15 weeks pregnant

15 weeks pregnant

At 15 weeks your bump is starting to take shape and so is your baby. Here’s a little more detail about what’s going on in there…

Your baby at 15 weeks

Your baby is getting ready for his close-up this week. He’s developing cheekbones and if he’s going to have dark hair, then the hair follicles will soon start making the pigment responsible for the colour.

Here are a few more ways in which he’s getting camera-ready during week 15:

  • His little ears and firmly shut eyes have almost reached their final positions although his ears are still a bit low.
  • He seems to squint in the light sometimes because, although his eyes are still shut, he can already see light through his eyelids. If you shine a torch onto your tummy he’d probably move away from the beam inside the womb.
  • He's more in proportion: his legs are now longer than his arms, making him look less like a gorilla.
  • All that muscle and bone development has finally paid off and he’s grown a little baby fist, perfect for sucking, brandishing and generally waving about.
  • The little bones in the inner ear start to harden so they can vibrate and transmit sounds – this week he starts to hear and will be eavesdropping on the sound of your heart beating and tummy gurgling and the whooshing of blood. Your uterus is a noisy place but sounds are muffled by the amniotic fluid. As his hearing improves, he will be able to hear your voice and other sounds outside the uterus. By the time he is born he will recognise your voice.
  • He has pretty sophisticated taste buds, too, and if he were able to have conscious thought (which he doesn’t) he would recognise flavours in the amniotic fluid he gulps down as he practises swallowing. Amniotic fluid can taste of onions, curry, garlic, cumin… almost anything strong-tasting you eat.
Orange

What size is the baby at 15 weeks?

At 15 weeks your baby is around 10cm long and weighs about 70g – about the same size as an orange.

How is your body changing at 15 weeks pregnant?

If you aren’t feeling quite as ‘blooming’ yet as you’ve been promised, try not to feel worried (though you have full permission for feeling pretty peeved). The bloom of pregnancy is more likely to touch you than not, but it can take a while to glow and some women can blink and miss it.

15 weeks pregnant

Your burgeoning bump is suddenly becoming much more obvious to you. You’ll find yourself unable to squeeze through quite such small gaps and may find you need to move your car seat back slightly from the steering wheel. It’s also worth remembering to put the lap part of your seatbelt safely under your bump when you’re driving, rather than on top. In the event of an accident, your bump will be better protected.

You may have noticed for a few weeks that you are haunted by an annoying discharge that is not smelly but is still white and a bit messy. This comes from the more rapid turnover of cells lining your vagina, mixed with normal vaginal moisture. This mixture is thought to protect your vagina – the point of entry to your foetus – from harmful bacteria. But if this discharge is tinged with blood, becomes watery, or gets greenish and smelly then see your antenatal team quite quickly. You could have an infection and that needs dealing with swiftly in pregnancy.

Pregnancy symptoms in week 15

The glamour simply never stops. Here are some of the pregnancy-related symptoms you might spot in week 15:

Thrush

Thrush deserves a paragraph of its own because so many pregnant women get it. It causes itching and soreness, the discharge can look like cottage cheese, and it may hurt when you pass urine because the area around your urethra gets inflamed.

Thrush is common in pregnancy because the pregnancy hormones make the vagina less acidic, so this yeast-like fungus, which is already in the vagina in small amounts, can get a foothold. A single pessary put into your vagina (it's safe for the foetus) often works to treat it.

Stretch marks

Almost 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks so you’re in good company if you find yourself afflicted by these vivid red marks running down your abdomen, thighs, bottom and elsewhere.

Stretch marks are caused by the layer of collagen under the skin tearing as your skin stretches over your growing body. It starts early in pregnancy on breasts and then your abdomen, hips and thighs.

The risk of stretch marks is partly genetic and also age-related – as older people may have less elastic skin so if you’re an older mum and pregnant, you may be more likely to be struck with the stretch mark stick.

Despite the promises made on the back of many a tube of lotion, they are not treatable, no cream can reverse them, but time will make their redness fade. Gaining weight gradually can help avoid them.

Things to think about during week 15 of pregnancy

The excitement of being newly pregnant is over but meeting your baby is still an awfully long way off. Here are some useful ways to keep yourself busy during week 15.

Meet some new friends with bump-benefits

It’s a little early yet to start antenatal classes, though it’s worth signing up for them as they can get booked up in many areas. But it’s never too early to meet friends locally at the same stage of pregnancy as you.

To your non-pregnant friends, endless bump talk and worry about aches and pains can get just a little tedious after a while, so having a small group you can endlessly compare notes with along the way is a good move. Find your Mumsnet Local site and see if there are meet-ups going on in your area.

Pelvic floor exercises

When’s the best time to start doing pelvic floor exercises? Now! Even if you’ve not yet conceived and are just reading up in advance. We promise you’ll thank us later.

How to do pelvic floor exercises:

  • Empty your bladder
  • Tighten and relax the muscles around your urethra first (these are hardest to really feel you're tightening), then the vagina and finally your anus.
  • Hold them tight together for 10 seconds. You should feel you are really lifting these muscles up. Repeat 10 times and get faster as you do them.
  • Do them up to the birth and afterwards (ideally for ever).

What's next: 16 weeks pregnant