What’s going on?
At this point in your pregnancy, you will start piling on the pounds. Don’t worry too much though, not all of the weight gain comes from you – your baby has a part to play in this as well. While this growth is taking place, your baby’s eyesight is developing rapidly as well.
Baby at Week 16
Your baby now measures at approximately 11.5cm long, which is about the size of an avocado. He/she is all ready to double his/her weight (which is around 110g) and add more inches to his/her length.
With a face that comes with both eyebrows and eyelashes, your baby’s features are almost complete. However, he/she is still looking skinny now since there is no baby fat yet. If you could see your baby in the womb, you’d notice that he/she has translucent skin which enables you to see through his/her blood vessels.
Your baby’s skeleton is starting to harden from the rubbery cartilage to solid bone. With that, he/she is set to straighten his/her head and neck even more. However, the bones will keep a certain degree of flexibility to make way for an easier trip through the birth canal.
At this stage, the umbilical cord has reached full maturity and now comes with one vein and two arteries that are protected by a thick substance called Wharton’s jelly. This substance is what makes the cord slippery and enables it to move freely around your baby.
Another area in which your baby is making progress in is the nervous system. Here, connections to all the muscles are established and reflexes in place, which enables your baby to move more purposefully. This means that your baby’s face muscles can now move, although he/she still does not have any control over them. On a brighter note, your baby could possibly grab and play with his/her umbilical cord as he/she develops the grip reflex.
What is mum up to?
At Week 16, the bulge in your belly is looking more like a baby bump rather than the after effect of a huge meal. Despite that, it can still be challenging to watch yourself gain weight during pregnancy, even if it is to nourish and support your baby’s growth and development.
You can overcome this by doing focusing on eating right during pregnancy (which includes minimising your intake of unhealthy food and taking in more nutrient-dense foods) and exercising regularly. As you try to embrace your new body shape, do remember that every woman is different and that each of us gain and loses weight differently during pregnancy.
You can refer to this guideline on the recommended pregnancy weight gain, based on your Body Mass Index (BMI):
BMI less than 19: 13 to 18kg
BMI between 19 and 24: 11 to 16 kg
BMI between 24.5 to 29.5: 7 to 11kg
BMI more than 30: 5 to 9 kg
If you are pregnant with twins, you should expect to gain an additional 4.5kg.
Top tips for Week 16
You might have been one of the lucky mums-to-be who escaped the woes of constipation during the first trimester, but this could strike in the second trimester as well. Thanks to the hormone progesterone, the muscles throughout your body tend to relax and this includes the gastrointestinal tract which slows down digestion and causes gas, bloating and burping.
You can beat your tummy troubles with these remedies:
- Load up on fibre – apart from preventing constipation, they are also good sources of vitamins and antioxidants
- Cut back on foods that are ‘gassy’ such as beans, cabbage and dairy products
- Do stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day. This helps to keep your bowels soft and moving smoothly through the digestive tract.
- Go for smaller and regular meals throughout the day instead of having a few big ones. This allows the stomach to digest food easily, and get transferred to the intestine and colon smoothly.
- Sneak in regular exercise (at least 3 times a week, 20 to 30 minutes each time) as this helps to stimulate your bowels