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Pregnancy at week 16

5-minute read

Your baby

Your baby is growing quickly and are about to have a growth spurt. They will roughly double in size over the next month.

Your baby's eyes are no longer at the side of their head and their ears are in the right place. All of their joints are working and they can even wriggle their tiny fingers and toes.

Their umbilical cord is now fully formed, with 2 arteries and 1 vein. Your baby may grip hold of it sometimes. They can flex their muscles and limbs and make expressions with their face, although they can't control them just yet.

Your body

Every pregnancy will develop at its own pace, some woman will show more of a bump than others — be sure to embrace your journey no matter how it's unfolding.

At this stage you may feel your baby moving for the first time, especially if this isn't your first pregnancy. But don't worry if you can't feel anything yet — many women won't notice their baby's movements for a few more weeks. If you haven't felt your baby move by 24 weeks, you should contact your doctor or midwife.

Increases in your blood volume and pregnancy hormones might be causing you some discomfort. You might notice varicose veins or get cramps in your legs. Exercising and stretching can help to relieve this.

During pregnancy, changes to your hormones cause the ligaments in your body to relax and stretch. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can make backache more common during pregnancy. Make sure you stand straight and bend and lift correctly. Doing simple stretches and gently daily exercises can also help relieve back ache.

Things to remember

Many women find their libido (sex drive) increases during pregnancy, although not all - so don't be worried if this isn't you! The reason for this is thought to be a result of your hormones and extra blood flow to your vulva. Remember there are many ways to experience love and intimacy with your partner. It's important that you talk honestly and communicate about how you are feeling, including yours and your partners sexual needs.

As long as your pregnancy is stable and you've had no complications, there is no reason why you need to stop having sex, unless your doctor or midwife has told you not to. It won't harm your baby.

Your doctor may offer you further screening or diagnostic tests at this time, including a blood test and ultrasound (maternal serum screening) or amniocentesis.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 17 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

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