Your baby is the size of an apple

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

At 16 weeks pregnant, you may now have a little kickboxer inside your bump, as your foetus’s arm and leg muscles start to flex in a coordinated way.

Your foetus could also be doing some shadow boxing in there, as the hands gain the ability to clench into little fists. Those tiny hands can even grip onto each other now.

Even though you may not feel any kicks (or punches!) for several weeks yet, your little one is certainly putting in the training!

What else is new now that you’re 16 weeks pregnant? Your foetus has the ability to grimace as the facial muscles are now starting to be able to move. There isn’t any control over these muscle movements yet, so any smiles or frowns are just random at the moment.


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The Size of the Foetus at 16 Weeks Pregnant

Now that you’re 16 weeks pregnant, your foetus is about the size of an apple, measuring close to 11.6 centimetres crown to rump, and weighing in at around 100 grams.

It can be hard to imagine what your baby looks like, nestled inside the amniotic sac in your uterus. Take a look at the illustration below to give you a little glimpse.

baby at 16 weeks pregnant

Mum's Body at 16 Weeks Pregnant

If you’ve been troubled by some of the more unpleasant early pregnancy symptoms, you might find being pregnant gradually starts to get a bit more fun around this time!

Some of the bothersome complaints of early pregnancy like fatigue and morning sickness may have disappeared, and you’re likely to have more energy.

At 16 weeks pregnant, many mums-to-be notice that they’ve put on a little weight. Some of the weight gain you’ll experience during your pregnancy is due to the extra weight of the foetus growing in your uterus, as well as the placenta and the amniotic fluid that are there to protect and nourish your little one. Besides this, your own body may also start to store extra fat for making breast milk.

Maintaining a healthy weight for your height lowers the risk of problems during your pregnancy, so do your best to keep any cravings for ice-cream under control. Dieting is not recommended during pregnancy, unless prescribed by your doctor due to a specific health condition. Keep in mind that eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much, even if you’re pregnant with twins. See what a balanced and healthy diet looks like when you’re pregnant.

Learn more about how to gain a healthy amount of weight while you’re pregnant and, of you have any questions, ask your midwife or doctor for personalised advice.

At 16 weeks pregnant your growing bump might start making it harder to get comfortable in bed. Experts believe that sleeping on your side is the safest position, as lying on your back for prolonged periods can cause the uterus to press down on veins, which might interfere with the blood flow to your heart, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. As your bump gets bigger, try supporting it with pillows and maybe putting a cushion or pillow between your knees to make yourself more comfortable. Read more on how to get a better night’s sleep while you’re pregnant.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing at 16 weeks pregnant:

  • Leg cramps. Sudden sharp pains, usually in your calf muscles or feet can be common when you're pregnant. Nobody really knows why this happens in pregnancy, but cramp does tend to occur most frequently at night. Exercises that involve stretching and rotating your feet can help reduce the likelihood of cramp. If it strikes, try pulling your toes up hard towards your ankle, or rubbing the affected muscle vigorously.

  • Nosebleeds. These can be quite common during pregnancy, in response to hormonal changes. They can last anything from a few seconds to more than 10 minutes. Nosebleeds can be scary if you haven't had them before, but aren't considered dangerous as long as you don't lose too much blood. To stop a nosebleed, sit down and pinch the soft part of your nose above the nostrils, maintaining the pressure for 10-15 minutes while breathing through your mouth. Lean forwards to stop the blood flowing back down your throat. If the bleeding won't stop, call your midwife or GP immediately.

  • Back pain. Backache or back pain can be very common during pregnancy, especially in the early stages, as the ligaments of your body start to soften and stretch in early preparation for you giving birth. Later, as your bump grows, your centre of gravity will shift forwards. When you lean back to compensate for this, it can also put extra strain on your back muscles. Taking warm baths or showers can help soothe aching muscles. It can also help prevent or reduce back pain if you try to maintain good posture and wear comfortable, flat-soled shoes. Gentle exercise is also a great way of helping your body cope better with the physical stresses of pregnancy and childbirth. Ask your midwife what kinds of exercises and stretches are best for you to do if you're getting these kinds of aches and pains regularly.

  • Feeling faint. Dizzy spells aren't unusual during pregnancy. Again, this is usually down to your hormones. Standing up or getting out of the bath too quickly can make you feel faint, but it can happen at other times too. Getting up slowly can reduce the chance of a dizzy spell, but you could also feel faint while already standing up or lying on your back. If you feel faint when standing, quickly find somewhere to sit down until it passes. If it happens when you lying on your back, turn onto your side. If these dizzy spells seem to get worse over time or happen more often, chat with your midwife or doctor.

  • Aches and pains. Read more about the common aches and pains of pregnancy so you're more familiar with some of what may be coming in the coming months.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • If your bump is getting much bigger now, why not treat yourself to some maternity clothes? These clothes are designed to help you feel more comfortable as your figure changes, often without even having to compromise on fashion and style! You might also need more than one change of bra size as your breasts continue expanding. You may find a special maternity or soft-cup bra more comfortable, but it doesn't matter what type of bra you wear as long as it fits properly and provides adequate support. You might also like to wear a comfy bra to bed if you need extra support while sleeping.

  • Now that you're 16 weeks pregnant, you probably have an appointment with a midwife coming up. During this session you might be able to hear your little one's heartbeat for the first time. You might also get the results of any blood tests you had done at your initial ‘booking' appointment, if you haven't received them already. If you test positive for an infectious disease, your midwife or doctor will advise you on how to stay healthy and cut down the risk of passing the infection on to your foetus.

  • If this is your second pregnancy, it's worth considering how things might be a little different this time. Read more about how pregnancy symptoms can be different during a second pregnancy.

  • As you race toward the mid-way point of your pregnancy, you might like to start making a list of baby names that you like. There are so many cute names out there, but it can be hard to know where to start. Use our Baby Name Generator to browse names by starting letter, theme and gender.

  • You still have plenty of time, but for a little fun – with absolutely no pressure – take our How Prepared Are You for Your Baby’s Arrival quiz.

16 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • What optional screening tests are available, and what are the risks and benefits of taking them?

  • How's your weight gain at 16 weeks pregnant? Is there anything more you can do to stay on the right track?

  • Is it safe for you to go on a babymoon in the next couple of months? Is there anything you should take into account when it comes to the destination you're considering traveling to?

16 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • Start thinking about what childcare options will be available to you after your baby is born. Do you plan to be a stay-at-home parent, or go back to work relatively soon? It’s worth reading up on how much maternity leave you’re entitled to if you’re working, and whether your partner is eligible for paternity leave. Do you have a parent who can help with caring for your little one? Do you have any references for a great babysitter? Whatever your individual circumstances, it’s never too soon to start researching what services and support are available in your local area.

  • You may qualify to receive healthy start vouchers, which are redeemable for milk and other basic, fresh foods in local shops. Ask your midwife for more information.

  • If you haven’t been to the dentist recently, schedule a check-up.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.