In week 15, your uterus is growing enough to rise up and out of the pelvis. Your average weight gain for this period should be between 1 and 2 pounds a week, so don't get too crazy with eating for two, even if you are hungrier than you have been. You aren't really eating for two and only require about 250-500 extra calories a day to support a healthy pregnancy. Eating too quickly can also lead to indigestion, gas, and heartburn, common pregnancy ailments that could haunt you for months through each trimester.
Despite this potential tummy trouble, many women begin to get their mojo back around this time with an increased sex drive. As long as your doctor doesn't indicate a reason not to, sex usually is perfectly safe during this time. So feel free to get your groove on within reason.
More than just fetus growth is going on inside you. Your kidneys' filtering capacity is now greater than 60% higher than it was before pregnancy. Meaning your organs are working overtime to clear out the waste for you and your fetus. Your caregiver will regularly test your urine for sugar and protein that could potentially indicate pregnancy problems or abnormalities. This routine testing is nothing to worry about and requires only peeing in a cup.
Thanks to hormonal changes and increased blood flow, you may also experience nosebleeds and swollen gums susceptible to bleeding. Studies indicate a link between periodontal disease and premature labor, and preeclampsia, so you must prioritize dental hygiene.
With pregnancy-related hormonal changes come changes in your skin and, therefore, your skincare routine. With your face being oily one minute and dry and cracking another, it can be hard to keep up, and your regular skincare routine may not work or may irritate your newly sensitive pregnancy skin. Also, more than 90 percent of mothers-to-be will experience mole changes, skin tag growth, or skin darkening around the nipples, belly button, armpits, or inner thighs. Thankfully these changes usually subside after pregnancy.
If skin woes have you down (hello, acne and stretch marks), there are some tricks and tips you can try to find relief and some things you should avoid so you don't accidentally cause harm to your growing fetus.
Tips to Keep Skin Healthy and Vibrant
- Drink water to help keep skin hydrated
- Take your vitamins as directed by your physician and increase your consumption of vitamin-filled food like brightly colored or leafy vegetables
- Use Aloe for itchiness or irritated skin
- Cocoa butter and vitamin E lotions and creams (check with your doctor for safety before using) can relieve itchiness and calm sensitive or irritated skin. While it may not stop stretch marks from forming, it isn't a bad idea to slather up twice a day to keep skin supple and soft
- Increase your Omega 3 fatty acids with a doctor-approved supplement if your prenatal vitamin doesn't include it. Not only is this good for your developing fetus, but it is also good for your skin and can potentially reduce the risk of preterm birth.
- Avoid the sun when you can and use sunscreen daily to help prevent sunburn and skin darkening already associated with pregnancy, even without sun exposure.
- Avoid new tattoos or piercings during pregnancy as well. While the risk of infection may be low, it isn't worth the risk, and nine months isn't a long time to wait for your next artwork addition
- Avoid harsh chemicals to clean around the house. You'll likely find your skin and nose are more sensitive than they used to be. Better yet, get your partner to do the cleaning for you!
- Skip waxing in favor of shaving. The increased blood flow and hormonal changes can cause bleeding and irritation you didn't experience before pregnancy
Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Retinoids can go by many names, and all should be avoided during pregnancy as studies suggest a link between them and congenital disabilities. Check your skincare products and oral medication for Retin-A, Avage, Differin, Renova, retinol, retinyl palmitate, and Accutane. When in doubt, please consult your physician; it simply isn't worth the risk.
- Tetracycline is used to help prevent acne, but pregnancy is not the time to worry about pimples. Studies have shown that this antibiotic crosses the placenta and is absorbed by the growing fetus. It can affect the development of teeth and bones in a developing fetus.
- Beta Hydroxy Acid or Salicylic Acid have been associated with congenital disabilities and bleeding later in pregnancy
- Hydroquinone is a topical whitening agent that absorbs into your skin. While studies on Hydroquinone haven't shown a direct link between the substance and pregnancy difficulties, most caregivers recommend avoiding it to be safe.
- Benzoyl peroxide is a topical agent used to treat acne. While its safety during pregnancy hasn't been assessed, most caregivers recommend skipping this ingredient to avoid potential harm or skin irritation.
- WebMD - Week 15
- American Association of Pregnancy - Week 15