Your baby is moving around now, although you may or may not be able to feel it. Whether or not you feel that flutter, this week is a great time to enroll in a prenatal course, which can help you and your significant other prepare for childbirth and the rest of your pregnancy.
Your Baby's Growth and Development
By week 16 of your pregnancy, your baby measures approximately four and a half inches from crown to rump, according to the Mayo Clinic. He or she weighs about five ounces.
Your little one can now make sucking movements with his or her mouth. This is an important skill after birth, when he or she will need to breastfeed or suck milk from a bottle. In addition, your baby is also beginning to make strong, coordinated movements with its arms and legs.
Your Changing Body
Since your baby has become really active by the 16th week of your pregnancy, you may notice a slight fluttering in your belly. According to WebMD, some women experience "quickening," or the feeling of the baby's movement, around week 16. However, don't worry if you aren't feeling anything yet. Quickening may not occur until as late as the 20th week of your pregnancy. First-time mothers and/or overweight women often must wait slightly longer to feel their babies move. It will also be some weeks before you can share the joy of a moving baby with the dad-to-be, since it takes longer to feel the movement from the outside.
If you're worried that you don't feel the baby yet or you have any other pregnancy-related concerns, talk to your healthcare provider.
More to Know About Week 16 of Your Pregnancy
By week 16, you may be thinking about enrolling in a prenatal education class. These courses offer expectant mothers an opportunity to learn more about the miracle of childbirth, study techniques that can provide drug-free pain relief during labor, and socialize with other pregnant women. Additionally, prenatal classes can provide a chance for the expectant father to become more involved in childbirth process.
If you're considering a prenatal class, you'll need to decide how much information you want. Some classes cover topics such as nutrition, exercise, fetal development, and sex during pregnancy. Others focus exclusively on preparing you for the actual labor experience. There are classes for first-time mothers, as well as "refresher courses" for women experiencing subsequent pregnancies. Prenatal classes are offered by hospitals as well as private instructors and individual healthcare providers. Most classes are designed to accommodate between five and ten couples.
While the Lamaze approach to childbirth education is the most popular in the United States, there are many other options available. If you live in a larger metropolitan area, you may be able to find prenatal classes in the Bradley method, Alexander technique, Odent approach, active birth, hypnobirthing, or the Read method. You may want to ask your doctor or acquaintances who have recently given birth for course recommendations.
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Don't worry if you can't yet feel the flutter of your little one moving around. In the weeks to come, that light fluttering will turn into strong kicking that you simply can't miss.