Your Pregnancy: Week 16

Pregnancy week by week: You are 16 weeks pregnant


 

Your Body

Stretch marks may be visible on your breasts, thighs, hips, lower back and buttocks. The streaks vary in shade, depending on the mother’s skin colour. Though they are often hereditary, these scars from torn skin in the dermis — the middle layer — are caused by pregnancy weight gain and hormones and stretching skin. Keeping skin hydrated and supple with moisturizers like Bio Oil won’t prevent stretch marks but may diminish their appearance. Consider these markings a badge of honour for carrying a baby for nine months!

Your growing baby and expanding uterus make it tricky for the pelvic floor, lower stomach and back muscles to stabilize and shift pelvis and back joints. Your body will naturally adjust your posture to compensate for the surplus weight out front — your lower back becomes more arched and the lower spine pulls forward so you lean back slightly when you walk. No wonder you have backache and joint pain! Wear comfy shoes, exercise, don’t do any heavy lifting, change your sitting and standing postures, kneel on all fours to relieve pressure and do pelvic tilt exercises.

Your placenta has reached maturity so you can breathe a sigh of relief; the chance of miscarriage has dropped dramatically. Its purpose is fourfold: secrete hormones, eliminate waste, feed nourishment and transport respiratory gases to the fetus through the umbilical cord. Up until now in your pregnancy, your body carried out those tasks. All that multitasking took a toll on you and was the reason you felt queasy and drained for months.

Baby’s Word

Measured from crown to backside, baby is 10 to 11 cm (3.9 – 4.3 in.) and weighs (99 g 0.22 lb.); roughly the size of an avocado. Her eyelashes are growing, and her fingers, knuckles and palms are lined with creases. The umbilical cord, baby’s life-support system, has travelled south and is connected to her abdomen. Fully grown, it is comprised of three blood vessels — a single vein and two arteries — surrounded and protected by a thick, gelatin-like tissue, Wharton’s jelly. This slippery coating prevents the cord from being compressed as it coils freely around baby in your womb.

Fun Fact

Baby plays with her first toy, the umbilical cord, by grabbing and pulling it. Don’t fret, she can’t damage the cord.

Week 15     Week 17

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