Your Pregnancy Week 15

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 15th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By the end of pregnancy week 15 your baby will be roughly 4.5 inches long and weigh more than 1.5 ounces!

Changes in Your Growing Baby

As you continue your pregnancy you will start noticing dramatic changes. Your baby is also undergoing many new and exciting changes! While your baby's skin is still paper thin, your baby's skin is developing lanugo hair. This fine hair sometimes covers premature infants when they are delivered early.
Your baby's bones are also getting harder and stronger. Your baby spends most of her days practicing breathing amniotic fluid and swimming about. These practice exercises will prepare your baby for her entrance into the real world several months from now!

Your Body's Development

You are probably excited to start noticing significant changes in your profile. At this time most women will have gained up to ten pounds. Your uterus continues to grow and expand, and is now rising above your hipbones. Soon your healthcare provider will start feeling your uterus just below your navel and taking detailed measurements.
During the later half of the second trimester most healthcare providers take measurements of your growing uterus. These measurements are referred to as the fundal height measurements, and give your practitioner an idea of how well your baby is growing. Normally the fundal height corresponds to the number of weeks of pregnancy a woman is, though it may vary by an inch or two in many cases.

Changes in Your Body

By now you are excited not only by your size but also the thought of carrying your precious cargo around. By now you may once again start noticing some new and bizarre side effects of pregnancy. Some women for example start experiencing excessive salivation. Still others start noticing they are more prone to stuffy noses. Stuffy noses often result from swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose, more so than colds. A bad cold can certainly contribute to a stuffy nose though, so be sure to wash your hands and get plenty of rest to help promote your health and boost your immune system!
Most pregnant women's immune systems are slightly less strong during pregnancy. This provides a safer and better environment for your baby. Unfortunately this also means you are more susceptible to some common ailments during pregnancy. Take good care to eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise when possible to promote your health and well being. If you are sidelined by a cold take some time off to recuperate.

Aside from colds, some women find they are more susceptible to urinary tract infections at 15 weeks pregnant. Urinary tract infections are a common albeit unwelcome side effect of pregnancy, much like morning sickness. They are easier for pregnant women to get because the muscles supporting the ureters tend to relax during pregnancy which can slow the flow of urine and contribute to bacterial growth.

Your healthcare provider usually tests for urinary tract infections during your first prenatal visit. If you don't have a UTI at this time it is not too likely you will develop one later one. You may however, so it is important you are aware of any unusual symptoms including pain when urinating, abdominal discomfort or a frequent urge to urinate with little production. Blood in the urine is also a sign of a urinary tract infection. It is vital you report any symptoms you are having immediately as UTIs can lead to severe complications during pregnancy.

Amniocentesis

Sometime between 15 and 17 weeks pregnant, you may be offered a prenatal test called an amniocentesis. The primary reason for an amniocentesis is that it determines whether or not a baby has a certain chromosomal abnormality or genetic disorder. Older women (over age 35) and women with a history of genetic defects in their families may choose to have an amniocentesis, since they are at higher risk for abnormalities in their babies.

During an amniocentesis, your doctor will take a sample of the amniotic fluid. This procedure is relatively safe, but there is a small risk of miscarriage. Estimates differ, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) estimate the miscarriage risk might be 1 in 300 or 1 in 500.

To reduce the risk of miscarriage, you'll want to make sure that the healthcare provider doing the procedure has plenty of experience doing amnios. An inexperienced doctor can accidentally injure the baby with an amnio needle. (These cases are rare, though.)

After an amniocentesis, you should get your results within one or two weeks. If your baby is found to have a problem, you can opt to get genetic counseling to have more information and talk about your options.

Video: What to Expect from the 15th Week of Pregnancy


 

 

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