Brave New Motherhood
16 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & What to Know
FB image for 16 weeks pregnant
Header image 16 weeks pregnant

At 16 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 4 of your pregnancy, only 4 weeks from the halfway point! If you’re thinking about taking a babymoon, now might be a good time to start planning (be sure to let your doctor or midwife know about your travel plans).

Between 16 and 18 weeks, you may be offered a blood test for Alpha-Fetal Protein (AFP) to help screen for neural tube defects such as spina bifida. This test, however, is not as accurate as the anatomy ultrasound you may have in a few weeks. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the AFP is typically conducted to see if further testing needs to be done. For a refresher on the genetic testing you might be asked about at your next prenatal appointment, check out our pregnancy Week 15 post.   

Your baby at 16 weeks is the size of an avocado! Between now and 20 weeks, you may be able to feel your baby move for the first time. This early movement is called quickening. Don't worry if you can't sense any movements just yet; every pregnancy is different, whether it's your first pregnancy or fourth pregnancy.

16 weeks pregnant baby avocado size

Week 16 Pregnancy Symptoms

Skin Changes

It might be your turn to experience “pregnancy glow” thanks to increased blood flow and pregnancy hormones working in tandem to produce more oil and leave your skin looking flushed and dewy.

While many women report having good skin during pregnancy, some women also develop dark skin spots known as melasma. 

If you have melasma – also known as the “mask of pregnancy” – it usually goes away after delivery. Be sure to protect yourself when out in the sun by using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher since sun exposure can make your melasma more noticeable. Our Sensible Mineral Sunscreen is a 100% mineral sunscreen with SPF 32 and a blend of certified organic jojoba oil and natural vitamin E that will leave your skin feeling nourished and protected.

Another skin change some pregnant women report is acne flare-ups. You can help curb breakouts by washing your face regularly with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water.

Don't hesitate to ask your doctor or a dermatologist to recommend skincare products that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Sensible Mineral Sunscreen

Constipation

At this point in your pregnancy, your uterus is growing quickly and producing an increased amount of amniotic fluid. You might begin to experience constipation now that your uterus has started pressing against your intestines.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, 16 to 39% of people experience constipation at some point in their pregnancy.

Try increasing the amount of liquid you drink and loading up on fiber-rich foods to keep things moving. Many prenatal vitamins contain iron, which can be constipating, and you may be able to find some relief by switching brands. Talk to your doctor before taking any laxatives or supplements.

Lower Back Pain

Feeling more back pain than usual? As your baby grows, your center of gravity will shift forward. To compensate, you might lean back causing more strain on your lower-back muscles. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing good posture early on in your pregnancy is a great way to mitigate potential back pain.

You can also try to soothe sore muscles by taking a warm bath or shower, scheduling a prenatal massage, or trying some low-impact exercises like prenatal yoga

Our Soothing Maternity Belly & Back Support Band comes in an ultra-soft fabric with a no-dig Velcro closure and includes a gel pack for cool/warm therapy.

If your back pain is severe or persists for more than two weeks, talk to your healthcare provider.

Soothing Maternity Belly & Back Support Band

Baby on Board

At week 16 of pregnancy, your baby measures between 4 and 5 inches long and weighs 3 to 4 ounces. Your baby is preparing for a major growth spurt at this point in their fetal development – they’ll double in size over the next month!

Under Construction: Sensitivity to Light

Your baby's eyes are working even though they’re still closed. They’re making small, side-to-side movements and even perceiving light.

Under Construction: Hair Follicles

This week, your baby is developing all the hair follicles they’ll ever have. These hair follicles form in a pattern on your baby’s scalp that will remain for life, setting the stage for how their hair will grow. You can expect visible hair to show up around 22 weeks.

Baby on Board

Under Construction: Strong Heart

Did you know your baby’s heart can pump about 25 quarts of blood daily? That’s thanks to your baby’s circulatory system, which is up and running. The amount of blood your baby’s heart can circulate will continue to increase as they develop. 

Under Construction: Beginning to Hear

The tiny bones inside your baby's ears are in place. This means your baby will soon be able to hear your voice. Your baby's ability to hear inside the womb will develop by 18 weeks of pregnancy.

If your family has been feeling left out, especially now that you may begin to feel your baby move, encourage them to talk, sing, or read to your belly.

Organic Cotton Nursing & Sleep Bra

What to Wear This Week

Some pregnant women can struggle with their body image during pregnancy. It’s okay to take your time getting used to weight gain, a new shape, and a 16 weeks pregnant belly.

Treat yourself to something that makes you feel pretty. We love our Ribbed Bamboo Maternity Skirt. This everyday essential is easy, versatile, and stylish. Pair it with our Linen Relaxed Nursing & Maternity T-shirt to highlight your bump and flatter your curves.

Feeling overwhelmed by your ever-changing breasts? Our Organic Cotton Nursing & Sleep Bra might be the perfect addition to your maternity wardrobe. This sustainable sleep bra was made for around-the-clock comfort. It features supportive fabric with a hint of stretch and a comfortable pullover style that's perfect for sleeping or lounging.

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice that has been medically reviewed. Please reach out to your health care team with any questions.