Week 16 ultrasound image: http://weeklyultrasounds.com/16-week-ultrasound/
What to Expect This Appointment?
At 16 weeks, the fetus is avocado size, or 5 inches from head to toe. The fetus weighs in at 3 ounces and will continue to gain weight and grow throughout the rest of the pregnancy. 16 weeks is the first week that the parents are able to find out the gender of the baby via ultrasound. However, some babies are shy and won’t show off their gender until closer to 20 weeks.
The baby can hear you. At 16 weeks, the fetus hearing has developed enough that the baby is able to detect and hear sounds inside the womb. Babies that were sung to in the womb will recognize those songs after they are born.
This week’s appointment will also see routine blood pressure checks, blood and urine tests. This helps doctors to rule out any issues or infections that could harm development. 16 weeks is when high risk pregnancies undergo amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is a test to help determine potential genetic issues. At 16 weeks, it is safe for the baby to undergo the procedure. The procedure is voluntary.
What is Developing?
16 weeks the fetus is an impressive avocado size and is beginning to retain more weight. 16 weeks is more growth than development. The second trimester is a stage of rapid growth. It is during this time that the fetus accumulates fat and lengthens. 16 weeks development sees a small amount of fat beginning to form under the skin. This provides additional warmth, a warmth that only fat can provide. This developmental fat will promote healthy temperature regulation once the baby is born.
The nervous system is constantly developing. At 16 weeks, the nerves have worked out most of the pathways between the brain and the muscles. As these pathways develop, the baby’s movements become more purposeful and coordinated.
Expectant mothers are highly susceptible to allergies, colds, and the flu. It is statistically probable that a female will be pregnant during seasons where allergies and flu are high, or doing the normal cold season. Mothers are encouraged to do everything that they can to prevent the chances of getting sick. Being sick is miserable, but being sick while pregnant is a million times worse.
The increase in blood flow has seen an increase in swelling. Everything from the ankles to the mucous membranes of the nose are swelling. The swelling of the mucous membrane causes congestion, appropriately named pregnancy congestion. This can lead to nosebleeds, snoring, and overall congestion. Most doctors will not prescribe medicines for this congestion as it is a part of the normal swelling associated with pregnancy. Most over the counter medications for congestion are not appropriate for a pregnant mother to take. Expectant mothers are left to deal with saline nose sprays as relief. Mothers that are experiencing pregnancy congestion should invest in a humidifier. Using a humidifier with a small dab of petroleum jelly under the nose can overcome dryness associate with congestion.