Your baby at 16 weeks
Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he’s about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, and his head is more erect than it has been. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren’t recognizable yet. He’s even started growing toenails. And there’s a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby develops.
See what fraternal twins look like in the womb this week.
Your life at 16 weeks pregnant
The top of your uterus is about halfway between your pubic bone and your navel, and the round ligaments that support it are thickening and stretching as it grows. You’re probably feeling a whole lot better as you settle into pregnancy, too. Less nausea, fewer mood swings, and “glowing” skin contribute to an overall sense of well-being.
Soon you’ll experience one of the most wonderful moments of pregnancy – feeling your baby move. While some women notice “quickening” as early as 16 weeks, many don’t feel their baby move until about 18 weeks or more. (And if this is your first baby, don’t be too impatient – you may not be aware of your baby’s movements until 20 weeks or so.) The earliest movements may feel like little flutters, gas bubbles, or even like popcorn popping. Over the following weeks they’ll grow stronger and you’ll be able to feel them much more frequently.
Learn about: Pregnancy weight gain
How much weight should I gain now?
If you started your pregnancy at an average weight, aim to gain about 12 to 14 pounds this trimester (toward a total of 25 to 35 for your whole pregnancy). Your caregiver may advise that you gain a little more or less if you started your pregnancy underweight or overweight or you’re carrying twins or more.
How can I keep my weight gain on track?
During your second trimester, you need to eat about 340 extra calories a day, according to the Institute of Medicine, which issues guidelines on pregnancy weight gain. (The total amount of calories you’ll need depends on your weight and activity level.)
If you’re gaining too much: Some women find that they’re gaining weight too quickly. It’s not safe to go on a low-calorie diet or skip meals during pregnancy, though. Instead, try these suggestions to help slow your weight gain:
- Start your day with a nutritious breakfast that includes adequate protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and a small amount of healthy fat.
- Eat vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products, and skip processed foods, packaged snacks, and sugar-loaded desserts.
- Keep healthy, filling snacks around, such as cheese and plain yogurt, hummus, nut butters, baby carrots and other raw veggies, and fresh fruit such as apples or bananas. You’ll be less susceptible to junk-food snack attacks.
- Choose a tasty alternative to a fatty food. For example: nonfat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, a bagel instead of a doughnut, or air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips. (Get more ideas.)
- Drink water instead of reaching for a glass of juice or soda. Flavored bubbly water is delicious!
- With your healthcare provider’s okay, get regular exercise. If you have trouble getting started or keeping to a routine, find an exercise buddy who’ll go for a daily walk or swim with you. This will help to keep you motivated. Even a 20-minute daily walk at lunchtime will make a difference.
If you’re having a hard time gaining enough: Some women find themselves struggling to budge the scale. Here are a few tips to help you put on the pounds:
- Drink a milk shake every day (add in fresh fruit for vitamin C). You’ll get a calorie boost and you’ll benefit from the calcium in the ice cream.
- Eat nutrient-dense foods with good fats, such as avocados and nuts.
- Try eating dried fruit. It’s not as filling as fresh fruit, so you tend to eat more of it and pack in more healthy calories.
- In addition to your meals, eat frequent snacks.
- Remind yourself that you’re supposed to be putting on weight now, for yourself and for your baby’s well-being. If you’re still having trouble gaining weight, or are struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues, be sure to talk to your doctor or midwife to get the support you need.
Activity: Plan a babymoon
Once your baby arrives, you and your partner won’t have as much time for each other. That’s why a babymoon – one last hurrah for just the two of you – is such a great idea. The second trimester is an ideal time to take a trip. By your third trimester you may feel too tired and achy to hit the road. If you can’t get out of town, plan local activities you can enjoy together. Even dinner and a movie counts!