Your baby is the size of a grapefruit

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

You might already be in the habit of talking to your bump, but now there’s a good chance your little one is listening!

Around now your foetus is gaining the ability to hear sounds, especially your voice and internal noise like your heartbeat and the rumbles of your digestive system, but also muted noises from outside.

Your little one’s eyes are also becoming more sensitive to light. They’re clamped tightly shut for now, but your little one may still be able to sense when a bright light shines through your tummy.

To complement those eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows start to grow sometime around the 15-week-pregnant mark. Speaking of hair, your foetus is now growing a soft layer of fine hair known as ‘lanugo’. This gossamer-like coating will cover your little one from head to toe, but most of it usually wears off by the time your baby is born.


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The Size of the Foetus at 15 Weeks Pregnant

Now that you’re 15 weeks pregnant, your foetus is about the size of a grapefruit, measuring close to 10.1 centimetres crown to rump, and weighing in at around 70 grams.

Get a closer look at what’s happening in your belly by checking out the illustration below.

baby at 15 weeks pregnant

Mum's Body at 15 Weeks Pregnant

At 15 weeks pregnant your bump may be getting more prominent, so don't be surprised if you notice people sneaking curious glances at your tummy. Although, keep in mind that it’s OK if you haven’t noticed this yet. Some mums-to-be don’t show for another week or two – every pregnancy is unique.

On the inside, you may feel the occasional stabbing pain at the sides of your bump. This kind of stomach pain is usually what's known as ‘round ligament pain', and is caused by your ligaments stretching to make room for your growing foetus. Putting your feet up and resting can help with this.

Stomach cramps and pains aren't usually anything serious as long as they are mild and don't last long, but do speak to your midwife or doctor if you're worried.

You may also experience back pain during pregnancy. This might be caused by hormonal changes that affect the ligaments in your body, putting strain on your lower back. Here are some things you can do to avoid or ease back pain:

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, and always bend your knees and keep a straight back when picking things up.

  • Turn by moving your feet, not twisting your spine.

  • Wear flat shoes to ensure even weight distribution.

  • Sit with a straight, well-supported back at work and at home. Think about getting a maternity support pillow.

  • Sleep on a mattress that provides proper support.

  • Ask your midwife about back care classes in your area.

  • If back pain is severe, tell your doctor or midwife.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing at 15 weeks pregnant:

  • Itchy skin. If your skin's feeling a little itchy these days, it's probably down to your hormones. Later, as your tummy grows, the stretching of the skin can cause itching. Applying an unscented moisturiser and wearing loose, non-synthetic clothing may help. Tell your midwife or doctor about any persistent or unbearable itching, especially on the hands and feet, as this may be a pregnancy related liver condition known as ICP (intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy), which needs treatment.

  • Milky discharge. You may notice more vaginal discharge during your pregnancy. The extra blood flow to your pelvic area boosts production of a thin, clear or milky fluid called ‘leucorrhoea'. Leucorrhoea helps keeps your vagina clean and free from infection. Let your doctor know if your discharge smells bad or you feel itchy or sore down there, or if it hurts when you pee.

  • Thrush. A white discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese may be thrush. When you're pregnant, the balance of bacteria in your vagina can change. This makes it easier for candida, the fungus that causes this common infection, to grow. Thrush is easy to treat during pregnancy, but check with your doctor or midwife which thrush medicines are safe to take during pregnancy. Wearing loose cotton underwear can help prevent it, and it might be a good idea to avoid perfumed soap or bath products.

  • Headaches. If you're getting headaches at 15 weeks pregnant, you're not alone. A lot of mums-to-be experience this, especially in the earlier stages of pregnancy. These are usually caused by hormonal changes, and the good news is these headaches usually improve or stop completely in the second and third trimesters. If you get headaches that are very severe, or accompanied by vision problems, pain below your ribs, vomiting or swelling of the face or extremities, call your midwife or doctor immediately. These symptoms can be signs of a rare, but serious, blood pressure disorder called pre-eclampsia.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Gentle exercise during pregnancy, and pelvic floor exercises in particular, can help equip your body to cope better with the physical changes ahead and the stresses of labour. Staying fit and active can also help you get back into shape more quickly after birth. Prenatal yoga sessions can also be a great way of staying supple and maintaining your equilibrium while you're pregnant. Always talk to your doctor or midwife before starting any new exercise, or if you have any doubts about your existing routine, as there might be some extra dos and don'ts for mums-to-be that you need to pay attention to.

  • Have you thought about where you want to give birth yet? Generally speaking, experts say the safest place to give birth is in a hospital where specialists and equipment are close at hand, but if you have no health issues or pregnancy complications, a home birth may be an option for you. You can also consider a birth centre or midwifery unit. There are lots of factors to weigh up, including your needs and preferences, the risks and benefits of each birth location, and the availability of services where you live. Whatever you decide, make sure you talk it over with your doctor and midwife and that the birth location feels right to you. Be aware that you can change your mind at any time during your pregnancy.

  • Now your little one is starting to hear sounds, it might be fun to spend a bit of time every day listening to your favourite music. There is some evidence that babies may remember the tunes they hear inside bump for several months after they are born! Listening to music is also one of the many ways to relax and lower your stress levels during pregnancy.

  • For most moms-to-be sex can be perfectly safe during pregnancy. Keep the lines of communication open with your partner, and speak to your healthcare provider if you have questions about sex during pregnancy. Keep in mind, it’s natural for you or your partner’s sex drive to be different during pregnancy, and it can even change as you move through pregnancy. For you as the mom-to-be it may be influenced by pregnancy hormones, your growing belly, and the pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • If you hope to find out your baby’s gender at the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, it’s not too far off. This ultrasound is usually done somewhere between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. In the meantime, take our fun What’s Your Baby’s Gender quiz.

15 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Should you worry about stomach pains and cramping? What can you do about them?

  • What painkillers can you take to relieve headaches or backache?

  • Is it safe to have an X-ray at your next dental appointment?

  • What are the best ways to manage stress?

  • What are the risks and benefits of any genetic tests that may be recommended in the coming weeks and months?

15 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • Your loved ones may soon be starting to organise your baby shower. Start researching the baby essentials you’ll need to add to your baby shower registry checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

  • Ask your midwife or doctor about your options for where to give birth. Choices may differ in terms of what’s available in your local area, but you are allowed to choose suitable facilities elsewhere if you’re willing and able to travel.

  • If you work, investigate your maternity leave options, including how much time is available to you and how much of it might be paid. You still have several months to go, but it’s helpful to plan ahead.

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How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.