Feeling your baby kick? Testing your baby for diseases? These are only some of the things that might happen in your sixteenth week of pregnancy.
What Is Happening To Your Body
From this week to the 18th week of pregnancy, your doctor may offer you a maternal blood screening test. This test is also known as the “triple marker” or “triple screen” test that measures levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the fetus, and pregnancy hormones HCG and estriol in the mother’s blood. The test tells the mother if their baby is at risk for neural tube defects such as spina bifida or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
An increased blood level (mentioned last week) can also cause a stuffy nose or even nose bleeds.
You may also start to feel your baby’s movements this week, thanks in part to the baby’s hardening bones. This may feel more like butterflies in your stomach or popcorn popping than movement and is called fluttering or quickening. Don’t worry if you don’t feel anything this week — it will come as your baby moves more frequently and vigorously.
What Is Happening To Your Baby
Your baby now measures about 4.3 to 4.7 inches (10.9 to 11.9 cm) long from crown to rump or roughly the length of an avocado, and weighs 2.75 ounces (78 grams). Your baby is growing fast, and your weight is likely increasing as a result.
Your baby’s muscles are now developing to the point that your baby can hold its head erect, in a straight line, and its facial muscles can display a variety of expressions.
Depending on the baby’s position, your doctor may be able to determine your baby’s sex on an ultrasound scan. For some parents, this is one of the most exciting moments of pregnancy.
Ultrasound images courtesy of GE Healthcare
The clinical images and information presented in this application represent normal fetal growth during a typical pregnancy. The images and information are to be used for educational purposes only and not for diagnostic purposes. Please consult a licensed physician regarding any specific questions pertaining to your pregnancy.