Mother and Baby

16 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect

Section: Week by Week
16 weeks pregnant bump belly and symptoms

At sixteen weeks pregnant, you should have the beginnings of a baby bump and should notice your body starting to change. Here’s everything that’s happening to your baby, your body and any symptoms you might expect at 16 weeks pregnant.

How big is my baby at sixteen weeks?

Your baby is now about 11.6 cm long, the size of an avocado and weighs about three to four ounces – aren't they growing quick! 

What’s my baby doing at sixteen weeks pregnant?

  • starting to make facial expressions
  • can hear things such as voices and music
  • their heart is pumping 28 litres of blood a day
  • hairlines start appearing
  • baby can hold their head more steadily

The muscles in your baby’s face can now move, so this week they’ll start making facial expressions, although they don't really have any control over them just yet.

Your foetus might be looking more like a baby, but they've still got some way to go. At the moment, they've not got any baby fat yet and their skin is still translucent. Do not fear, both of these will change in a few weeks’ time.

As we mentioned last week, by this time in your pregnancy, your baby can hear your voice, the sounds of your digestive system (don’t worry, they finds them reassuring) and the music you play them. In fact, studies have shown babies who hear a song in the womb recognise it when it’s played to them once they’ve been born.

What is my body doing at sixteen weeks pregnant?

With the arrival of a baby bump, it’s very normal to struggle with the weight gain that comes with pregnancy but aim for around four pounds a month to keep your body and baby healthy. Now is the time to invest in a pregnancy wardrobe you feel good in!

11 common symptoms to look out for at 16 weeks pregnant:

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1) Nose bleeds

The mucous membranes in your nose also start to swell. This can leave you feeling pretty congested and even give you the odd nosebleed or two. If you’re really uncomfortable, ask your GP about pregnancy-safe nasal sprays, or try nasal strips.
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2) Dark or pigmented skin

Pregnancy hormones can also increase pigmentation on your skin, which means you may notice certain areas of your body looking darker. Common examples of this are the areola around your nipple, and moles, freckles and birthmarks darkening. In most cases, pigmentation will disappear after birth, so isn’t anything to worry about.
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3) Glowing skin

You might get some pigmentation, but now is the time you might start noticing that infamous pregnancy glow. Generally, pregnancy glow is used to describe the shiny, vibrant and refreshed looking skin some women have while pregnant. Greater blood volume brings more blood to vessels, resulting in skin that looks flushed. Changes in hormone levels might also cause the skin glands on the face to secrete more oil which can make skin look slightly shinier.
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4) Vaginal discharge

This has been a symptom on and off for several weeks now. This is very normal, and super beneficial to your body as it protects the birth canal from infection. However, it might not be comfortable, so invest in some light panty liners.
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5) Pregnancy brain

Another symptom that you always hear mentioned! It is unclear why you get a foggy feeling or forgetfulness during pregnancy. It might be a mixture of tiredness, hormonal changes or the simple fact you have a lot going on!
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6) Varicose veins

 Another side effect you might not be too thrilled with, minimise the appearance of these by keeping your feet up and keeping that weight gain gradual as not to put too much pressure on your circulatory system.
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7) Constipation

Another repeat offender. Those pregnancy hormones and your expanding uterus putting pressure on your bowel can slow things down. Drink more water to try and keep things moving naturally.
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8) Backache

An aching back is a common side effect of your changing hormones. It may also be related to your breasts growing in size throughout pregnancy. Try low impact exercise and make sure to stretch regularly.
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9) Breast growth

Some mums-to-be might be pretty pleased with this side effect, but if you've already got a large chest it could prove irritating. Don’t worry, once you’ve given birth and if you choose to breastfeed, your boobs should return to their pre-pregnancy size (there’s no need to throw out your favourite bra just yet!).
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10) Bleeding gums

90% of pregnant women experience gum issues, so rest assured you are not alone, despite this being a rather unspoken side effect of pregnancy. Find ways to look after your teeth while you're pregnant here.
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11) Dry, itchy, sensitive eyes

This is a new symptom. Once again, it is down to those pesky hormones. You could try eyebaths or over-the-counter eye drops. Make sure to consult your doctor before choosing any.

What you should be doing this week:

Bra shopping! As your bump gets bigger, do not forget your boobs. Thanks to those pregnancy hormones, your breasts could go up a few cup sizes and they’ll need adequate support. The right support will also stop droopiness later on, so if you ever needed the excuse to go bra shopping, it’s this! You’ll need to get properly measured and invest in comfy, breathable, non-wired bras – under wiring should be avoided as it can dig in and damage tender breast tissue.

Your week 16 FAQ’s answered:

Is there an ultrasound scan at 16 weeks?

There is not a scan at 16 weeks pregnant. There should, however, be an antenatal appointment. At this appointment, your midwife or GP will give you information about your 20-week ultrasound anomaly scan. At this point, according to the NHS, your healthcare professional will also:

  • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
  • consider an iron supplement if you're anaemic

What are the symptoms I’m having a boy?

There are plenty of old wives’ tales on predicting whether you’re having a boy or a girl. Of course, none of these predictions are 100% accurate. The only way to truly tell is at your 20-week scan. Whilst we’re guessing though, why not try these?

Chinese Gender Predictor 

Quiz: Am I having a boy or a girl? 

How old is my baby at 16 weeks?

Pregnancy math can be difficult, at 16 weeks, your baby is 14 weeks old this week. Here’s our guide on how to count your pregnancy in weeks and months. 

What should my belly look like at 16 weeks?

By this stage, most women have started to show, yet this isn’t always the case and depends on the size of you and your baby.

Take me back to week 15

Take me to week 17

What did you notice at sixteen weeks pregnant? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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