16 Weeks Pregnant: Fetus, Belly and Symptoms

It’s now Week 16 (Month 5) and a relatively stress-free period for most mothers. The uncertainties of the first trimester have now been put to rest. The body does not undergo many changes, the risk of a pregnancy loss has decreased and it’s a good time to start exercising if you haven’t been working out!

Although you might not feel that your body is changing as much in the second trimester in comparison to the first trimester, some things will change for you and baby in Week 16. Let’s find out more!

16 Weeks Pregnant: Weight gain and increase in belly size

pregnant woman belly shoes

In Week 16 of pregnancy, the uterus is about as big as a cantaloupe. The fundal height is about 15–20 cm. As the uterus becomes bigger, the belly also protrudes out even more, and moms will feel that they have grown in size as fats accumulate in the waist and abdominal areas. Ditch those tight-fitting pants and opt for loose-fitting maternity clothes instead!

The weight gain will continue in Week 16, but for those who were in a healthy BMI range pre-pregnancy and who have already put on more than about 11 lbs (5 kg) since the start of pregnancy, it’s time to watch the scales more diligently.

16 Weeks Pregnant: The fetus is moving

You might start feeling fetal movement as early as Week 16, although in general, most women only start feeling movements in their belly sometime around Week 20. When your fetus stretches or bends their limbs, you can feel movement in your belly and it might feel as if your fetus is doing cartwheels or kicking at you from the inside. When you lie down, you will feel more fetal movements. For those who can’t feel anything yet – rest assured! These movements will grow stronger as the weeks go by.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly

Week16 scan

16 Weeks Pregnant: Size of fetus

The fetus “comes alive” and is moving inside the amniotic fluid! There can be quite some variation between individuals, but at this stage the fetus should be around 11–14 cm long and weigh about 60–120 grams. The fetus is now able to move in many similar ways to how they will after birth.

Fetus’ growth

  • Muscles attach to the skeleton. The head, which was drooping forward, now becomes straightened

  • Adipose tissue begins to develop, which produces heat and helps the fetus maintain body temperature

  • Practice makes perfect: The baby does actions resembling blinking, drinking and breathing

  • The skin thickens and lanugo (thin, downy hair) starts growing all over the body

  • The hands and fingers develop. Baby is able to do complicated actions like joining the hands together

16 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms and the Sims position

pregnant sleep

For pregnant moms, experts recommend sleeping in the Sims position. The Sims position can help to alleviate symptoms like edema (swelling) or varicose veins by improving circulation. To get into the Sims position, lie on your left side with your left leg straightened underneath and your right leg bent up over the top. Put your left arm behind your back, and lean in until you are almost on your stomach. You might find using a bolster or a cushion to prop your leg up more comfortable.

Your belly will continue growing bigger and this might make finding a comfortable position to sleep in more difficult. If you are having problems with your usual sleeping position, why not give the Sims position a go?

Your delivery, your choice?

meal think plan

Thinking of going solo? Or would you rather have a birth partner by your side when you deliver? Regardless of whether you want to go to the delivery room alone, with a person you wish to be with, have an unassisted birth (while remembering, this is risky!), or have a planned home birth with a certified midwife assisting you, it’s best to convey your wishes to those around you clearly. Try talking to your partner, friends and family, or even other moms or moms-to-be and asking for their opinions.

Another person you might want to consult would be your OB-GYN. Ask your OB-GYN about the different ways through which you can deliver, the risks for each type of delivery, about receiving medication like local anesthesia during labor, about episiotomy (cutting the skin and muscles between the vaginal opening and anus to widen the opening of the vagina during childbirth) or medical interventions like vacuum extraction or IVs.

A birth plan, in essence, is similar to a holiday plan. You come up with your ideal plan, then decide on back-up plans which you can count on should things not go your way. It can be extremely detailed, or a rough sketch on what your ideal labor would be like. Although making a birth plan might sound tedious, if you want to be in control over what you can have control over during your labor, it’s time to sit down and start planning.

Crossing the bridge when you get to it is also a fine way to deal with labor, but that could also open you up to many other risks that could endanger you and your baby. Remember that a birth plan is but an agreement between you and the hospital (should you choose to give birth there) – and that there might be situations in which it might be better to leave the decision-making to the doctors.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Don’t let your guard down!

couple smile photo picture

Your belly grows bigger and you probably will swap your usual wardrobe for maternity clothes in Week 16. People around you may have started noticing that you’re pregnant and you in yourself would start feeling the pregnancy more keenly with each passing day.

As Week 16 is a week in the second trimester – a period of time characterized by the improvement in symptoms like morning sickness – you might be feeling great because you are in a physically good condition. However, you might unintentionally push yourself too hard. Even when you exercise or go out, do be careful not to strain yourself physically. Don’t let you guard down, but don’t hold yourself back from enjoying yourself too!