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Pregnancy At Week 15

Pregnancy At Week 15

You and your unborn child will experience many changes throughout the entire nine month time period, and pregnancy week 15 is no exception. Here is what you can expect this week!

1. Week 15 Baby and Mother Growth Benchmarks

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    Your unborn baby will weigh approximately as much as an apple by the time you reach the 15th week. You might be surprised by how much your body has already changed when you consider that your child is only two-and-a-half ounces and about four inches long, but you should still have full mobility. Most women will not experience a lot of weight gain by this point either. However, your body is preparing to accommodate a much larger baby in the near future.

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    Meanwhile, the baby is beginning to be able to sense light. You can probably find out the baby’s gender at this stage, but it may still take a few more weeks to get a definitive answer. Either way, the lungs are beginning to develop air sacs, and taste buds are starting to form. Your child’s legs have outpaced their arms, and all of the limbs and joints can are now movable.

    2. Symptoms to Expect During Pregnancy Week 15

    The majority of women will stop dealing with morning sickness by pregnancy week 15, but do not be surprised if you still occasionally feel nauseated. At this stage, new symptoms may begin to develop that have nothing to do with your stomach. It’s relatively common for pregnancy hormones to cause dental issues such as gingivitis. This means that your gums may be swollen or red, and they could bleed or feel sensitive when you brush your teeth.

    Other symptoms that you can expect during the 15th week include varicose veins, a stuffy nose, headaches, round ligament pain, dizziness, faintness and the dreaded pregnancy brain. In most cases, none of these symptoms will lead to any serious issues. However, it is important to tell your doctor if you experience any severe round ligament pain. Additionally, you should sit, lie or kneel down immediately whenever you feel dizzy or lightheaded in order to protect yourself and your baby.

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    3. Pregnancy Week 15: Items of Concern

    Gingivitis is much more than just an irritant. If you fail to get this problem properly addressed, it could lead to issues such as preeclampsia and even premature labor. Although both of these potential complications are most likely to happen much later on, you need to take steps during the 15th week to protect your baby.

    4. Activities for Week 15

    As previously mentioned, your baby is beginning to sense light, even though their eyes are still fused shut. If you shine a flashlight toward your belly, you just might feel your baby move. This is also the perfect week to begin talking to your baby on a regular basis to initiate the bonding process. This can be anything from speaking directly to the child all the way to reading emails aloud.

    At this stage, it is normal for both soon-to-be parents to feel stressed out. Therefore, you should also set aside some time this week to do something relaxing as a couple. You could go on a date, take a candlelit bubble bath or even indulge in some adult coloring together. Ultimately, the activity itself does not matter as long as it is able to help both of you relax.

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    5. What to Expect When the Baby Moves

    You might not feel your baby move for a few more weeks even with the flashlight trick, but it is still a good idea to know what to expect. Be aware that he or she has been moving undetected by you for at least seven weeks already. Once you begin to feel it, you may initially assume that you are merely hungry or experiencing gas. Over time, though, the tapping or popcorn popping sensation will become more noticeable and distinguishable.

    6. Weight Gain Goals

    By pregnancy week 15, it is normal to have gained anywhere from nothing to 10 pounds. Most women have a difficult time putting on more than a few pounds by this stage because of the morning sickness that plagues them until the first trimester is over. However, now that you are able to keep food down, it is time to focus on gaining a healthy amount of weight for you and your baby.

    A good goal to shoot for is one pound per week from now until the baby is born. Do not be distressed if you gain a little less or more than this, though, as long as you average about four pounds a month.

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    7. Tips for a More Comfortable 15th Week

    Gas and bloating are very common by week 15, but you do not have to allow this to make you physically uncomfortable. Instead, avoid foods that are known to cause gas, including beans, broccoli, cabbage and anything that has been fried. You can also cut down on bloating and indigestion by eating several small meals per day. This may take more effort than making three larger meals, but your body will thank you for it.

    As you progress further into your second trimester, it will be time to tell everyone your big news if you have not shared this information yet. You will also want to read up on tips that will help you do everything from relieve lower back pain to continue having a pleasurable sex life throughout the rest of your pregnancy.

    Featured photo credit: Vladimir Pustovit via flic.kr

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    Published on October 19, 2018

    The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

    The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

    Are you scared of working out whilst pregnant? Or simply not sure how to proceed? Everything seems slightly more daunting once you’re carrying and creating a whole other person.

    In this article I will give you specific advice, tips and strategies for working out while pregnant. Ensuring that you, and your baby, are safe. Not only that but you will both benefit.

    Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant

    It is clear that everyone, not just you but your baby, and probably your partner and other kids will benefit from you working out while pregnant. If you’re sleeping better and feel less stress, you can guarantee everyone in the household is going to feel better.

    How you benefit from working out while pregnant:

    • Reduced incidence of lower back pain
    • 30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes
    • Reduced likelihood of unplanned cesarian
    • Lower incidence and reduce severity of depression
    • Less pregnancy weight gain
    • Lower risk of urinary incontiennce
    • Reduced pregnancy constipation
    • Less pregnancy tiredness
    • May have a shorter labour

    How your baby benefits from working out while pregnant:

    • A healthier heart
    • Normal birth weight
    • Quicker neurological development
    • Reduced risk of respiratory distress syndrome (for infants of high-risk women)
    • Less maternal stress could reduce impact on immune system development

    Instant Big-Rocks for Working out While Pregnant

    Before we get cracking into what really will benefit, here are some instant ‘big-rocks’ when it comes to working out while pregnant.

    Safety first: Check with your midwife

    Each person and pregnancy is individual – and as I”m not speaking to you in person, the first pre-qualifier is that you check with your doctor that you’re ok to work out while pregnant. In certain circumstances, it is not recommended due to potential complications arising from exercise.

    If you’re new to exercising or have just fallen pregnant do check with your GP or midwife before commencing or recommencing your exercise program.

    Exercise Check In Second – No lying Flat or Crunches

    Crunches are a whole other issue in regards to pre and post natal training that I’ll get into during another article.

    For now, know that lying flat on your back puts pressure on your body, especially after 16 weeks. The weight of your bump pressing on certain blood vessels can reduce cardiac output, make you feel dizzy and affect the flow of blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to your baby.

    While this means traditional stomach crunches are out, you can and should still include core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises in your routine. These I’ll get to later in the article.

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    Third Intensity Check In – No High Intensity Workouts

    When it comes to exercise intensity, it is best to abide by the guideline “to be able to comfortably hold a conversation” whilst working out. Unless you are an athlete and extremely used to very high heart rates whilst you workout, keeping your rate of perceived exertion to a 7 out of 10 is best practice.

    Experts agree that you should avoid undertaking activities that will raise your core temperature by more than 2°C – or above 38.9°C. This is because such a temperature change may result in hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia). Hyperthermia during pregnancy has been linked to a twofold increase in the risk of birth defects impacting the spine or brain.

    As such, it is not advisable to use hot tubs or spas during pregnancy, and hot yoga should be avoided as well as parking in only moderate intensity exercise.

    Final & Fourth Point – No high contact/dangerous sports

    For obvious reasons, contact sports or sports in which it’s likely you can fall or have an accident should be avoided.

    For example scuba diving while pregnant should be avoided as your baby will have no protection against decompression sickness (‘the bends’) or gas embolism – bubbles in the bloodstream that can cut off blood supply or cause breathing difficulties.

    Similarly, horse riding, climbing, cycling, gymnastics and other activities that require extreme balance are best avoided as your centre of gravity shifts and affects your balance.

    Certainly, sports like kick boxing, jujitsu or rugby in which contact is prevalent should be avoided for bump protection.

    Actual Workouts You Can Do While Pregnant

    1. Let your personal trainer or group exercise instructor know that you’re pregnant

    In doing so they can assist you in providing expert advice or refer you to a qualified practitioner in your area. If you’re unsure ask your GP or Midwife for a referral.

    2. Use your breath to engage your core and pelvic floor throughout your workout programs

    Your breath plays a big part in controlled core to assist with labour and reduce back pain. We each take thousands of breaths per day, as as your baby grows pressure is placed upon the lungs and pelvic floor.

    Preparing and practicing proper breath ensures that your core remains as integrated and activated as possible throughout and after your pregnancy.

    3. Find a Holistic Core Restore Coach

    The reason the Holistic Core Restore® programmes are more effective than performing keels or traditional abdominal exercise alone for true core restore and pelvic floor activation. A Hollisitc Core Restore Coach will work with you to integrate your core and pelvic floor with your whole body through a series of movements and lifestyle factors.

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    4. Join a Pre & Post Natal Class

    Join a Pre & Post Natal Class in order to move in specific ways designed to boost your health and recovery post birth.

    This not only provides you with a chance to connect with other pre & post natal women in your area to and create a community; but also provides you access to pre & post natal experts who can give you tailored advice for exercising whilst pregnant.

    5. Focus on strengthening the glute muscles

    Focus on strengthening the glute muscles to counteract the anterior tilt produced by your expanding bump.

    Most people will simply focus on keeping the core engaged and active to help the ‘pre-mummy-tummy’ bounce back. When in actual fact the synergist muscle to the core for pelvic stability is the butt.

    Really focus on strengthening the glute muscles in order to support the core, posture and back.

    Hinge movements such as single leg romanian deadlifts are a brilliant way to do so. You can do this holding a Kettlebell or Dumbell but also, once the bump is big enough just using your bodyweight.

    6. Enjoy swimming

    Enjoy swimming, especially in your third trimester, to remove weight and boost lymphatic drainage of your feet and ankles.

    It’s well known that your ankles swell during the last months of pregnancy. This is due to the changes in posture from the weight of the stomach pulling down towards the floor.

    Consequently, this causes the front of the hip to become compressed. And this in turn reduces circulation of the lymphatic fluid in the lower body.

    One way to improve this circulation is to get into water as the pressure from the water removes the weight of the bump whilst providing pressure to the legs improving circulation.

    7. Bring layers to your workouts

    Bring layers to your workouts so that you can add and remove layers as you warm up and cool down.

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    As previously mentioned, changes in body temperature can be dangerous for the baby – using layers so that you can keep your temperature constant is one the the most simple and best things you can do whilst working out while pregnant.

    8. Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts

    Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts – squat, lunge, anti-rotate, push, carry, hinge, pull.

    “We love pregnant mamas to be regularly training their squats, since a low squat is the ideal position for working through contractions and pushing during labor.”

    They also improve pelvic floor strength and elasticity to help prevent tearing during the natural labor process and teach abdominal strength relative to hip mobility for an easier labor and faster postnatal recovery.

    Kiberd and her team prefer front squats done with at least a 12-kilogram kettlebell held at the chest. (Choose an appropriate weight for your level.)

    “The kettlebell gives great feedback to the muscles that need to engage to stand you back up and to stabilize your weight while you’re down in the squat,” she explains.

    And once the bump gets big? “No weight on the front is needed,” she says. “The belly is that natural weight.”

    9. Do exercise that your enjoy

    Because really if you’re enjoying it so will bump and you’ll feel less stressed.

    Do not making working out while pregnant a chore – if it becomes that way, seek advice from an expert in your gym or area on some new varied things that you can try.

    10. Practice anti-rotation exercises

    Practice anti-rotation exercises whilst focussing on the breath for core integration and activation.

    The Palloff press (a core stabilizer done on a cable machine) and the bear crawls offer the same degree of effectiveness.

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    “These two exercises engage the external and internal obliques, which are involved in stabilizing the torso in rotation and help stabilize the shoulders down and back.”

    11. Make sure to wind down properly

    Cooling down slowly after your workouts and providing a little leeway time before your next appointment will reduce your stress levels and help you feel more balanced.

    It will also stop sharp changes in body temperature that are non-beneficial to your baby.

    Take your time and enjoy each session for what it is.

    The Bottom Line

    You will have to make fitness modifications as your body changes, but deep down, you know that’s ok. Dr Dawn Harper says

    “We’re now seeing evidence that exercising in pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for your baby’s future health. Pregnancy exercise can have a huge impact on your personal experience of pregnancy, too. Provided you follow the expert guidelines, it’s safe for most women to continue and even start exercising in pregnancy. Just make sure you check with your midwife or doctor first, in case there are any specific medical reasons why you should avoid being physically active in pregnancy.”

    There are certain things that are essential. The first being to check with your Dr/Midwife to be given the ‘OK’ to exercise.

    There are definite ‘no-nos’ such as abstaining from contact or dangerous sports as well as performing extreme high intensity workouts that bring your heart rate and temperature very, abnormally high for you. It is also contraindicated that you perform any exercises lying on your back.

    The exciting thing is that you can and should exercise. You simply have to adapt to what is possible by seeking advice of a local pre & post natal expert. If you take one sentence away let it be this:

    Focus upon your breath, workout at a 7/10 level, strengthen your glutes and perform whole body integrated exercises preferentially led by a pre & post natal expert.

    And finally, if in doubt, get in the pool for some weight off your feet and relax!

    References

    1. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013(CD0011):1-100.
    2. Sanabria‐Martínez G et al. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions on preventing gestational diabetes mellitus and excessive maternal weight gain: a meta‐analysis. BJOG 2015;122(9):1167-74.
    3. Price BB et al. Exercise in pregnancy: effect on fitness and obstetric outcomes-a randomized trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;44(12):2263-9.
    4. Domenjoz I et al. Effect of physical activity during pregnancy on mode of delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211(4):401.e1-e11.
    5. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
    6. Robledo-Colonia AF et al. Aerobic exercise training during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in nulliparous women: a randomised trial. J Physiother 2012;58(1):9-15.
    7. Perales M et al. Benefits of aerobic or resistance training during pregnancy on maternal health and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review. Early Hum Dev 2016;94:43-8..
    8. Shi W et al. Epidemiology and risk factors of functional constipation in pregnant women. PloS one 2015;10(7):e0133521
    9. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
    10. Barakata et al. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of labor. A randomized clinical trial 2018, 224 33-40
    11. May LE et al. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. Early Hum Dev 2010;86(4):213-7.
    12. Bisson M et al. Physical activity volumes during pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies assessing the association with infant’s birth weight. AJP Reports 2016;6(02):e170-e97.
    13. Labonte-Lemoyne E et al. Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2016:1-8.
    14. Muktabhant B et al. Diet or exercise, or both, for preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015 Jun 15;(6):CD007145.
    15. Marques AH, Bjorke-Monsen AL, Teixeira AL, Silverman MN. Maternal stress, nutrition and physical activity: impact on immune function, CNS development and psychopathology. Brain Research. 2015;1617:28–46

    Featured photo credit: Jernej Graj via unsplash.com

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