Usually around 16 weeks, you will have a couple of prenatal testing
options made available to you. Once of the most common is the
ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to see your baby. It's
painless, although you may be asked to have a full bladder, which can
be a bit uncomfortable.
You will lie on a table, and your stomach will be lubricated to help
the scanner move across it. Ultrasounds can be used to determin fetal
age, many abnormalities of the head and spine, the delveloment of the
major organs, such as heart, kidneys, and stomach. It can also
determine twins, the placement of the placenta and sometimes, the
baby's sex. If you don't want to know, be sure to tell your ultrasound
technichian beforehand. Remember, it's not a guarantee, so, you may not
want to paint the nursery based on it.
Alphafetoprotein testing (AFP) is another option. This test measures the
amount of AFP present in your blood. It is usually done between 16 - 18
weeks. It can detect such problems as spina bifida, anencephaly and
possibly Down's Syndrome. If the test comes back as abnormal, you can
have it confirmed with another AFP test or it's possible your provide may
recommend you have amniocentesis. Risks of AFP are small. If you have
concerns, discuss them with your provider.
Amniocentesis, a test done with a sample of your amniotic fluid withdrawal
by syringe, may also be recommended if you are over 35. Women over 35 are
thought to have higher risks associated with many chromosomal problems.
There are more risks to amnio than other prenatal testing. Some of these
include: trauma to the baby, placenta or umbilical cord; infection, or
premature labor. Your provider should cover all these when you if an
amnio is recommended.
SYMPTOMS YOU MAY EXPERIENCE
Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola
Indigestion or heartburn
Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)
This may be the week you feel your baby move. This is
sometimes called "quickening" It's been described as a
"flutter" or "butterflies". Don't be too worried if you
don't feel it yet. It may be as late as your 20th week
before you feel those first little flutters. The lanugo
hair is present, and covers your baby's head and body.
Your baby is still growing and this week measures about
4.5 inches long, and weighs almost 3 ounces!
Disclaimer - Each pregnancy, expectant mother, and unborn child is different. Your pregnancy may not progress the same as the information found here. The information here is based on the average pregnancy. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice your may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, we advise you to contact your doctor.