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Fetal development: Week 15

Lanugo protects your baby's delicate skin

Posted: 29 May 2005
by ThinkBaby

At the start of week 15 your baby is about 10 centimetres long and weighs around 50 grammes.

Around about now your baby hears his first sounds and will listen to the sounds of your body, your heartbeat and digestion, and even your voice from here on in. His skin is very thin and almost transparent, the blood vessels can be seen beneath it. He is developing soft, fine hair, called lanugo, all over his body to protect his very thin skin from the amniotic fluid. This hair will usually fall out before birth. Proper hair is now also beginning to sprout on the head and the eyebrows are also developing.

Your baby is constantly moving in the womb and may stroke the umbilical cord and he will be making complex facial expressions and may even start to suck a thumb or fingers, but these movements are still involuntary reflexes.

What’s happening with Mum?
Apart from the pigmentation of the linea nigra that many pregnant women gradually develop, you may also find that you develop other dark patches of pigmentation elsewhere, commonly on the face and known as a 'pregnancy mask'. Your breasts will already have grown quite a lot since you became pregnant, and even as early as this week they may start producing colostrum, the yellowish fluid that nourishes your baby through its first days after birth.

If you're still suffering from morning sickness then take heart from the fact that for most women this will disappear by around week 16. Many women who have had morning sickness will find that they are already experiencing increased appetite and that they can eat a wider range of foods than earlier in their pregnancy.

You may well be finding that you react more emotionally to everything from grouchy partner to cheesy films, this is down to your hormones. But your heart is literally bigger too, by now pumping 20% more blood around your body than before pregnancy. And you wonder why you tire easily!

As your bump develops you might start to experience discomfort sleeping, most midwives recommend that you sleep on your side: Try wrapping your legs round a pillow or two for support in this position.

NB: All pregnancies are different and fetal growth rates vary, this is meant only as an approximate guide to development. If you have any concerns about your developing pregnancy then speak to your doctor.

Caring for your pregnancy

Cutting the caffeine - You might be finding it hard to cut back on coffee, particularly if you're tired all the time. So here's a reminder why you should avoid relying on caffeine as a pick-up during pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy - Not only is moderate exercise safe for most pregnant women, but it brings plenty of important benefits too, so here's the how and why of pregnancy exercise.

Pregnancy experiences

Constantly tired? - I'm 15 weeks pregnant with my first baby... i literally am tired all the time and have very little energy! i can't make it through the evenings unless i have a nap at lunch time says Sophie on the forum.

You can join in the discussions and share pregnancy experiences and advice with other ThinkBaby members in the pregnancy folder.

Early show - I am already showing…a little to my horror, as I was so proud of being so tiny until 4 months last time. writes Isabelle in her pregnancy blog. If you want to keep a record of your pregnancy why not start your own blog?

Other weeks

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