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16 weeks pregnant



Your baby's development at 16 weeks

By the time you’re 16 weeks pregnant, your baby may start flexing their arms and fingers. Around this time it's common for mums to experience food cravings. While the reason for this is uncertain, it is thought to be ok to indulge them, providing they are safe.

Hand movement in week 16 of pregnancy

Around now, your baby may start flexing their arms and fingers. Their hands may even be able to meet, form a fist, and hold each other1. As your baby’s nervous system continues to develop, their range of movements will also progress1.

“Their hands may even be able to meet, form a fist, and hold each other.”

By week 16 of pregnancy your baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes are also starting to grow, and the eyes themselves can make small movements from side to side2. While they’re beginning to make facial expressions, they can’t control them yet1.

"Your baby’s development at 16 weeks"

Strange food cravings

Be it iceberg lettuce and cold boiled potatoes, or ice cream with gherkins, unusual food cravings aren’t uncommon in week 16 of pregnancy. Some believe they are due to hormonal changes, or a need for specific nutrients3. However, despite much research and the experience of millions of pregnant women, there’s no scientific evidence to support these theories.

As long as what you crave isn’t harmful, you can go ahead and eat it – in moderation. Just try to maintain your healthy, balanced diet too.

“As long as what you crave isn’t harmful, you can eat it in moderation.”

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Chalk and cheese: pica cravings

Some women suffer from pica during their pregnancy, which is the name given to cravings for non-nutritious things like plaster, clay and chalk. There are some theories that pica can indicate a deficiency in a certain mineral, but regardless of their cause, pica cravings should not be indulged. If you think you may be experiencing pica cravings, speak to your midwife.

Read more about pregnancy cravings in our article.

Feeling the squeeze?

It will soon be time to shop for maternity clothes. Until then, here's a tip: If you're struggling to fasten your jeans, thread a hair band through the button hole, then hook both ends over the button. It should keep your waistband together but make sitting down a little more comfortable.

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1. NHS UK. You and your baby at 13-16 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: [Accessed July 2014]

2. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009.

3. Gandy J (ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. p. 90.

Last reviewed: 14th July 2016

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