15 weeks pregnant: What’s going on in there
At nearly 10 centimetres (four inches) long, your baby is about the size of a tomato. Weighing just over 2.5 ounces (70 grams), he is practising his facial expressions, frowning, grimacing, squinting and wincing this week. At 15 weeks pregnant, your baby’s hands are also making little fists, and he can even grasp them together. He is also breathing in small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is helping his lungs develop.
And he can hear now: Between your heartbeat and the blood coursing through the umbilical cord, it’s actually pretty noisy in your uterus. The baby can hear your (muffled) voice as well, and it’s important to him. By the time he is born, he’ll remember it: Studies have shown that newborns prefer their mothers’ voices to those of others.
15 weeks pregnant symptoms
Since you’re early in your second trimester, you’re probably feeling pretty good—though heartburn, residual nausea and pregnancy-related nosebleeds (thanks to increased blood flow to mucous membranes, coupled with sensitive skin) aren’t uncommon. If you’re lucky, you may even have that pregnancy glow, which is caused by a combination of increased blood flow (hello, rosy cheeks) and oil production in your skin. You’ll probably also find that your nails are growing faster and stronger and that your hair is thicker as well. You’re looking good, mama! If you’re not feeling the pregnancy glow, though, you’re not alone. Pregnancy doesn’t agree with everyone.
What’s on your mind when you’re 15 weeks pregnant
Waking up every two hours to pee and tossing and turning from heartburn have an unexpected side effect: You’ll likely remember more of your dreams. Many women report more vivid dreams in pregnancy, too, possibly due to hormones. There’s also an old wives’ tale that if you dream that you’re having a girl, you’re actually having a boy—and vice versa.
Prenatal tests: Round two
Between week 15 and week 20 of your pregnancy, you’ll have the option of doing more prenatal tests to screen for neural tube defects. (You will also have a routine anatomy ultrasound scan between weeks 18 and 20.) Depending on where you are in the country and what you’ve done already, you’ll have either a quad screen or integrated biochemistry. The results will tell you the likelihood of your baby having neural tube defects such as spina bifida (where part of the neural tube doesn’t develop or close properly) and anencephaly (where a defect in the neural tube causes an underdeveloped brain and skull)—but not whether your baby has the issue or not. If you haven’t already been tested to determine your baby’s risk of chromosomal differences like Down’s syndrome, this test can tell you that as well.
Just for kicks
Now is a good time to reassess your pregnancy symptoms and see how they line up with all those old wives’ tales about expecting a boy versus expecting a girl. (Still feeling sick? How’s your skin? Are you craving sweets or salty foods?)
Pregnancy to-do list: Week 15
Find a paediatrician
Here’s your first to-do that’s just for the baby: Find him a doctor. Your baby needs a doctor before he is even born—the hospital may not even release you unless you’ve lined up a healthcare provider. You might be surprised to learn that only one-third of kids see a pediatrician as their primary-care provider; the rest are cared for by family doctors and nurse practitioners. If you have a primary-care provider you love, consider asking him to take your baby on as a patient. If not, ask around for recommendations and consider location and after-hours availability as well.
If you’re starting to feel like pregnancy is taking its toll on you, you might want to give prenatal yoga a try. The stretching and strength exercises can help combat the lower back pain, headaches, anxiety and sleeplessness that are common during pregnancy, and the breathing exercises can help you handle the shortness of breath that comes later in pregnancy and possibly even the pain of contractions. Plus, the moves in prenatal yoga will help strengthen your pelvic floor, which makes it less likely that you’ll suffer from stress incontinence (that is, peeing your pants a little when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jump or run!) after birth. Regular yoga offers many of the same benefits, but some poses (such as deep or frequent twisting) aren’t recommended during pregnancy, so look for a teacher who has experience with pregnant women.
Looking for a safe pregnancy workout? Give these 13 moves a try.
Get ready to carry your baby around (a lot!) by keeping your upper body strong.
How to: Standing tall with knees slightly bent, hold two hand weights at your sides with palms facing forward. Inhale with your core breath and, as you exhale, bend at the elbows and bring your hands towards your chest. Be sure to keep your wrists in neutral position at all times. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position. Beginner: Sit on a stability ball and use light weights. Advanced: Do bicep curls standing on one leg.