Your Guide to Being 15 Weeks Pregnant:
At 15 weeks, the bones in your baby’s ear that are responsible for hearing are developing, and her taste buds are sprouting, too. From now on, she’ll get a flavour of whatever you eat via the amniotic fluid. One study showed that unborn babies swallow more amniotic fluid if it tastes sweet, and less if it’s bitter – pass the biscuits!
This week sees a period of rapid growth, with your baby starting to lay down fat under her skin. Her sex organs are maturing, and a highly skilled sonographer might be able to tell the sex at this point. She’s also gaining more control of her movements; scans at this stage have shown babies playing with the umbilical cord, snuggling up to the wall of the uterus, apparently for comfort, and even fighting with their twin. Your baby will probably get regular bouts of hiccups from now on, which help her lungs prepare for breathing.
What’s happening to you
Your placenta is now 1cm thick and 7 to 8cm in diameter, and you’re carrying around a paper cup full of amniotic fluid. Your body is producing large amounts of oestrogen, which can have weird side effects, such as darkening the pigmentation of your skin. You may notice a dark line running from your belly button down, as well as darker nipples and more prominent moles and freckles. Stretch marks might crop up around now, too. On the positive side, those same hormones tend to make your hair and nails grow longer and look healthier – yep, you’re blooming at last.
As your bump grows and your centre of gravity shifts, you’re likely to develop backache, especially if you stand for long periods. Work on your posture, dropping your shoulders, tucking your bum in and tightening your abs – and ditch the skyscraper heels for flats.
When to check it out
Severe pain around the lower back and pelvic area can be a sign of pelvic girdle pain – a pregnancy-related condition that occurs when the joints of your pelvis become misaligned. In extreme cases it can leave you virtually immobile, so speak to your midwife – physiotherapy and/or a support belt may help.
‘To do’ this week
If you’re planning to have the blood test (serum screening) to screen for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome, make sure you’re booked in – it needs to be done at around 16 weeks.