16 Week Ultrasound


16 week ultrasound is the time to determine the size, structure and any pathological lesions on the foetus. In this post, you are going to know more about the 16 weeks ultrasound, the noticeable features and the importance of undergoing an ultrasound.

Ultrasound is used to create  images of internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and internal organs to measure some characteristics like distances and velocities and sometimes to generate an informative audible sound during diagnosis. Its aimed at finding a source of disease or to eliminate pathology.           

An ultrasound scan is also seen as a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body which is known as sonography. The usage of ultrasound to produce visual images for medicine is called medical ultrasonography or simply sonography. The practice of examining pregnant women using ultrasound is called obstetric ultrasonography, and was an early development of clinical ultrasonography.

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An ultrasound allows a doctor to diagnose problems with organs, vessels, and tissues without making an ultrasound is the preferred method for viewing a developing fetus during pregnancy because it uses no radiation. Ultrasound is performed during pregnancy because the  scans can provide an expectant mother with the first view of her unborn child. 

What is 16 Week Ultrasound

During 16 week ultrasound you are on week 16 of your  pregnancy, the tiny baby will not be tiny anymore and will  definitely look like a human baby. By week 16  you’re 4 months in and only have 5 more months to go. The baby will no longer looks like a tadpole instead the baby will have defined facial features like arms, and legs, and its hair will start growing very soon and the baby will already have all vital systems in place but the organs will  need to mature and be ready  function.     

The  baby is now 4.7 in (12cm) long and weighs about 3.5oz (100g). In the next 3 weeks the baby will be double the size and so will your belly. During this period the baby’s size is comparable to an avocado or an orange.     

Noticeable Features in 16 Week Ultrasound in Pregnant Woman

1. The baby is now doubling up in size and weight.

2. The baby’s tiny heart is now pumping about 6.6 gal (25 l) of blood daily and the  quantity will  keep increasing.

3. At week 16 in the womb, the baby has complete mobility in limbs and joints and will make  purposeful movements often.

4. The baby’s reflexes will also be developing, and  might even be sucking their thumb by now, they can see now  though their eyelids are still shut but can still make side-to-side eye movements and will turn away from light.

5. Their tiny ears which starts from the neck would have almost reach their final position. At this point the  baby isn’t just able to hear but can also recognize his mother’s voice and even after birth they can even remember the songs they listen to inside the belly.

6. Also, the baby’s head has almost risen and it’s little body will begin to straighten, their facial muscles will also be getting stronger, and development of facial expressions will begin, yawning is also possible inside the womb.

7. At week 16 fetal development also leads to the  baby looking cuter, the baby’s skin is still translucent without much baby fat. So the  little one looks very long-limbed and thin.

8. Taste buds are also developing for your 16 weeks pregnant baby, and their nails are beginning to sprout. 

Importance of 16 Week Ultrasound

1. It helps mothers understand their baby’s growth and the sonographer can help measure certain parts of the baby’s body to ascertain it for any concerns.

2. 16 week ultrasound helps determine the size, structure and any pathological lesions on the fetus.

3. Ultrasound helps present a visual representation of the baby and help prepare for routine and emergency prenatal care.

4. It can help understand if your baby is healthy and safe and if there are any abnormalities.

5. Genetic issues can be detected like Down Syndrome or any other chromosomal defects or have any other neural tube defect during 16 week ultrasound

6. The 16 week ultrasound can determine the heartbeat and health of the heart and other organs. It can help determine if there is any heart defect as well.

How Long Does 16 Week Ultrasound Last

An ultrasound can last for about 15 and 45 minutes. Before an ultrasound, a patient is adviced to drink lots of water or fluids staying away from solid food. Before you begin the test, make sure to prepare yourself mentally to wait and to understand that they take time, imaging reports also take a day to be produced but both the parents will be shown the image of their baby on the screen.

How is 16 Week Ultrasound Carried Out

A 16 week ultrasound (fetus) is carried out by using a device that emits high-frequency sound waves into the body. The waves will  hit and bounce off the different organs of the body as they travel. A probe picks up these echoes created by the bouncing sound waves and starts converting them into a moving image. The images can be accessed through a graphics display monitor.

These tests are usually conducted in clinics, diagnostic centres or radiology section of a hospital. A specially trained expert will be the only one who will be able to conduct a scan. 

What can be seen in 16 Week Ultrasound

When 16 week ultrasound is done, the belly will look like a small cantaloupe. On the inside, however, the baby will be around 4-5 inches in size and will continue to grow. Hair, fingernails, are starting to develop although they will be more noticeable once your progress in your pregnancy. You will be able to make out the head, the eyes, ears and toes of your baby. All the muscles and bones are in place, and the central nervous system is starting to exert control so you may even see your baby move during an ultrasound.

Test Usually Carried Out in 16 Week Ultrasound

Blood test usually recommended by health care providers during 16 week ultrasound  are between the 16th week of pregnancy, health care provider will recommend screening blood tests that will help detect whether the unborn baby is at increased risk for certain genetic abnormalities. These blood tests are either the triple screen or the slightly more accurate quadruple screen helps to check for abnormal levels of certain substances in the blood.

The results coupled with other factors such as age, the health care provider will be able to asses the risk of the baby having a neural tube defect (NTD), Down syndrome, or other chromosomal defects. 


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Terms Used in 16 Week Ultrasound

1. Triple Screen

This is a prenatal blood screening tests carried out to check for the level of certain substances in the bloodstream that might indicate genetic abnormalities in the unborn baby. Particularly, the test checks for the  level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) which is a  protein produced by the fetus’s liver and two hormones: human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and estriol. Also called triple marker or second trimester screening test.

2. Quadruple screen

This is a prenatal blood screening tests that checks for the level of certain substances in the bloodstream that might indicate genetic abnormalities in the unborn child. Additionally, it is used to detect the level of AFP, HCG, and estriol, as with the triple screen, the quadruple screen also tests for another hormone, inhibin-A. The quadruple screen is sometimes referred to as the quad test or the second trimester screening test. The screening blood tests is performed on every pregnant woman.

In contrast to the more invasive, diagnostic tests like amniocentesis or CVS, blood tests carry no risk to the pregnancy but help to identify pregnancies with increased risks. Nevertheless, unlike  diagnostic tests, blood tests are non-invasive and carry no risk, whereas other more invasive, diagnostic tests, like an amniocentesis or a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) which in rare cases lead to miscarriage. It is not mandatory for every patient to undergo an invasive test if it’s not necessary so health care providers recommend additional testing only to  patients whose quadruple screen results shows that they might be a genetic issue.

In other words, these tests do not offer “positive” or “negative, results, but only shows increased risk predictions. Sometimes the tests gives a false-positive result.


Before a scan, it is important to carry documents about you and your partner regarding medical history to your Gynaecologist and also ask questions regarding any symptoms or issues you may be experiencing. It is necessary to get a full physical examination including thyroid, breasts, lungs and heart. A lab test should be done to check signs of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or any other urinary tract infections through urine tests.

Before the scan, do well to prepare yourself mentally to wait and to understand that they take time to image the sonography. Imaging reports also take a day to be produced but both the parents will be shown the image of their baby on the screen.

Additionally, at 16 weeks ultrasound, you can also determine your baby’s sex during this time because the  baby’s external anatomy is fully or completely formed so it  should be accurate. But its wholly depend on how the baby is positioned, your physician or ultrasound technician may not be able to get a clear reading of their anatomy to confirm the sex if the position is otherwise.