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Pregnancy Calendar, Week 16

 
 
 
 
 
How big is your baby?
This week your baby measures 11.6cm (4.57 inches) and weighs in at around 100g (3.53 ounces). Your baby's development continues this week to be fast, and this will lead to you noticing an increase in weight gain.
 
 
Your baby's development
You may be able to feel your baby move now! Many women describe this as the feeling of a gas bubble moving about, other describe it as pop corn popping. If you can't feel your baby move, there is no need to panic as you should start feeling it move soon, usually between 16-24 weeks.
 
By now your baby's head will be covered with lanugo. Fingernails are well formed and your babys toenails will also begin to grow this week. Your baby's body will also begin to grow faster than the head now and his/her body will become more in proportion to a normal body ratio.
 
Your babys head and neck muscles continue to get stronger and stronger, and this results in your baby's head being more erect in a straight line.
 
Alpha Protein Testing is usually carried out between weeks 16 and 18. The timing of this test is very important and must be correlated to your gestational age and your weight, otherwise the results may not be accurate.
 
An elevated level of alpha protein may indicate problems with your baby, such as spina bifida, (spinal cord problem), or anecephaly, (central nervous system defect). Some researchers have found a direct association between alpha protein and Down Syndrome.
 
You may also have an amniocentesis test performed between weeks 16 and 18 if your health care provider has offered or suggested this to you. This is done by passing a needle through the abdominal wall into the uterus and drawing amniotic fluid, generally about 30ml. An amniocentesis test will identify if your baby has one of the following complications:
 
  • Chromosomal problems
  • Fetal sex complications
  • Skeletal diseases
  • Fetal Infections
  • Hematologic (blood) diseases
  • Inborn metabolism complications
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your body
Between weeks 16 and 18 of pregnancy, your health care provider may offer you the maternal blood screening test, also known as a "triple marker" test or "triple screen," which measures the levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the fetus, and the pregnancy hormones hCG and estriol in the mother's blood.
 
The test is sometimes called a quadruple screen when the level of an additional substance, called inhibin-A, is also measured. The results of these tests can tell moms whether their babies are at risk for (not whether they have) neural tube defects such as spina bifida or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
 
Out of every 1,000 women who take these tests, about 50 will have abnormal results, but only one or two women will actually have babies with a problem. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and advantages of these tests.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



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