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15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

This week your fetus is beginning to develop more pronounced facial features. The eyes are making their way toward the front of the face, and little ears are taking on an identifiable shape. By the end of the week, your little one’s scalp hair pattern will be established for life. Some hair may even begin to sprout, although that’s not usually evident for a few more weeks. Of course, every baby develops differently! Some are born with full heads of hair while others are bald for their first few months of life. Ultrafine, soft hair called lanugo develops as well. This hair covers your little one’s entire body, protecting the skin from the amniotic fluid. It usually disappears shortly before or after birth.

Underneath that lanugo is a fine layer of skin through which you can see blood vessels, which are already transporting blood. Mouth development continues — your little one may even be sucking on a thumb right now — and facial movements are a regular occurrence. You probably won’t be able to feel anything until next week at the earliest, but aerobics class is officially underway as your baby tries out new moves.

How Big Is Your Baby at Fifteen Weeks?

Your little one is now about the size of a grapefruit. At 15 weeks, the average fetal size is 4.5 inches long, and the average weight is between 1.7 and 2.5 ounces.

pregnancy week 15 fetus

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 prevent edema is through mild exercise: a walk, a swim, a yoga class. Also, rest frequently with your feet elevated and be sure to drink plenty of water every day. If you experience anything more than a little fullness in your feet or hands, or if you also have puffiness in your face or eyes, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Be sure to take extra-special care of your dental health. Since pregnancy hormones are making you more susceptible to gingivitis, you’re also at a higher risk for periodontitis, which is a nasty infection which affects the bones and tissues that support your teeth. If you end up with this problem, you’ll be in a higher risk category for preeclampsia and premature labor. To keep your mouth, teeth, and gums in top condition, practice good oral care.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • If edema is heavy, with anything more than a little fullness in your feet or hands, or if you also have puffiness in your face or eyes, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Ask whether amniocentesis is recommended. This procedure is usually offered sometime between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy when there is a high risk of chromosomal or genetic issues.
  • Even if you don’t get an ultrasound this week, your doctor may measure your fundal height, which is the distance between the upper portion of your pubic bone and the very top of your uterus. This is a simple way to check fetal growth and make sure that all is well.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Help prevent swelling by walking, swimming, or doing yoga

Rest frequently with your feet elevated and be sure to drink plenty of water

Investigate maternity leave options at your workplace

Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Help prevent swelling by walking, swimming, or doing yoga

Rest frequently with your feet elevated and be sure to drink plenty of water

Investigate maternity leave options at your workplace

Sign up to get weekly pregnancy tips