Make room for baby
Week 15: Your baby is growing, and his skin is developing
Your baby's internal and external growth continues at a remarkable pace throughout the 15th week of pregnancy.
- When you're 15 weeks pregnant, your baby is probably about 4-1/2 inches from head to rump, and weighs about 2 to 3 ounces. She’s about the length of a large apple.
- Hair might appear on your baby’s scalp and eyebrows. Hair follicles even begin to generate the pigments that give hair its color.
- By your 15th week of pregnancy, your baby's ears probably have reached their permanent position on the side of her head, and her eyes are moving to where they belong on the front of her face.
- Your baby's skin is developing, but remains extremely thin.
- Your baby's skeletal system and muscles further develop and strengthen.
- By the end of your 15th week of pregnancy, your baby might be able to wiggle her fingers and toes, make a fist, or even suck her thumb.
Your Week 15 nutrition and health
Eat a handful of nuts between meals to replenish essential vitamins and nutrients
Fitting the right nutrition into every meal, every day, can sometimes feel daunting. Get valuable nutrients and heart-healthy fats into your daily diet by snacking on healthful nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios.
Nuts are an excellent source of protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins. On top of that, new research has shown that eating a handful of nuts as a snack can lower heart-disease risk by 35%. And even though nuts are high in fat, the fat is monounsaturated, which is good for your heart.
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The facts about pregnancy-related heartburn
At 15 weeks pregnant, if you have heartburn — that burning or sour sensation in the back of your lower throat — you're not alone.
- Heartburn begins when muscles (that are more relaxed than normal due to increased hormones) allow digestive acids to back up into and irritate your esophagus, which connects your throat to your stomach.
- The bad news? Unlike some pregnancy symptoms, this one might continue throughout your pregnancy.
- The good news? With a little care and guidance from your doctor, you often can find relief from heartburn irritation.
Hints for handling heartburn
- Watch what you eat, and don't give up the balanced nutrition your body needs.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Eat slowly.
- Avoid eating late at night and don't lie down for several hours after eating.
- Ask your doctor about antacids that are OK to take, including which types to use, when they can be used, and whether they are safe for you to use for heartburn during pregnancy.
Prenatal testing: what you should know
By your 15th week of pregnancy, you've accomplished a lot. When talking to other expectant moms and new moms, the topic of prenatal testing might come up. The thinking behind prenatal testing is that the more you and your doctor know about your baby's health, the better equipped you can be to address any potential concerns down the road.
Many women choose to have ultrasounds, blood tests, or other tests for a variety of reasons. You and your doctor will discuss which tests you need.
A test that is becoming better known is the triple test. This test is most accurate when completed between the 16th and 18th weeks of pregnancy.
- The triple test is a screening test that checks for chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome, and spinal abnormalities, such as spina bifida, by measuring:
- AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) (Produced by your baby's liver, this protein might show up in your blood.)
- HCG (a hormone produced by your placenta)
- Estriol (an estrogen produced by your baby and your placenta)
Here are some questions to consider:
- What will you do with the information?
- Will the information help your doctor better care for you and your baby?
- How accurate are the results?
- What are the risks?