Your pregnancy: 16 weeks

Your baby's fingernails are well developed now and she's able to move her arms and legs. In fact, you may be able to feel her move in the next few weeks.

Felt doughnut used to show how big baby is at 16 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 16 weeks

At 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a doughnut. She is just over 11 centimetres (4.5 inches) long and weighs about 3.5 ounces (100 grams). She is moving around and making her first voluntary movements—she might even be sucking her thumb in there. Remarkably, if you’re having a girl, her teeny tiny ovaries are starting to develop hundreds of thousands of her own eggs now.


The umbilical cord and placenta have also matured and are working hard to deliver the blood and nutrients that your growing baby needs and to filter out waste. In fact, your placenta is now almost as big as your baby!

16 weeks pregnant symptoms

You might look really pregnant by 16 weeks! Your belly will “pop” sometime in the second trimester. This is when you will start to look decidedly pregnant (so prepare some go-to comeback lines for random belly size comments from strangers now). Even though your baby has been moving around for a while, she is now big enough that you might feel her kick this week! This happens earlier for women with slighter builds and moms in their second pregnancy, partially because you might mistake the feeling of baby’s first flutters for gas or stomach rumbles from hunger if you’re a first-time mom. Your baby sleeps almost all the time (by the end of the pregnancy, she’ll be awake up to 95 percent of the day), so she won’t move all the time and it’s OK if you don’t feel her for a while. The location of the placenta can also insulate her kicks and movements. Your doctor or midwife won’t prompt you to officially start counting kicks until you’re about 28 weeks along.

Battling lower back pain
Back pain is incredibly common at all stages of life and even more so during pregnancy. Your ligaments are relaxing, and you have extra weight on your belly and breasts. Meanwhile, the muscles in your abdomen are separating to accommodate your growing uterus, which means that they’re no longer knitting together strongly to lengthen the lower back. This lower back compression translates to soreness and pain. To counter this, focus on having good posture, wearing low-heeled shoes, sleeping on your side and staying active. If the pain persists, acupuncture and prenatal massage can offer relief.

What’s on your mind this week?

Feeling clumsy
Feel like a klutz lately? It’s not in your head; your growing belly is shifting your centre of gravity, making you more apt to lose your footing. You’re also tired from all those nighttime wakeup calls, and not being able to see your feet doesn’t help either. Research has found that pregnant women are as likely to take a tumble as 70-year-olds, so now’s the time to act like one: Wear flat shoes with good grips, use the handrail when going down stairs, and tread carefully.

Just for kicks

Do you have a strong-willed Taurus on the way? Or a playful and adventurous Sagittarius? If you check your horoscope on the daily (or even if you think astrology is ridiculous), you can use your baby’s due date to start speculating about what the zodiac has to say about his future personality.

Capricorn

Baby names

Boy or girl? Do you have lists for either gender ready to go? We’ve got the top 25 girls’ names here and the most popular boy names here. Or you can always narrow down your options by choosing a decidedly unisex baby name

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 16

Embrace stretchy pants
If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to move from leaving the top button of your jeans undone to buying proper maternity clothes. (Trust us: Stretch-top jeans are the secret to happiness.) Add maternity leggings, longer tops and stretchy dresses and you’re good to go. If this feels like too much of an expense, cut down on costs by borrowing from friends and family or buying used maternity clothes through consignment stores and Facebook buy-and-sell groups. 

Read up on life with baby
It’s easy to be focused on pregnancy and delivery—after all, they’re big events! But many moms say that they wish they’d learned a bit more about what was going to happen after they had the baby. Brush up on your baby knowledge by adding a few books that cover baby care to the pile on your bedside table this week. What to Expect: The First Year, The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding are bestsellers that will help you navigate the newborn phase. You can also check out our baby care videos here.

Research your maternity-leave benefits
While we’re on the topic of thinking about life with baby, now might be a good time to look into your maternity-leave benefits. If you’ve chosen a 12-month mat leave and worked enough hours to qualify for government employment insurance, you’ll qualify to receive up to 55 percent of your average earnings, up to $51,300 for the year. That works out to about $543 a week for a year in payments every two weeks. And you might also qualify for the Employment Insurance Family Supplement or Canada Child Benefit. Many workplaces also offer a “top-up” for the first few months—your human resources department can walk you through the details. Look into exactly what you and your partner qualify for and, if you’re feeling ambitious, make a budget for that first year, too.

Read more:
Paternity leave: What new dads need to know
Mat-leave survival: How do you plan a parental leave when you’re self-employed?
Next up: 17 weeks pregnant

 

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