Your 16th Week

Some days, you’ll take huge pride in your emerging belly, on other days you may sigh for the loss of a trim figure. Enjoy your changing shape—you’ll probably find that your partner loves it, too. For many couples, this can be a time of increased interest in sex. If you have any emotional or physical worries, there’ll be an opportunity to discuss them with your doctor. Another prenatal checkup is likely to take place this week.


The belly starts here, announcing your pregnancy to the world

You are 15 Weeks and 1 Day 174 days to go…

Your belly “bump” may be clearly visible by this 16th week of pregnancy, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it grows.

Your baby today

In this artificially colored ultrasound scan of the baby within the uterus, the spine shows up especially clearly. The two blue crosses, at the top of the baby’s head and at his bottom, indicate where the rump to crown measurement is taken.

Your belly may not be obvious to others when you’re wearing baggy clothes, but in tight-fitting ones it will be quite prominent. Although your shape changes gradually, some women find that their belly gets larger more quickly during some weeks than others.

At around this stage you may begin to “show,” that is, instead of having a slightly bigger waist you develop a definite “bump” and start to look pregnant. You may begin to notice people’s eyes are drawn toward your abdomen. If you’d rather keep the pregnancy quiet in some circles—for example, at work—wear baggy clothes.

While some women have neat little bellies positioned more to the front, others have bellies that are more spread out. The size and shape of yours will be individual to you, so try not to compare. There are old wives’ tales that if you’re carrying in front you’re having a boy, and if you’re carrying spread out over your hips you’re carrying a girl, though this hasn’t been proved.

If you haven’t bought any maternity clothes, you may want to shop for some or adapt your clothes .

Twin bonding occurs well before the babies are born.

Advanced video technology has captured the special relationship between twins in the uterus. They have been seen to interact and even grasp each other’s hands.

… Nutritionist
Q: I keep waking up hungry at night—what should I do?
A: It is normal to get the nighttime munchies during pregnancy, but annoying, especially if you’re already having difficulties sleeping. Try to preempt nighttime hunger by snacking on the right foods before you go to bed:
  • Eggs, milk (and therefore cheese, and yogurt, too), and turkey are good sources of the amino acid tryptophan, which encourages the body to produce the B vitamin niacin. This helps the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect and aids sleep.

  • Eat slow-release carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread or pasta. So, for example, half a cheese or turkey sandwich, a small amount of whole-wheat pasta with some cheese, or a bowl of good-quality whole-grain breakfast cereal with some warm milk and honey will fill you up, while also helping you sleep better.

  • A handful of nuts and seeds, or some plain yogurt with honey and fruit, are high in protein and will stop your stomach from rumbling.

You are 15 Weeks and 2 Days 173 days to go…

You’re unlikely to feel her move yet, but your baby is becoming increasingly active inside your uterus.

Your baby today

The fingertips are prominent and the fingers still quite short. Each finger is separate and moves independently of the rest. This is the most comfortable position for the hand, with the thumb and fingers outstretched rather than curled into a fist.

By now, your baby may be active for up to five minutes at a time. In the next few weeks, you may begin to feel some slight fluttering movements, particularly if this is not your first pregnancy . You’ll only be aware of those movements that cause your baby to make contact with the inner muscular wall of your uterus.

The placenta itself can act like a cushion absorbing the impact of all but the strongest of the baby’s movements. For this reason, women with an anterior placenta (one lying on the front wall of the uterus—that closest to the skin) often feel the movements at a much later stage than those with a posteriorly sited placenta (one that lies closer to the back).

Your baby’s brain is continuing to develop. The nerve cells that will form the outer gray matter start centrally within the brain, and need to move outward to their final position. This process takes place in waves that occur from 8 to 16 weeks. The migration process is not complete until 25 weeks and electrical activity cannot be detected until 29 weeks. Even after this point, gray matter continues to mature and organize neural connections in the brain throughout the pregnancy. Your baby’s body is now longer than her head for the first time.

3D ultrasound scanning uses computer technology to produce more detailed images than conventional 2D scans. This scan shows a 15-week-old fetus in the uterus. At this stage all of the organs are formed, as are the vocal cords.

… Doctor
Q: Can using tanning beds and hot tubs harm my unborn baby?
A: Tanning beds expose you to ultraviolet light which can prevent you from absorbing folic acid, which the baby needs for development. Also, it’s been reported that a rise in the mother’s temperature, which can happen on a tanning bed, in a hot tub or sauna, may increase the fetus’s temperature. A temperature above 102° F (39° C) has been associated with spinal malformations in developing babies, and if a rise in temperature is maintained long enough, it may cause brain damage. The temperature of the amniotic fluid can also increase and it’s thought that an extreme rise in your temperature can cause problems with the flow of blood to the baby. So avoid tanning beds and hot tubs while you’re pregnant.
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