At week 15 of pregnancy, the fetus measures approximately 9cm (crown to rump) and weighs around 70g. At this stage, the fetus is likely to have bouts of hiccups. These are silent, and the trachea (windpipe) is filled with fluid. These can be the result of practising breathing movements. It may now be possible for the fetus to hear some sounds, such as your heartbeat, or your voice.
The fetus’ legs are now growing longer than the arms and there is now full movement in all limbs and joints. – including wiggling fingers and toes.
You have probably gained between 2kg and 4.5kg in weight by now. You should be gaining approximately 4lbs a month now, although of course this varies between individuals. Some women experience a sense of well-being during this stage of pregnancy, but don’t worry if not, both are perfectly normal.
If your symptoms or nausea and/or vomiting are abating, you may be finding that your appetite is returning. If this is the case, be careful not to overindulge in very big meals as eating large quantities in a single sitting can overload your digestive system and lead to heartburn and/or indigestion. Many women find it helpful to eat several smaller meals throughout the day. If you are still suffering from constipation, make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of fruit and vegetables. You should consult your midwife or Doctor if you are experiencing severe constipation.
Some women suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy. If you notice that you have protuberant veins on your legs, they are unlikely to be harmful. Elevating your legs – i.e. putting your feet up! – can help by reducing the pressure on the veins in your legs.
During pregnancy, hormones can cause your gums to become more sensitive, this can mean that your gums become inflamed and are more prone to bleeding and also that your teeth are more prone to plaque and bacteria. You should seek the advice of your dentist if you have any concerns about your teeth and gums.
Pregnancy hormones can also cause nasal congestion and even nosebleeds in some women. During pregnancy, hormones cause mucus membranes to swell and soften due to increased blood flow.
Symptoms to watch out for
Any vaginal bleeding or significant abdominal pain is not normal at this time. The tummy is starting to get noticeably bigger. Pain is probably due to stretching of the ligaments however there are sometimes more significant causes such as urinary tract infection or fibroids. There may be some normal vaginal discharge but this should be constant in colour and quantity. Many women have pregnancy related headaches which usually improve with time. The stretching and stressing of bones, ligaments and muscles often leads to pains particularly in the spine and pelvis.
What is routinely offered on NHS
By now you should have had contact with your local GP or midwife. They will be able to give you general advice and your pregnancy blood testing should have been done.
You should have had your booking appointment with the midwives for the hospital where you expect to give birth. If they find you have a significant issue they may refer you to the local hospital of ultrasound department. An ultrasound scan should be reassuring particularly if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding. You may be referred to a consultant specialist.
What other care is available
If you choose to do so you can self refer yourself to a private clinic. There is no need for a referral letter. In a private clinic you can see a doctor or a midwife. An ultrasound scan is available at short notice to provide reassurance as are other investigations. A consultant will be available to assess you and advise about the pregnancy.
If you are still experiencing morning sickness, a pregnancy nutritionist is on hand to help you identify foods to avoid.