15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

This week, your baby’s facial features are still moving into position, and the little ears are sitting low on each side of the head. Not only that: your little one’s hair pattern is also forming, along with some early hair growth. Of course, every baby develops differently! Some are born with a full head of hair, others are bald for their first few months of life. All babies will develop a layer of soft, downy hair called lanugo, which may be growing this week and will soon start to cover your baby's body.

Thin, translucent skin covers blood vessels that are now moving up to 100 pints of blood every day, thanks to the pumping of your baby’s developing heart. You may not feel it yet, but your little gymnast is becoming more active this week, moving, turning, and rolling around in the amniotic sac. Download our second trimester guide to learn more about what’s in store for you and your baby during the next weeks and months.

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How Big Is Your Baby at 15 Weeks?

Your little one is now about the size of a grapefruit.

Mom’s Body at 15 Weeks Pregnant

Many moms-to-be report feeling less tired and more energized at this point in the pregnancy. If you're experiencing this extra oomph of energy, enjoy it! Get some exercise, look into childbirth classes or local social or parents’ groups, or start planning your baby’s room. What’s your nursery style, anyway? Take our nursery style quiz to find out. And don’t forget to rest when you can!

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Swollen feet and legs. One symptom that may crop up is edema, a type of swelling that may occur in your feet, lower legs, or even hands and arms, with swollen feet and ankles being among the most common. Edema occurs when your body retains fluid, which can happen during pregnancy. Swollen feet may also be caused by the hormone relaxin, which causes the ligaments in the feet to loosen and the bones to spread. To help reduce some of the swelling, you could try soaking your feet in a cool foot bath and elevating them whenever possible.

  • Swollen, bleeding gums. Red, swollen gums that feel sensitive and tend to bleed when you brush and floss may be caused by pregnancy hormones that increase the likelihood of inflammation and gum disease, such as gingivitis. Such gum diseases have been linked to an increased risk of preterm birth. The good news is you can help alleviate any discomfort and irritation by rinsing with salt water and brushing with a softer-bristled toothbrush. You should also speak to your dentist for expert advice on what to do. Just don’t abandon your regular dental care routine of brushing and flossing daily and visiting your dentist every six months.

  • Nasal congestion. If you feel as if your nose is constantly stuffy or if you suffer from nosebleeds, you might be able to blame these symptoms on pregnancy hormones, which cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell and dry out. Make sure you stay hydrated and try saline nasal drops for relief.

  • Lower back pain. If you’re feeling lower back pain at 15 weeks pregnant, you’re not alone — many pregnant women experience this symptom. Practicing good posture can help, and so can wearing low-heeled shoes with good support. Moderate exercise that strengthens your back muscles can also prevent or alleviate lower back pain.

  • Weight gain. With any luck, morning sickness is behind you now. Your appetite may have returned, and you may start putting on a little more weight. Your little one is growing, and at 15 weeks pregnant your belly may start to appear more prominent.

  • “Pregnancy brain.” Feeling more forgetful lately? This could be thanks to hormonal changes, lack of sleep, or even stress. Experts don’t yet know whether pregnancy has a real impact on your memory and mental sharpness, but if you feel more scatterbrained than usually, just know that many other moms-to-be feel the same way. Try using your tablet or smartphone to stay organized with lists and reminders. Read more about whether pregnancy brain is fact or fiction and what you can do to keep yourself organized.

  • Spider veins. As pregnancy leads to changes in your circulation and increased blood volume, you may start to notice thin, red veins under the skin of your face or legs. Regular exercise and elevating your feet whenever possible can help improve your circulation and reduce your chances of getting spider veins, which usually fade after you give birth.

  • Urinary tract infections. Pregnancy can make you more prone to UTIs. If you experience any pain when you pee, a strong urge to pee immediately, a fever, or back pain, let your healthcare provider know right away. Your provider may prescribe you antibiotics to help prevent a more serious bladder or kidney infection.

Can’t wait to know whether your little one is a boy or a girl? Try our fun Chinese gender predictor* tool!


Mom’s Body at 15 Weeks Pregnant

Many women report feeling energized at this point in the pregnancy. If you're one of the fortunate ones with that extra oomph, enjoy it! Take a walk, plant some flowers, or start planning the baby's room.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Swelling – One of the most noticeable symptoms that may crop up this week is edema, a type of swelling. This tends to occur in your extremities, with swollen feet and ankles being most common. You may also experience some swelling in your hands, causing the rings on your fingers to fit more tightly. Edema occurs when fluid is pushed from the bloodstream into the soft tissues. As with many pregnancy complaints, it’s caused by the increased blood circulating through your body and the pressure of your growing uterus on the pelvic veins.

  • Swollen, Bleeding Gums – Red, swollen, gums that feel sensitive and tend to bleed every time you brush and floss are caused by pregnancy hormones that increase your chances of inflammation and gum disease, such as gingivitis. The good news is that you can help prevent these problems by brushing your teeth and gums twice a day for two minutes, and flossing once a day (to clean between your teeth).

  • Chronic Stuffy Nose – It’s not your imagination! If you feel like your nose is constantly stuffed or if you suffer from chronic nosebleeds, you can blame these symptoms on those pesky pregnancy hormones. The good news is that pregnancy rhinitis isn’t permanent; if you have it, it will go away after your baby is born.

  • Lower Back Pain - If you’re feeling lower back pain, you’re not alone – most pregnant women endure this symptom. Good posture can help, and so can low-heeled shoes with good support. They’re not always the cutest, but they might help save you some discomfort.

  • Weight Gain – By 15 weeks, morning sickness is usually a thing of the past. This means you’ll start noticing a bit more weight gain. On average, women gain about four pounds per month during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. Your little one is growing, and your belly at 15 weeks may appear more prominent.

  • Pregnancy Brain – The forgetfulness that you might be experiencing is a real symptom of pregnancy, and it’s caused by a normal brain-cell volume decrease. Try using your tablet or smartphone to stay organized.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • The best way to keep your energy levels up and help tone your muscles is through mild exercise like walking, swimming, or yoga. Just make sure your healthcare provider gives you the OK before starting a new exercise routine. Walking is a great choice, because it’s low-impact, and you can motivate yourself by walking with a friend or family member as a nice outing. Consider using an app or another kind of tracking device that can show you how active you are on a daily basis. Download our guide to pregnancy exercise for more must-have information.

  • Have you given any thought yet to where you will give birth? Experts consider hospitals and accredited birth centers to be the safest, but you can learn more about your options from your healthcare provider. Once you’ve settled on where, you might be able to arrange a tour of the hospital or birthing center before you give birth. You should also use the second trimester to find out what other labor and delivery choices are available to you. For example, what comfort measures can you take advantage of, and who can be with you during labor and delivery.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Are dizzy spells normal? What can I do about them?

  • Are there any prenatal screening or diagnostic tests that may be performed this month?

  • Is it safe to have an X-ray at my next dental appointment?

  • Do you have any tips to help manage stress?

How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.