The 15th week of pregnancy: what to expect at 15 weeks

15 week of pregnancy

As you enter your 15th week of pregnancy, you are about to enter the third week of your second trimester and you are probably enjoying your pregnancy more than ever.

But even if it doesn’t, and you’re still experiencing the symptoms you already experienced during the first trimester, such as morning sickness, insomnia, food cravings, a metallic taste in your mouth, there’s nothing to worry about.

The pregnancy hormones responsible for most of these symptoms work differently in every pregnancy, making it unique in many ways.

Fetus growth at 15 weeks

The development of the limbs

The legs are gradually lengthening in proportion to the head and the rest of the body more than the arms. The nails on his little fingers grow fast, while all the joints in his body are developed enough for him to move.

The outward appearance

His ears have now reached their final position, while his eyes are almost in front of the child’s face. He keeps practicing different facial expressions to train his muscles properly.

The movements in the belly

The fetus curls its tiny fingers, kicks and flails with its legs and arms, and its movements become more and more complex. He is also practicing, with swallowing, with grasping, with sucking, which will allow him to be able to live “on his own” after birth. Hiccups are common in this week, occurring before the fetus begins to practice breathing. However, these sobs make no sound because the fetus’s trachea is filled with amniotic fluid instead of air.

the size of the fetus at 15 weeks

The fetus at 15 weeks is almost as big as an apple, with a length of 10 centimeters, and a weight of approximately 70 grams.

Weight gain and the bump

In this phase, weight gain is your main body change: most women gain about 2 kilograms during this week. But a slightly larger or smaller increase is also completely normal.

If you haven’t already started, get into the habit of weighing yourself once a week. In this week it is also quite normal that you can lose your balance or stumble for no apparent reason, as your center of gravity is changing as your belly grows.

The relaxin hormone continues to relax your joints and muscles, making you a little awkward.

In people’s eyes, you’re probably starting to “look pregnant” (if you haven’t already) as your baby bump is finally starting to be noticeable enough for others to notice. However, you don’t have to worry too much if she hasn’t shown up yet – every pregnancy is different.

Ultrasound at 15 weeks

An ultrasound at 15 weeks of pregnancy can show the fetus grimacing, swallowing, moving its arms and legs, sucking its tiny thumb. You can see the blood vessels, which are growing, through her thin skin. Your doctor will also do a Doppler ultrasound to check the heartbeat of the fetus. Although the identification of the sex may now be possible by means of an ultrasound, it is advisable to wait a few more weeks to have a (more) precise result.

Exams during the fifteenth week of pregnancy

This is the right time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of performing screening tests.

Normally there are no routine tests to be done in the fifteenth week, but women over 35, and those with high-risk pregnancies are usually invited to undergo some tests to verify the health of the fetus even in this phase .

The most common screening tests to be done between 15 and 20 weeks are multiple marker blood tests and amniocentesis.

Amniocentesis can detect most chromosomal and genetic disorders, while multiple marker testing is done to measure the levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the mother’s blood.

Unusually high AFP levels could indicate neural tube defects (such as anencephaly or spina bifida) in the baby.

Symptoms 15 week of pregnancy

At 15 weeks you may experience the following symptoms:

  • sharp abdominal pain as the uterus, which is growing, puts pressure on the muscles and ligaments that support it (round ligament pain of the uterus);
  • pain in the lower back, joints and hips;
  • breast changes, preparing for breastfeeding;
  • slight swelling, especially in the fingers, hands and feet, caused by water retention and the hormone progesterone;
  • epistaxis (nosebleed);
  • flu-like symptoms and rhinitis from pregnancy (for example, stuffy or runny nose and colds);
  • itching with a rash on the belly, breasts and back (due to the skin stretching to contain the growing uterus);
  • swollen and bleeding gums;
  • mood changes (happiness or depression for no apparent reason);
  • bloating and bloating;
  • oilier skin, with those first trimester acne breakouts gradually disappearing;
  • chloasma gravidarum (called “mask of pregnancy”), or the appearance of dark patches, mainly on the face (but also in other parts of the body);
  • indigestion and heartburn ;
  • varicose veins (mainly on the legs, due to increased blood flow);
  • feeling short of breath;
  • headache, dizziness and fainting;
  • forgetfulness or “pregnancy brain” (there is no scientific evidence about the factors that are responsible for this symptom: it is suspected that the cause is attributable to pregnancy hormones).

When to see your doctor right away

A doctor should be consulted in case of,

  • sudden severe nausea and vomiting, which interferes with your daily activities (these increase the risk of weight loss and dehydration);
  • if you should experience intense abdominal cramps, and back pain along with the contractions;
  • vaginal bleeding (even in small spots) together with other symptoms such as pain in the lower abdomen, period-like cramps, dizziness or fainting;
  • severe pain in the upper or lower abdomen that does not go away with time;
  • extreme constipation or persistent diarrhea with stomach pain;
  • extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, headache , and changes in vision (could indicate high blood pressure);
  • vaginal discharge that is thin and clear, or straw-colored (could indicate leakage of amniotic fluid);
  • pain and burning when urinating or having sex, spotty vaginal discharge, odorless egg-white discharge with fever or nausea (could indicate a kidney or urinary tract infection or candidiasis).

Some tips for a peaceful pregnancy and a healthy baby

The following tips may help you:

  • keep the best possible posture when sitting, walking and sleeping on your side: these habits can prevent various pains when the pregnancy is in a more advanced stage and the belly will get bigger;
  • use a sunscreen to minimize the darkening of your skin (opt for an oil-free product if you are already experiencing oily skin problems);
  • include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet, which are rich in vitamin C, a vitamin necessary for the correct formation of connective tissues in the fetus and also improves your body’s ability to absorb iron;
  • drink plenty of water also because it contains fluoride, which favors the “correct” formation of his teeth and their enamel in the child;
  • consult with your doctor about the opportunity to get vaccinated against the flu, so as to prevent this disease and other pathologies such as pneumonia while you are pregnant (the side effects of the vaccine could lead to slight inflammation and fever);
  • choose maternity clothes that better support your changing body;
  • follow a regular routine of light physical exercises, such as prenatal yoga and relaxation and breathing techniques;
  • maintain proper oral hygiene (brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day): this is to prevent serious gum infections;
  • eat a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to the development of your baby’s brain and retinas.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *