You’re 15 weeks into your pregnancy journey, with 25 weeks to go! Baby’s growth has accelerated since you hit the second trimester, and he or she will continue growing very quickly. What else is going on in week 15 pregnancy? Let’s take a look!
Week 15 Pregnancy: How Big Is Baby?
At week 15 pregnancy, 13 weeks from conception, your little one is about the size of a pear! He or she measures 4 to 4 1/2 inches from crown to rump, and weighs about 1 3/4 ounces (1). What is your baby up to this week?
- His skin is thin and you can see the blood vessels through it, but it is beginning to get thicker.
- His heart is pumping about 100 pints of blood each day. (2)
- Bones begin to ossify, or harden, and if you were to have an x-ray, you could see baby’s skeleton. (1)
- He moves…a lot. (See the section below about movement.)
Week 15 Pregnancy: Pregnant Bump Size
Your adorable bump may now be noticeable to those around you. Don’t worry if you don’t have a visible bump, though. It’s still early and it’s especially common to show later in a first pregnancy. Whether your baby belly is obvious to outsiders, it is almost certainly noticeable to you. How exciting to have the first visual evidence of your baby’s growth!
Your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit, and it now reaches just above the pubic bone (2). Your healthcare provider can now feel the top of it by pressing on your belly, and you may be able to as well. Press gently just above your pubic bone, or four to five inches below your belly button. The fundus, or top of the uterus, will feel like the top of a semi-firm ball — less squishy than the intestines around it.
Week 15 Pregnancy: Baby Movement
Your baby has become quite active! She flips and rolls around in the amniotic now (2). She can flex her arms and legs, open and close her hands into fists, and an ultrasound might even show her bringing her hands to her mouth. It’s still pretty early for you to be able to feel movement, though it’s something to look forward to in coming weeks!
The first fetal movements, called quickening, are usually felt between 16 and 22 weeks (3). A first-time mom is likely to be on the later end of this range, while moms who have been pregnant before are more likely to feel quickening earlier.
What does baby movement feel like?
Sometimes it takes a little while to determine if what you’re feeling is in fact the baby moving. These first gentle movements may feel like butterflies fluttering, popcorn popping, or bubbles moving around in your tummy. Pretty soon it will begin happening regularly enough for you to be certain that what you’re feeling is the movement of your tiny one. This brings your pregnancy to a whole new level of feeling “real,” and can help you form a connection and bond to your baby.
As you’ve realized by now, there is a seemingly endless list of symptoms that come along with pregnancy. Some you may have known about before pregnancy, and others may be surprising you. Let’s look at a couple of symptoms that may pop up during the second and third trimesters.
Constipation is common in pregnancy. It is likely a combination of the bowels becoming sluggish due to increased hormones, the intestines becoming displaced by the growing baby, and the iron-rich supplements most pregnant women take (4). You can help combat constipation by drinking lots of water to soften the stool. Eating a fiber-rich diet will bulk up the stool, and regular exercise like walking can help the stool move through the bowel. If despite your best efforts constipation continues, talk to your healthcare provider about the option of fiber supplements or stool softeners.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins (swollen, enlarged veins) in the lower rectum and anus. They’re an obnoxious yet common problem during or after pregnancy. They may be caused by a combination of factors, including the uterus pressing on the veins and interfering with circulation (4). Add to it the straining that accompanies constipation, and voila. You’ve got yourself a hemorrhoid. (They may also occur after you deliver, as a result of pushing during delivery.)
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, swelling, pain, and bleeding. Here are some things you can try to alleviate the discomfort of hemorrhoids:
- Drink a lot of water and eat lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables. This can reduce the constipation that often contributes to hemorrhoids.
- Rest with your feet and hips elevated for at least an hour a day.
- Apply cold compresses or cotton balls soaked in witch hazel to the anus.
- Don’t sit or stand for long periods, allowing blood to pool in the hemorrhoid. Instead, get up and walk often.
Here is a more in-depth article specifically about hemorrhoids and other varicose veins in pregnancy. It will give you a good understanding of the how and why and more advice on dealing with hemorrhoids. But as always, we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about any medical concerns you may have.
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(1) Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press
(2) Simkin, P. (2010). Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, 4th edition. Meadowbrook Press
(3) Bryant, Joy. “Fetal Movement.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Jan. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470566/.
(4) Ladewig, P.A., London, M.L., Davidson, M.R. (2006). Contemporary Maternal-Newborn Nursing Care, 6th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ