From feeling bunged up to starting to budget for your baby, here's what to expect now that you're 15 weeks pregnant and into your second trimester already.
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What's happening at 15 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- Your baby's getting hairy!
- You may have a visible baby bump.
- Feeling like you have a permanent cold; bunged up or runny nose.
- Worrying about finances and affording a baby.
How big is your baby?
Your baby is now roughly the size of a toffee apple, measuring around 10cm and weighing around 70g.
Your little one is getting hairy around now; growing fine, downy hair all over their body. This hair is called ‘lanugo’. It usually disappears before the birth, though some babies do appear a little hairy after when they're born.
The tiny bones in your baby's middle ear (the stirrup, anvil and hammer) are hardening now, so they'll soon start to hear things, whether that’s muffled sounds from the outside world (sing a bit louder!), or the rumble of your stomach.
Although your baby can't open their eyes yet, they can see light and dark. If you were to shine a light on your bump, your baby may move away from it!
If you were to have a scan now, you might even see your baby playing with the umbilical cord.
What's going on with your body?
It's around now that many women start to show, particularly if you've had a baby before. After so many weeks of wondering if you look pregnant or just overweight, a proper visible baby bump can be an exciting moment!
It's also a great time to start bonding with your bump more. Your baby probably can't hear you very well yet, but their sense of hearing is constantly developing (as are their other senses ), and it won't be long! So try to get into the habit of talking and singing to your bump.
One study even found that, when women listened to a particular tune a lot during pregnancy, their babies were calmed by the same tune after the birth! So it's a great idea for both you and your partner to start chatting to your baby now.
Don't know what to say? Just read your favourite book or magazine out loud – it doesn't matter what you say, your baby will just love hearing your voice.
If you've noticed a darkening line running from your tummy button to your pubic bone, don't panic. It’s called a ‘linea nigra’ and is caused by the same hormones that may also be causing the areolas around your nipples to darken, too.
The linea nigra can appear any time from now; it usually shows up during the second trimester. Don't worry if you don't see it though; not all pregnant women get a linea nigra. It's more common in women with darker skin.
As your baby grows, you may start feeling twinges of pain around your bump or your pelvis. This is caused by your ligaments stretching to accommodate your growing baby. Similarly, the extra weight you're carrying – particularly around your boobs – can lead to back pain . Try to rest when this happens.
Although you're likely to be feeling better now you're in your second trimester, remember that your midwife is still on hand to deal with any health concerns. If you're experiencing any unexplained pain, or have any worries or queries about your pregnancy or the health of your baby, don't hesitate to get in touch.
What to expect this week: feeling blocked up
Feel like you’ve got a constant cold? About a third of all mums-to-be to get a bunged up or constantly runny nose in pregnancy.
It's thought to be caused by the increased blood supply that comes with pregnancy, and should go back to normal once your baby is born.
Although you should avoid any nasal spray that hasn’t been prescribed for you in pregnancy, there are other things that can help relieve that stuffy nose …
- Pour a bowl of very hot water and lean over it, covering your head with a towel.
- Breathe in deeply through your mouth until your nose starts to feel less congested.
- Then you can inhale through your nose until it feels a bit better.
- This is a salt-water preparation available from pharmacists (don’t mix your own as you might make it too strong), which you can squirt or spray up your nostrils to relieve congestion.
- Always check with a pharmacist before using any over-the-counter remedies during pregnancy, as some aren't safe for pregnant women.
Sleep propped up
- Try sleeping so that you're slightly propped up. This helps gravity to drain any mucus so you should wake up feeling a little less blocked up. Worth a try.
- Studies suggest that propping up the end of your bed (for example, using a few sturdy hardback books) generally works better than just using pillows.
It's best to avoid using essential oils while you're pregnant. This is just a precaution to be on the safe side, as there hasn't been much research into the safety of essential oils in pregnancy. If you do want to try them, check with your midwife or doctor first.
What to do this week: budget
We’re not sure if anyone’s mentioned it yet, but having a baby can be a pricey business. Especially as you’ve got to cover their costs for at least another 18 years (and if you’ve had to take a loan from Bank of Mum and Dad recently, you’ll realise it could be a lot longer!).
It’s sensible to start thinking about budgeting for a little one sooner rather than later, before your head is filled with dealing with a newborn baby.
So sit down and work out exactly where you are with your finances, so you can decide how much maternity leave you want (and can afford) to take.
Saving money from the start of the pregnancy might mean you can buy yourself another couple of weeks at home with your little one, or allow you to take a first family trip away before you're back at work.
Plus, don’t forget you might be entitled to certain benefits to help with the cost of raising a family. It’s worth finding out now if you’re eligible and what you need to do when the time comes.
Maternity benefits and entitlements include:
- Statutory Maternity or Paternity Leave
- Maternity Allowance
- Shared Parental Leave
- Working Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Healthy Start food vouchers
Your 15 week to-do list
1 Invest in a good pillow to prop you up or support you in bed. See our pick of the top pregnancy pillows .
2 Read our guide to budgeting in pregnancy for more top money-saving tips.
3 Make a list of any questions you have, ready for your next antenatal appointment.
4 Talk to friends and family about their labour and birth experiences. It might help you start to get an idea of what kind of labour you'd like. If you're the first of your friends to have a baby, the Netmums forum is full of real-life birth stories to help you learn what to expect.
5 Splash out on a new maternity dress to flatter your growing baby bump.
What to watch this week ...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 15 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
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