Welcome to Pregnancy Week 16.
The good news this week is that you may start feeling your baby's movements! This is called quickening and you experience light and fluttery movements. However, if you are pregnant for the first time, you may not notice the quickening until a later stage.
If you have not taken this test earlier, you may have to take a triple marker test or triple screen around this time. It is used to look for genetic conditions such as Downs Syndrome and neural tube defects such as spinal bifida. The test measures the levels of a protein called alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) produced by the fetus and the pregnancy hormones HCG and estriol in your blood. The test is sometimes called a quadruple screen. In this case, the level of an additional substance, called inhibin-A, is also measured. A nuchal scan may also be performed.
Since the marker tests are not conclusive evidence, your doctor may advise you an amniocentesis test if needed. In this test a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby is taken and tested. The flip side of this test is there may be a 1 in 100 chances of miscarriage. So this test is carried out only in cases where there is a high probability of the baby having this defect.
Your baby begins to react to any action on pressure applied on your stomach. He is very sensitive to light and fat starts forming under his skin. He can hold his head erect. The facial muscles are more developed and his expressions become more prominent. His heart continues pumping blood. Hair starts growing on his head. The umbilical cord is firmly attached to his stomach. It is difficult to identify the colour of his hair and eyeballs as they can change in a few months after birth. Eyebrows, eyelashes and toe nails are growing at this stage.