Your Weekly Pregnancy Development: Week 16

Your baby's skeletal system and nervous systems start to coordinate movement

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Making faces and muscles

Week 16: Your baby's nervous system goes into action

During your 16th week of pregnancy, the muscles throughout your baby's body begin to work.

  • Your baby is probably 4 to 5 inches long — which is about the length of a large pear.
  • Your baby's skeletal system and nervous system connect enough to allow him to coordinate movement.
  • When you're 16 weeks pregnant, developed facial muscles make it possible for your baby to squint, frown, or make other facial expressions.
  • As back muscles strengthen, your baby is able to straighten his posture a little.
  • Your baby now has eyelashes.
  • By your 16th week of pregnancy, your baby's eyes move side to side and even perceive some light, although his eyelids are still sealed.
  • Your baby's bones build and strengthen with the help of your body's supply of calcium.
  • Your baby already might be having tiny hiccups, although at this stage, your baby is not large enough for you to feel them.
  • Having a girl? Within your baby's tiny ovaries, millions of eggs already are forming, giving her the chance one day to have babies of her own.








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Your Week 16 nutrition and health

Get your iron, whole grains, and more, every day

During these weeks of pregnancy, iron is especially important in the production of the red blood cells your body needs. In addition, iron is one of the most critical nutrients needed to help prevent complications for both mother and baby. Without enough iron, you might become anemic, which can make you tired and more susceptible to illnesses.

Create a new nighttime routine
During your 16th week of pregnancy, your uterus might be putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs. This might lead to leg cramps, especially at night. To prevent leg cramps, take a few minutes to stretch your legs before bed each night.
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Healthy eating reminders

As you continue on the path of your pregnancy, try to monitor your intake of these types of foods
Increase:

  • Whole grains, such as whole-wheat or multigrain breads
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, and spinach
  • Low-fat, nutrient-rich proteins, such as lean beef (round, chuck, sirloin, and tenderloin), low-fat yogurt, or water-packed tuna fish
    • - Be selective about meat and poultry. Other options include:
      • - Ground low-fat chicken, turkey, or beef
      • - Lean pork or lamb (tenderloin, loin chop, leg)
  • Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, or safflower oil

Decrease:

  • Saturated and trans fats found in fats that are solid at room temperature (such as butter, beef fat, and shortening)
  • Empty calories, such as those in sweetened beverages with added sugars, including soft drinks and presweetened teas

How to help prevent sinus congestion, a runny none, or nosebleeds
By your 16th week of pregnancy, you might have experienced nasal discomfort due to the excess hormones and extra blood in your system. If you are experiencing congestion, a runny nose, or nosebleeds, here are a few suggestions to help prevent them from reoccurring:

  • Try saline drops (with your doctor's approval).
  • Drink enough liquids to keep nasal passages moist.
  • Try a humidifier, particularly when you sleep.
  • Dab petroleum jelly around the edges of your nostrils to further moisten and protect the skin.
Keep learning about your baby's development every week
 
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