16 Weeks Pregnant
Fetal development in week 16
Over the past three weeks your magical-gro baby has managed to add on yet another 2 full inches of length (totaling about 4.5 inches) and now weighs a whopping 3.5 ounces!
Guess what? Your little lollipop is not so bobble-headed anymore!
Yep, your baby's head-to-body ratio is starting to even out, as the rest of their body - including their arms and legs (the better to kick you with!) plays catch-up.
One of the most anticipated moments in pregnancy is the "quickening" or the first time you undeniably feel your child move inside of you.
In some cultures a woman is not even considered pregnant until she experiences the quickening!
Women claim to feel it as early as 14 weeks. That said, other women laugh at the thought of that woman cherishing a fart that's rumbling in her small intestines.
In general, it's safe to say that after 18 - 20 weeks, all women will experience the quickening as a definitive non-fart poke or prod from within their womb.
Those sweet little flutters will evolve into pokes, prods, and even outright painful kicking as your break-dancing baby-cakes grow in size and seek ways to straighten out in their increasingly cramped quarters.
If you had that gender ultrasound right now, which most doctors recommend at about this time, you might see your little one sucking their thumb, not to mention the necessary signifiers to let you know whether you've got a wee lad or lassie.
And how's mom doing?
Okay, grab a seat, take a deep breath and focus. It's time for the serious-medical-issues discussion.Big Picture: The MMT helps 10% of women start to deal with the scary reality that something isn't normal about their pregnancy, while causing a crap-ton of undue stress for 90% of women.
Ultrasounds are a common low-risk procedure that's typically performed multiple times throughout your pregnancy.
Using a sonogram, a trained ultrasound technician measures and monitors your baby's growth and is able to detect physical defects and issues.
If everything is developing fine from the ultrasound, most medical practitioners automatically recommend the Multiple Marker Test (MMT aka Triple Screen Test).
This very common procedure checks your blood (not your baby's) for specific protein and hormone levels and any potential genetic issues. Before you start breathing in that strained fearful way or furrowing your brow in concern, you should know that even if you do get a positive test this hardly means your little trooper is in trouble.
In reality, only about 3 to 5 percent of women yield positive results, and of those women, only 10 percent actually have any sort of complication to report.
In other words, 90% of the women who get positive results from the MMT are getting false positives.
Big Picture: The MMT helps 10% of women start to deal with the scary reality that something isn't normal about their pregnancy, while causing a crap-ton of undue stress for 90% of the women.
Obviously, a positive test from the MMT will have the doctor recommending further testing, including the much-scarier very-invasive amniocentesis (sticking a massive needle into your womb) and more ultrasounds.
Remember: this is your pregnancy. You make the choices here. If you don't want to go through the undue stress of taking this test, you can opt out. That's your right.
Still, you should weigh the risks carefully. The blood test does identify neural tube defects and Down Syndrome when it's not being wrong (which it almost always is).
For women over the age of 35, doctors will highly recommend this test, as Down Syndrome is more common in babies born to women over the age of 35, and 10% more common in women over the age of 40.
To sum it up: the MMT is a simple blood test that has 90% false positives, which causes serious-but-undue stress in millions of young women, while it also informs a minority of women about the status of unexpected and serious issues.
Your pregnancy, your choice.