Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pregnancy Week 16

In your prenatal visit during this second trimester, you will be asked to do several tests by your practitioner in order to make sure that everything is going fine and that your baby has no signs of any form of chromosomal abnormalities. Some of the tests that you may have to take include: Ultrasound, Triple screen test, Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP), and Amniocentesis. 

The triple screen test is a blood screening test that will examine three elements in your body: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – a type of protein formed in your fetus, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) – a hormone formed in your placenta, and estriol – an estrogen produced by both placenta and fetus. 

The alpha-fetoprotein test, also known as Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (MSAFP), is a screening test that looks at the level of AFP in your blood during pregnancy. This will often be carried out with the triple screen test to examine whether you will need further diagnostic testing.

Amniocentesis is a diagnostic test that will be recommended to you by your practitioner if they find any sort of abnormality in the result from your triple screen test. 

Your Body
The biggest physical change you will notice is the size of your breasts. The blood flow through your breasts will start to increase causing the veins to show, and your milk glands will start producing the milk by now. Your waistline will continue to expand and stretch, so you will feel the additional weight in your abdomen or womb. Also, as you will have gained around five to ten pounds at this stage, so you are likely to experience back pain pretty soon.

As your pregnancy progresses, you may notice the secretion of white discharge in your vagina. This is named as leukorrhea and is common among pregnant women. During the last two trimesters of your pregnancy, your needs for carbohydrate will increase gradually, especially as you will require more energy during this phase of your pregnancy. Taking foods that are rich in carbohydrate content, like fiber, starches and sugar can be of help.

Once you reach week 16 of your pregnancy, it is not advisable to sleep off your back. Therefore, use pillows to support your body and always sleep on your side from now on.

Your Baby
Your baby’s facial muscles are developing now, and she is starting to make all different sorts of facial expressions. By now, your baby’s genitals would have grown fuller and hence your doctor will be able to identify whether you are having a boy or a girl at the time of the sonogram. Between the weeks of 16 and 20, you will be able to feel the movement of your baby inside your tummy.  

Most of the fundamental elements of your baby’s lungs would have formed by now, expect for those that are responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Therefore, she will not be able to breathe on her own yet. It is during this week when a process called myelinization starts in your baby. During this process, your baby’s nerves will be covered or coated with a fatty substance known as myelin, which speeds up the transmission of cells and also performs nerve insulation to make sure that messages are not interrupted. 

Do not make yourself exposed to toxins. This can be done by following simple measures like storing your foods in glass containers rather than using plastic ones, drinking from Styrofoam cups, preventing the usage of cookware that consists of plastic handles, as these can emit toxic fumes when they melt due to the heat, etc. Cheese is something you can eat quite a bit during pregnancy because it comprises of several milk nutrients in concentrated form. The level and amount of protein you would be able to gain from cheese is the same amount you would be getting from meat, at a much lesser cost. 

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