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16 Weeks Pregnant: Feeling the Baby Move

Pregnancy & Postpartum

Week 16 marks the time when some women begin to feel their babies moving. At first, those small movements may be hard to distinguish from tiny gas bubbles. Many women describe the sensation as butterflies fluttering or popcorn popping in their bellies.

Tip of the week:
Most women need about 300 extra calories per day during their second and third trimesters to nourish themselves and their babies. Rather than eating bigger meals throughout the day—which may inadvertently put you over your calorie count—consume what you normally would, plus a snack. Some examples of 300-calorie snacks include an apple with a tablespoon of nut butter, a cup of broth-based soup or a cheese stick with a handful of almonds.

But don't be alarmed if you don't feel anything yet. Some women won't experience these movements for another month or so, especially if your placenta is located at the front of your uterus or this is your first pregnancy. However, when you do eventually experience this milestone in pregnancy, it may change your whole mindset as the prospect of having a little one running around becomes much more real than it seemed before—and it's a good thing, too, because she's about to get a lot bigger.

Around this time, most babies experience a growth spurt. While she's currently only as big as a perfume bottle, she's likely to double in size during the next month or so.

With this major growth happening, your baby is going to need a lot more blood pumping through her veins, which is why her little heart produced about 25 quarts of blood during this time. One of the highlights of your prenatal appointments these days is hearing your little one's heart beating as it's hard at work.

In addition, she's probably growing toenails, and her eyes and ears are moving closer to their final positions, so she looks a little less like an alien and more like a baby.

If you've been wondering when your "pregnancy glow" is going to appear, now may be the time. Because of all the blood you and your baby are producing, you've got about 50 percent more of it coursing through your veins. This is what causes the glow, not to mention smooth skin for some.

Unfortunately, some women also experience acne due to the extra hormones in your body causing your oil glands to secrete more oil. If this is the case for you, stay away from acne medication but continue to use a daily fragrance-free face wash and oil-free moisturizer. Also, don't be alarmed if you notice dark spots on your face due to increased skin pigmentation. Because of this, your freckles, moles, nipples, areolas and labia may become darker as well.

Many moms-to-be also find that their hair and nails endure a growth spurt at this point in pregnancy. Great skin, hair and nails combined with alleviation in morning sickness and less breast tenderness may give you a boost in self-esteem and an overall sense of well-being.

To further this, be sure you're getting proper nutrition, because you can't just rely on your prenatal vitamins to help you obtain all the nutrients you need. Eat all the leafy green salads you like; they'll not only deliver essential vitamins and minerals but may also promote digestion. Additionally, try to snack on nutrient-dense foods like fruit—fresh or dried—and nuts. Click here for more pregnancy nutrition dos and don'ts.

Read more:
4 Tips for Building Your Baby's Brain Health During Pregnancy
Common Physical Changes During Pregnancy
Premature Birth: Managing Risk Factors

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