We hope you’re enjoying Week 15! For many experienced moms, these are the best weeks of pregnancy. Even moms who have waited to let the world know they were pregnant are typically telling everybody by now (because it is still probably hard to tell just by looking), so bask in the congratulations.
You’ve no doubt read by now that most pregnant woman should gain about 1 pound a week throughout their pregnancy. If that were strictly true, it would mean you’ve gained about 15 pounds by now—which, of course, might not be the case at all.
By this time in their pregnancies, with their bumps barely showing and after weeks of possible morning sickness, many women have barely gained weight at all or may even have lost some. Others have indulged during the first trimester and gained more. So what does this mean if you’re “underweight”? Is it hurting your baby?
Unless your doctor has expressed concern, the answer is likely an emphatic “no.” Weight gain throughout pregnancy should be gradual but not necessarily like clockwork. In fact, your baby now only weighs about 1.75 ounces, and the placenta is only a few ounces. If you haven’t gained enough weight, don’t worry—the real growth period is just beginning!
One new symptom you might be experiencing now is trouble sleeping. Healthy sleep is important for a pregnant mom—research has linked inadequate or disrupted sleep to increased risk of certain pregnancy and delivery problems. Although it’s still early to be experiencing sleep issues related to your size, pregnancy hormones are also capable of causing sleep issues. If you are having sleep trouble, there is a variety of steps you can take to improve your sleep:
- Many women don’t like sleeping on their sides. If you’re one of them, try using a body pillow.
- Try to avoid evening naps, caffeine, or stimulating TV close to bedtime.
- Get plenty of moderate exercise.
- Treat any symptoms that keep you awake, like heartburn.
- Stay hydrated, but don’t drink a ton right before bed so you don’t have to get up to pee as much.
- Practice good sleep hygiene (such as no electronics in the bedroom, starting a calming sleep routine, meditation, etc.).
At Week 15, your baby’s fetal age is 13 weeks, and he or she is about the size of a baseball. At this point, your baby is looking remarkably human—after months of looking at alien-like pictures, you will finally start to see recognizably human traits in drawings of your baby. At this point, your baby is also increasingly aware of the outside world and reactive to external sights and sounds. He or she might squinch up their eyes in response to bright light or become more active in response to loud noise. Believe it or not, your baby might have already started sucking his or her thumb!
From a developmental point of view, much of the hard work of growing brand new organs is done. The skeleton is formed, the major organ systems are formed, and the eyes and ears have moved into their proper positions and are basically formed. Your baby’s skin is still very thin at this point, and if you were to see your baby directly, you’d see a fine network of veins and arteries under the skin.
Your baby’s upper respiratory and upper GI tract are also far along. He or she is “breathing” amniotic fluid and circulating it in the lungs. In the mouth, the throat is working and taste buds have even begun to form (although there is no sensation of “taste” quite yet—everything tastes like amniotic fluid!).
This is also right around the time your healthcare provider will (maybe) be able to tell the baby’s gender on ultrasound. Don’t worry if they can’t though! There is still plenty of time to figure it out.
“You are probably starting to appreciate your new little bump. Now is a great time to start documenting your belly to watch it grow.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018