but often, especially if it’s your first and depending on your physique and muscle tone, the only outward clue to your pregnancy will be your glowing skin and glossy hair.It’s just possible now that you might feel your baby move, although this is often discounted as wind by the ‘experts’ until around 18 weeks pregnant when the ‘quickening’, as it is still rather quaintly known, is more commonly felt. A fluttery, butterfly sensation is often the first sign and many mothers say they first felt their baby move around week 16 of pregnancy, particularly when they were lying down. But equally, you might not feel anything until week 20 or later: everyone is unique in this. Your Pregnancy Weight GainHow much weight should you be putting on at 16 weeks pregnant and how many extra calories do you need? This is a question asked by many moms-to-be and in general, a healthy amount of weight to gain in the first trimester of pregnancy is around 13-14 pounds. Over your whole pregnancy the average weight gain would be about 26 – 34 pounds, depending on your start weight.
It’s reckoned that an extra 300 calories a day is about for now and there is a risk you’ll want to eat more as you begin to feel more hungry than usual. Trying to get the balance between overeating and undereating right is important however; it’s horribly easy to over-indulge, especially when well-meaning people offer you delicious sugar-laden treats and tell you that you’re eating for two now, so it will be OK. Don’t believe them!This is a very crucial time for setting eating patterns and it’s whenyour diet is really important, so you should try to make it as well-balanced as you can. Healthy eating in pregnancy lays down great foundations for your baby’s future.Like many moms-to-be, I struggled with this at first but then a friend ( a very good friend) bought me a copy of Healthy Eating for Pregnancy: The Complete Guide to a Healthy Diet Before, During and After Pregnancy. Although the title is a bit of a mouthful (oops, sorry: no pun intended!)it has proved to be a brilliant book with some really great healthy recipes. Very inspiring and helpful for the times when I didn’t want to have to think too much about what to eat.To build your baby’s cells and make you feel fit as well, check out our