Pregnancy Tracker: Week 15

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 15




As your second trimester progresses, you should be feeling fitter and more energetic by the week as your bothersome symptoms abate. This is good news as now you may feel more up to the challenges of preparing mentally and physically for your baby.

In addition, you will hopefully have some energy left over for your partner as he may be feeling rather excluded. You have been wrapped up in your emotions and battling the symptoms of early pregnancy, while his life has continued in much the same way as before. He has no doubt tried to be as supportive as possible but feeling alienated at this time is quite typical.

With your renewed sense of well-being and energy, try to stay connected by including your partner in plans, baby thoughts and shopping. Now that your regular antenatal visits have commenced, it is a wonderful bonding opportunity for you both to attend and enjoy the journey of pregnancy together.

Your baby’s development at week 15

Your little baby is now as large as an apple and measures about 10.1cm from rump to head, weighs roughly 70g, and is looking more like a baby each week. It is interesting to know that baby is already learning all the important basic survival skills for after birth – breathing, sucking, and swallowing.

The legs are now longer than the arms, making baby seem more in proportion. Fingers and toes are well defined, and all the joints are fully formed and moving about constantly; baby is very active as the muscles become stronger.

The head is growing rounder and the ears, although still a bit low on the head, are almost fully formed. Believe it or not, from about this week your baby’s hearing is developing. Sounds may be muffled but we like to believe that hearing your heartbeat is a comfort to baby.

If you could see inside your uterus, you would be enchanted to notice that baby is beginning to grow tiny little eyelashes and eyebrows, nails and hair. The eyes are still closed but baby can sense light through the fused eyelids.

Baby’s skin continues to develop and is very thin and so transparent that little blood vessels can be seen through it. Lanugo, the soft layer of hair, continues to grow all over baby’s body. The skeleton is beginning to harden and could even show up on an x-ray.

Symptoms in week 15 of pregnancy

In week 15 you may notice some symptoms that were not noticeable before:

  • Itchy skin around the bump area is normal and nothing to worry about. Severe itching on hands and feet could be more serious and needs to be checked out.
  • Thrush is a yeast infection caused by hormonal changes. Although it can be irritating and uncomfortable, it is harmless. Bring it to the attention of your doctor so it can be treated.
  • Brain fog, also sometimes called baby brain, results in mums-to-be having episodes of forgetfulness, mental lapses, difficulty in concentrating or feelings of absent-mindedness and difficulty in making decisions. It would appear that a woman’s brain cell volume decreases during pregnancy, or it could simply be due to disturbed sleep, resulting in exhaustion.
  • Nose bleeds are experienced by about 20% of pregnant mums and is caused by increased blood volume and expansion of the blood vessels in the nasal area.
  • Nasal congestion, also called rhinitis of pregnancy, is common and also caused by increased blood flow and hormonal changes. If it is bothersome at night and disturbing your sleep, try propping your head up on a few pillows, and switch on a humidifier. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Swollen gums are another pesky symptom of pregnancy and can also be attributed to hormones and the increased blood flow. Changing to a softer toothbrush may help, but don’t stop brushing and flossing twice daily, and continue to visit your dentist for check-ups.

A word on smoking during pregnancy

If you have not managed to kick the habit yet, it is not too late to stop!

Quitting before week 15 reduces the risk of premature birth and low birth weight but giving up at any time during pregnancy will give your baby a better start in life.

Perhaps understanding how harmful smoking is to your baby will encourage you to quit, as even the odd cigarette is bad news for baby.

Each cigarette contains about 4 000 harmful chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide and other poisons. When you inhale, the chemicals go into your lungs and enter the placenta through your blood stream. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, reducing blood flow. Because less blood means less oxygen and nutrients reaching the baby, growth can be affected. Babies born to smokers have a lower birth weight than babies born to non-smokers.

If you use a vape or e-cigarette or are thinking about switching to this form of smoking, you should be aware that they have not been around long enough for long-term research to be conducted. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as a chemical known as propylene glycol, which transports nicotine in the vapour so that it can be inhaled.

So, if you smoke, the absolute safest thing you can do for your health and the health of your unborn baby is to quit immediately.

Exercise in pregnancy

Keep moving! Exercise boosts your physical and mental health, so it is best to carry on with gentle exercise during pregnancy but do check with your healthcare provider before starting any new programme.

Avoid contact sports such as hockey, netball or martial arts as you need to reduce the chance of your abdomen being whacked.

Your growing bump can change your centre of gravity, making keeping your balance harder, so it is also best to avoid any activity that carries the risk of falling, such as skiing, climbing or horse riding.

Scuba diving is a definite no-no during pregnancy as the nitrogen gas bubbles can cross through the placenta to your baby.

Yoga, Pilates, and other aerobic exercises are suitable but do ensure that your teacher is trained and experienced in instructing pregnant women as some positions should be avoided.

At 15 weeks pregnant you are probably feeling fantastic! Physical activity and eating healthy, nutritious food go a long way toward improving your mood and energy and maintaining a healthy weight gain.

While you may be experiencing some of the more typical 15-week pregnant symptoms, you may also be ready to face all of the tasks ahead of you to prepare for baby. Enjoy this special time of waiting by shopping for maternity clothes, creating a baby registry, and planning the nursery!

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