All About Baby
At week 15, your baby-to-be stretches her limbs and bends at her elbows. She’s getting big enough that you can feel many of these movements.
This week your baby is roughly the size of a small apple or orange. Her bones are continuing to grow and lengthen. While she looks more like a baby, her skin is still thin and translucent with her veins visible.
Your baby is also beginning to grow lanugo, a very fine hair. It will keep growing until around the 26th gestational week of pregnancy (that’s week 28 of your pregnancy).
All About You
While your pregnancy clumsiness may be frustrating, at least you have something to show for it! Your belly grows day by day as your unborn baby gets bigger. If you haven’t bought maternity pants yet, you’re probably thinking about it as you can barely button your jeans.
In your 15th week of pregnancy, your uterus is halfway between your pubic bone and belly button. You may feel Braxton Hicks contractions. These painless and random contractions can be thought of as your body warming up for the big event of birth. If you have more than five per hour, if they come at a steady pace, or if they’re accompanied by intense cramps or backaches, call the doctor.
You finally look pregnant! As your bump grows, your internal organs are shifting positions to make room for your baby-to-be. Less room means you may not be able to eat large meals, but instead you’ll need to eat more frequently to stay satisfied. Because of cramped tummy space, you may have heartburn, indigestion, and flatulence. Your blood flow has increased to provide extra nutrients — meaning more trips to the bathroom for you. You may also notice that you’re retaining water.
Dropped anything lately? Tripped over nothing? Forget something you always remember — like the date? You may be experiencing a common complaint in pregnancy — scatterbrain. “Some of my patients call it ‘placenta brain,'” says Dr. Joanne Motino Bailey, PhD, a certified nurse-midwife and a professor of women’s studies at the University of Michigan. While there are no studies to support the existence of pregnancy scatterbrain, notes Dr. Bailey, there are some changes in your body which may account for your sudden clumsiness.
Changing center of gravity
The first reason you may be stumbling is obvious — you’re getting bigger. As your belly grows outward, your whole center of gravity is thrown. After walking perfectly for years, your body now has to constantly realign itself to keep you upright — no wonder you’re tripping.
While your baby-to-be is well cushioned in your belly, falling wouldn’t be good for either of you. Opt for sneakers or flats instead of high heels. Take stairs slowly. And be mindful of your movements to avoid any serious spills.
Another reason you may think you’re losing your mind — your gripping sensation may be different because you’re retaining water. Your swollen fingers may make it more difficult to pick something up. (Think about how much harder it is to grab something up with fuzzy gloves on.)
For your belly to house your growing baby, your skin, muscles, and joints stretch and loosen. A pregnancy hormone, appropriately called relaxin, triggers this change. Just like you need to keep in mind your changing center of gravity, remember that your muscles aren’t as tight as in pre-pregnancy days — take it easy!
“We all know that we’re not at our best when we’re tired,” says Dr. Bailey. “During pregnancy your body is under a great deal of stress, but it’s hard to take the time out for an extra hour of sleep, which is really what you need.” So it’s not surprising that your constant state of tiredness may leave you not as sharp as in pre-pregnancy days.
If however, you find yourself overly clumsy, let your healthcare provider know about it. There may be something more going on than loose joints and lack of sleep.
You may be now experiencing the happiest pregnancy symptom of all — your baby is most likely a regular wiggler now! You may begin to feel a fluttering in your uterus.
Q & A
Got questions about Week 15? Other women have asked…
Q: I’m pregnant with twins — is it normal to have already gained 10 pounds by now?
With twins, the usual 25-30 pound pregnancy weight gain is bumped up to about 30-40 pounds, especially with the extra fluid and baby on board. So, you should expect to gain more weight with two babies instead of just one. But gaining too much weight during your pregnancy is a legitimate concern. Read more about weight gain with twins.
Q: How can I manage pregnancy back pain?
Lower back pain or discomfort is a common pregnancy symptom for many women. As you gain weight and hormones loosen joints to accommodate the size of your baby, many women will complain of aches, fatigue, or even moderate to severe pain in the lower back. There are some things you can do to lessen the severity and improve the symptoms. Read more about pregnancy back pain.
Your Partner, She Is a Changin’
Many women feel their best during the next few weeks of pregnancy. Morning sickness is subsiding, your partner’s brain may no longer operate at its optimal level! Expecting women refer to this as pregnancy scatterbrain, and many experience it. Your partner could be in the middle of a sentence and completely forget what she was going to say, or become awfully forgetful about her keys, purse, or other things. Even though most women understand this muddled thinking comes from the hormone chaos they are experiencing in their bodies, it can be a strange adjustment for those who normally feel on the ball but are now struggling to recall the simplest of things.
You may find that you need to pick up some new responsibilities so she has less to worry about. If she usually handled the bills or other scheduled activities, offer to help out if she is having trouble remembering. If you can help her to avoid situations that make her feel “less-than-intelligent” you are really helping to make a difference for her. She needs you to help her feel better — not to remind her that she is “falling apart,” of course.
One warning: This may be only the beginning, however. Once your baby is born, you both will likely be sleep-deprived for some time, though at least you can share in the experience of being scatterbrained together.