Welcome to your week 15 pregnancy update where we outline the changes you and your baby are experiencing.
Aw – so cute! So, umm, hairy. Baby is now covered in fine hair called lanugo and will be sprouting thicker hair on her head and eyebrows over the coming weeks. The lanugo helps regulate her body temperature and actually grows in unique patterns like fingerprints all over her body. Most of that hair will fall out in the later weeks of pregnancy, and end up being swallowed by baby as she inhales and exhales the amniotic fluid!
The tiny bones inside baby’s ears are now starting to harden and she is beginning to hear sounds, though it is unlikely she can make sense of them. Her brain’s not yet mature enough to process sound correctly, but over the coming weeks she will start to hear your digestive sounds, heart beat and voice (although it will be muffled by the amniotic fluid she’s swimming around in).
Baby now has her taste buds and some studies suggest the foetus can savour the flavour of your adult meals which contain strong ingredients like garlic – although it’s probably not as tasty for baby as the meal you have managed to eat as baby can only take in the flavours transmitted through the amniotic fluid rather than that pasta sauce! The amniotic fluid increases around your baby as she grows and moves more freely, floating like an astronaut in space.
Baby’s umbilical cord is now completely mature. The cord contains two arteries and one vein, enclosed and protected by a thick gristle-like substance called ‘Wharton’s Jelly’. The umbilical vein gives baby the oxygen-rich, nutrient filled blood from the placenta, with the umbilical arteries returning the depleted and deoxygenated blood back to your body.
Many of your baby’s major organ systems are increasing in capacity – especially her amazing tiny heart and circulatory system.
Just like adults, all babies are different and develop at varying rates in the womb. This information gives a general idea of your baby’s development and progress.
The Mum Update
This will be a very exciting week for you! When you visit the doctor or midwife, there is a very good chance they will be able to pick up your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. The Doppler determines the rate of your baby’s heartbeat. If the doctor or midwife can’t pick up your baby’s heartbeat yet, don’t fret. It is still very early in your pregnancy and you probably will be able to hear it in the next week or two.
If you are having trouble sleeping trying drinking a glass of warm milk or having a warm bath before bed. Don’t run the water too hot as it’s not healthy to raise your temperature above 37.8°C while pregnant as it increases your heart rate, reduces blood flow to the foetus, and potentially puts the baby under stress.
You may even look pregnant now which is a bonus after all the hard work getting to this stage however this means you might also be finding getting comfortable in bed a little challenging. Side sleeping is the best. Don’t lie on your back when you sleep because as your uterus gets bigger, lying on your back can place the uterus on top of important blood vessels (the aorta and the inferior vena cava) that run down the back of your abdomen. This can decrease circulation to your baby and parts of your body. Some pregnant women also find it harder to breathe when lying on their back. Lying on your stomach puts extra pressure on your growing uterus.