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Fourth Month

Pregnancy: Month-by-Month Pregnancy Guide - Fourth Month (16 weeks)

» » Mother:

The fetus now measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches and weighs about 3.5 ounces. The top of your uterus should be felt about 3 inches below your belly button.  The baby's eyes can blink and the heart and blood vessels are fully formed.  The baby's fingers and toes should have fingerprints.

You will probably be noticeably pregnant now, as your waistline disappears and your muscles and ligaments begin to relax. Your appetite may increase as you begin to feel better, and rapid weight gain may follow. Eat carefully to ensure optimal nutrition for you and your growing baby. You may want to switch to looser clothing, but be sure your maternity bra is properly fitted and provides adequate support. At this stage of the pregnancy, you may notice changes in skin pigmentation on your face, breasts and arms, and your nipples and areola may darken.

Tests and Scans: At about 16 weeks, you may undergo a blood test to check the level of alpha-fetoprotein in your blood (called an AFP Screening), an indicator of Down's syndrome or spina bifida. The Triple Test, also known as the Bart's triple test, is similar to the AFP screening but measures other hormones in your blood, such as oestriol and human chorionic gonadotrophin. If you are over 35 or there is a history of chromosomal abnormalities in your family, you may be offered an amniocentesis test at about 16 weeks.

photo_of_16_weeks_fetus

» » Baby:
Your baby is about 6 inches long and is fully formed. He can hear your voice now. He is covered with fine hair called lanugo, and his skin is transparent. His tiny fingernails are now visible.