A few a weeks ago your little one was all but a tiny ball of flesh. The physical features were still underdeveloped and what surprised you more were a few that looked more reptilian like – the webbed hands and feet. By the 15th week, your little one looks more human like. And finally after weeks you feel up to it to enjoy your little one’s growth.
The average length of the fetus in the 15th week of development is 4 inches. It has doubled in weight over the last two weeks weighing about 3 ounces.
The body proportions appear refined and more normal. The legs are longer than the arms. The legs and arms have also grown longer than the head which has till now been the largest part of the body. Hair starts filling in on the scalp, eyelashes and the eyebrows. The hair follicles start making pigments that will determine the hair color.
In adults, the body produces and accumulates fat. These fats help regulate body temperature. The fetus’ body is not yet capable of doing so. Its body temperature is regulated by Lanugo –fine hair covering the skin. It maintains a constant temperature and keeps the baby warm. By the 15th week the entire body is covered with fine hair. It will disappear just before birth.
The development of the ears starts at 8 weeks of gestation and are fully developed by the 24 weeks. After this, your little one will be able to hear sounds in the womb. During the 15th week, the bones forming the ears begin to harden.
The baby is squirming, twisting, wiggling and moving, but the mother is not able to tell yet. The fetus also gets occasional hiccups. You might feel faint flutters.
The intestines have shifted further into the body. The liver, the kidneys and the circulatory system continue to fulfill their duties. The pancreas starts producing insulin. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar in the food into energy for the body.
The organs, muscles and nerves begin to function. The facial muscles start developing. Not only this, they also begin to flex.
Changes to your Body
Your belly is more obvious. The curve on the lower abdomen is clearly apparent. Weight gain is also typical by this week. You may gain approximately 5-10 pounds. There is also a noticeable increase in appetite.
Expecting women at this stage need to take extra care because of the dizziness they experience. It may cause them to lose balance. Other pregnancy symptoms you may have to deal with include nose-bleeds, swollen gums, gas, constipation and heartburn. The last two are caused by the strain exerted by the expanding uterus on the stomach and the intestines. Additionally, the hormones progesterone relaxes the muscles of the stomach, decelerating digestion. You may also experience slight pain on either or both sides of the abdomen. A stuffy nose and nasal congestions are also common.
It’s normal to feel more frisky than usual. The high energy contributes to high libido. It is safe of having sex during this stage unless the doctor has asked you to abstain for certain reasons.
Tips for the week
- Eat slowly and eat smaller meals. Avoid spicy and greasy foods as they make the problem of heartburn and acidity worse. Avoid eating late at night. Do not sleep immediately after a meal. If you suffer severe heartburns speak to your doctor about the use of antacids.
- Go slow when changing your positions- from sitting to standing or from lying down to sitting. You may feel dizzy or faint.
- If you feel light headed or suffer a headache, lie down and take rest.
- You should start practicing sleeping on your side.
- Sex does not threaten your pregnancy and neither will it harm your baby. You can have sex whenever you feel up to it.
- Prenatal testing puts you in a better position to resolve health issues concerning you or your baby. Speak to your OB about the prenatal tests you should perform.
- Maintain oral hygiene. Get regular dental checkups.