Can you feel your baby at 15 weeks?
At 15 weeks, you have crossed the pesky first-trimester pregnancy woes and are well into the golden trimester or 4th month of pregnancy.
You have a fully developed placenta to provide oxygen and nutrients to the baby and dispose of waste products. Your placenta produces hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, which are essential to maintain the pregnancy. A multiparous mother (who has had more than one pregnancy) may start feeling the baby’s movements by this week. Often, it is felt as a flutter or a vibration. You will also have a small baby bump by now.
If it is your first pregnancy, it will take 20 weeks or longer to feel the baby’s movements. Most pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness, constant nausea, fatigue and irritability) of the first trimester start to subside and you feel more refreshed. Your hair is shinier and thicker. You will start gaining some weight now.
Physiological changes and symptoms in the mother at 15 weeks
You will experience a lot of pregnancy-induced changes in the body. Your metabolism spikes due to the needs of the growing fetus. Hormonal changes and increased blood production try to compensate for the demand for oxygen and nutrients. These mechanisms can stress certain body parts and cause symptoms. The symptoms include
- Nose bleeds or nasal congestion also known as “rhinitis of pregnancy”
- Sensitive teeth, inflammation and/or bleeding gums
- Stretching and itching of the skin on the growing abdomen
- Breast enlargement and tenderness
- Swollen feet and legs
- Lower back pain
- Weight gain
- Greasy skin or acne may develop
A few lifestyle modifications, such as taking care of general health, maintaining proper oral hygiene and walking daily during pregnancy and after delivery will help you avoid any risks and complications.
Fetal development and growth at 12 weeks
The fetus continues to grow to the size of an apple at this stage. It measures over five inches in length and weighs around three ounces. The primary air sacs in the lungs develop through the process of movement of the amniotic fluid through the nose and upper respiratory tract. Blood vessels develop under the thin, translucent skin. Soft, fine hair called lanugo appears on the head. Though eyelids are still fused, the fetus will be able to detect the presence of light and sound. The bones in the ears will start developing and the fetus will be able to hear the mother’s heart, digestive system and voice. The fetus will also start to use their arms and legs. Limbs are longer in proportion and joints are more flexible. The fetus will also be developing its grip at this stage and will be able to suck its thumb along with squinting and grimacing. In this week, the health care professional would be able to detect the sex of the baby.
Screening tests to detect the baby’s health
- Ultrasound scan: The 15-week ultrasound scan is highly recommended because it could give doctors a clear idea about how the baby has been growing in the uterus. The mother also gets to see the first expressions of her child. It can detect abnormalities at an early stage.
- Amniocentesis: A small sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the fetus in the uterus) is obtained to analyze the fetal cells to look for chromosomal abnormalities. This test is commonly used for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or trisomy 13.
- Multiple marker tests: The sequential screening, the quad screen and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test are done to screen for neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, anencephaly and chromosomal disorders.
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