Your pregnancy week-by-week: week sixteen

Your baby is the size of an avocado! And weighs about 100g. She’s really starting to grow now.

Your baby

Over the next few weeks, your baby will go through a huge growth spurt. As she grows in size, so will the placenta.

Your little one’s circulatory system is now in full working order. Her heart is pumping about 28 litres of blood around her body each day.

Her backbone has become stronger so she’ll straighten out her head and neck more. Her nervous system is also connecting to the muscles so your baby now has reflexes. It’s possible she might be able to grab and play with the umbilical cord as she develops her ability to grip.

On the top of your baby’s head, the lines of her scalp are beginning to form, although no hair will grow yet. The eyebrows, lashes and hair are now starting to fill in and toenails are forming.

You

You should have a second antenatal appointment around this time. This is an exciting time as you’re likely to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time! The midwife should have the results of blood tests taken at your booking appointment, and she’ll also check your blood pressure and urine. She may offer you a flu jab. After this appointment, you will have appointments every four to six weeks. Finally the midwife will also tell you about the anomaly scan, which takes place around weeks 18 – 20.

We’ve mentioned several irritating side effects in pregnancy but there are some positive ones too! You might find your hair and nails grow faster, and your skin looks radiant too.

After 16 weeks, lying – or exercising – on your back can sometimes cause low blood pressure and dizziness. It’s advised that you sleep on your left side, if possible, and use a pillow between your legs to take the pressure off your back. You can use ordinary pillows but you can buy special pregnancy pillows.

If you aren’t a first-time mum you may feel your baby’s movements for the first time around now. It’s unlikely that you’ll feel anything for a while yet if you’re a first-time mum though – this tends to be later because the movements are harder to recognise.

Your partner

It may be a little early yet but get ready to start feeling the baby move in your partner’s tummy – it won’t be long! Keep a close eye on your partner at this time – does she seem like she is coping with the pregnancy well? Encourage her to speak to her midwife if she’s having concerns.

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