Your Baby’s Development:
At this time, the baby should be about the size of a grapefruit. Their facial features are still forming, and their ears are set low on each side of the head. During this time, your child’s hair pattern is also starting to develop. Some babies are born with a full head of hair, while others are bald for the first few months of their young lives. All babies start to develop a soft layer of hair called lanugo around this time.
Their skin is still somewhat translucent, but their blood vessels are working at peak capacity. The baby’s heart is working hard, pumping up to 100 pints of blood every day. The baby should also start to feel more active in their mother’s belly. They may start to roll or turn around in the amniotic sac.
Your baby may also start to hiccup from time to time. Their hearing is continuing to develop. They may be able at this time to hear your voice, so don’t be afraid to talk to them as much as possible. Hearing familiar voices and sounds can be very soothing to them. In addition, your child may start sensing bright light outside your stomach. Their senses are continuing to evolve each and every day.
Many expectant moms at this stage of their pregnancy begin to experience sudden spurts of energy. They feel more active and less tired. Take advantage of this extra energy by getting things done around the house or taking a prenatal exercise class if you can. This is also a good time to start planning the baby’s nursery and looking in to birthing or prenatal classes. You may want to join a parenting group. Besides the social interaction, you can also benefit by gaining some helpful insight into becoming a parent, whether you’re a new parent or already have children. Every parent has new wisdom and experience to share.
Symptoms at 15 weeks pregnant:
- Edema. Edema is a type of swelling that usually appears in the extremities. Swollen feet, legs or ankles are common during this stage of the pregnancy. You may also experience some swelling in your hands. It may feel like your rings are tighter on your hands. Edema is caused by fluid that is forced into soft tissue through the bloodstream. It occurs because of the increased blood flow in the body as your uterus grows. This also puts stress on the pelvic veins.
- Itchy skin. Besides swelling, your skin may start to itch from time to time. This is usually due to your skin stretching during the pregnancy. Massaging the skin should help to ease the itch. Moisturizer can also help to alleviate pain and irritation.
Repeated or severe itching on the hands and feet could be signs of a condition called obstetric cholestasis. This is a liver order that can develop during pregnancy. It is an uncommon ailment, only affecting less than 1% of all pregnancies. It is slightly more common in women of Pakistani or Indian descent. The condition, also known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, is caused by an increased formation of bile and other fluids in the liver that seeps into the bloodstream.
Besides frequent itching, other symptoms of obstetric cholestasis include tiredness, dark urine, pale bowel movements, pain near the liver or jaundice. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or health care provider immediately. They can conduct tests to determine if bile or other fluid levels have increased in your body, leading to this condition. Although this may be concerning, in most cases, women are able to deliver very healthy babies.
- Lower back pain. Most pregnant women also experience lower back pain during this time. While it’s usually unavoidable, there are some things to reduce the pain. Practicing proper posture, exercise and wearing low-heeled shoes with good support can help to reduce back pain symptoms.
- Nasal congestion. During this phase of your pregnancy, it may feel like your nose is constantly stuffed. You may also start to experience nosebleeds from time to timely. This is due to pregnancy hormones. These hormones cause mucous membranes in the nasal cavities to dry out and swell at times. Staying hydrated and using nasal drops can provide some relief.
- Pregnancy brain. If you’ve been feeling out of it or more forgetful lately, you’ve probably blamed it on “pregnancy brain.” Most doctors aren’t in agreement as to whether or not this is an actual medical condition, but more and more pregnant women report being more scatter-brained during this phase of pregnancy. Lack of sleep increased stress and anxiety and hormonal changes can be to blame for this condition. Getting proper rest, reducing stress and being more organized can help to prevent the common symptoms of “pregnancy brain.” Get a calendar or start planning your activities on your computer or smartphone. This can help you remember important events and help to keep you focused.
- Spider veins. You may also start to notice small, thin red veins appearing on your legs or in the skin of your face. These are visible because of increased blood flow and circulation. They’re nothing to worry about, but there are steps you can take to reduce their appearance. Elevating your feet and getting regular exercise when you can help to minimize spider veins. After giving birth, these veins are usually no longer visible.
- Stretch marks. You may start to see stretch marks forming on your skin as your body expands. They often appear as thin pink or purple lines. They will either disappear or become much less noticeable after birth. You may also experience some itching at first.
Stretch marks can be annoying, but there are a few ways that you can treat them. Massaging the skin can provide some relief. Laser therapy can help to make stretch marks fade, but such treatments can be expensive. There are also a wide variety of gels, lotions, and creams that you can try. While there is no scientific evidence that such products will absolutely make stretch marks disappear, they may be able to reduce the itch and cause them to fade over time. They can be used when the stretch marks are purple or red, but pay close attention to the warning label to be prepared for any possible side effects that may occur.
- Swollen or bleeding gums. Another common experience during this phase is gums that are either swollen, bleeding or both. Pregnancy hormones can cause increased inflammation and gum disease, or gingivitis. These gum issues can sometimes lead to increased chances of pre-term birth. Talk to your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis. Stick with your dental check-up schedule as well. The doctor may recommend different types of toothpaste, floss, or brushing with salt water or using a toothbrush that has softer bristles which are gentler on your teeth and gums.
- Urinary tract infections. Most pregnant women are also more prone to urinary tract infections. Talk to your doctor or health care provider if you experience painful urination, increased need to urinate, back pain or fever. They may prescribe antibiotics which can not only combat these symptoms but also help to prevent more serious conditions such as kidney or bladder infections.
- Weight gain. By now, frequent morning sickness should be nothing more than a bad memory. Your appetite should be returning to normal, and you may be putting on more weight. This is perfectly natural. Your belly will continue to expand, and your belly should be more prominent.
Things to ask your doctor:
- What can I do about dizzy spells? Are they normal?
- Do you have some advice for managing stress/anxiety/depression?
- Is it safe to have X-rays at my next dental or physical health check-up?
- Are there any tests or prenatal screenings I should have this month?
Things to consider:
- Now is the time to start planning for your maternity leave. Talk to your manager or HR representative about the benefits that your company offers. Let them know your due date so they can start planning for your absence. Once you know how much time off is offered for maternity leave, you can also start to plan things to do before you go on leave to ensure a smooth transition once the baby arrives. You can also take sick leave if you start experiencing any sort of pregnancy-related illness. It shouldn’t count against your time off, but check with your human resources department to confirm this.
- This is also a good time to start thinking about your nursery. Think of ideas for themes or colors that you want to incorporate. You may even want to start decorating already. Create a checklist of the things you’ll need if you haven’t already. You should be able to add many items on your list to your baby registry.
- While you’re at it, you can also start making plans for your baby shower. Start thinking of the people you want to invite, when and where you want to have the party and what you’ll need to make the day memorable. Get together with a group of friends or family members to start plotting. They may have some great ideas that you can use!
- Another decision you’ll have to make is where you want to give birth. If you’re thinking about home delivery or using a birthing center, talk to your doctor or health care provider about the options that are available. You may need to interview midwives and other personnel. so why not get started on this as soon as possible?
- Staying active. While you have more energy, take steps to stay active as much as possible. Talk to your doctor or physician about recommended exercises or activities that you can perform. Pilates, swimming, walking, and yoga is all great ways to stay active and fit. These activities can also help in some cases for more peaceful labor. If you don’t have a lot of time for physical exercise, you can still get in a good walk or a few stretches during your breaks at work, in the morning or after dinner. Every little bit helps!
These are just some of the many things going on during your 15th week of pregnancy. Your baby is continuing to grow and your body will continue to accommodate for the new life inside. Each day and week is another step closer towards welcoming your child into the world. Take advantage of the opportunity to prepare yourself, your family and others important to you for the new person that will soon be a part of their lives.