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2nd trimester: Week 15

Your Baby

Your baby weighs about 1 3/4 ounces and measures between 4 1/2 inches from crown to rump. Fine, downy hair (called lanugo, which he'll shed before birth, grows on his body. Hair is sprouting on top of his head, too, although whatever color it is may change. His eyebrows have begun to fill in. Your baby hiccups, but he can't yet make a sound because his trachea is still filled with fluid, not air. The intestinal tract continues to develop.

Your Body

These days, pregnancy is leaving you slightly breathless—literally. It's a mild annoyance, but unfortunately you can expect the problem to worsen as your uterus pushes up against your diaphragm, leaving little room for the lungs to expand. It's nothing to worry about, but you should call your doctor immediately if you're unable to catch your breath, your fingertips turn blue or your heart feels like it's trying to jump out of your chest.

Do's and Don'ts

Now that you're past 14 weeks, make an appointment to get a flu shot. It's safe and may help prevent you from getting sick and suffering serious complications such as pneumonia. You most likely won't feel any aftereffects from the vaccine, other than some soreness in your arm. At worst, you may develop a mild fever and feel run down for a few days. 

Health

Discuss with your doctor or midwife the pros and cons of taking the triple screen, a blood test given in the next few weeks that measures your baby's risk for birth defects such as Down syndrome and spina bifida. It gives you valuable information about the health of your baby, but false positives are common; out of 1,000 women, 50 will be told that their fetus is at risk, but only one or two babies will actually be born with Down syndrome.

Mom to Mom

"I gave birth to my second child last July 30. I went into labor after leaving the office on July 29. Working up to that day was too stressful. I wish I'd taken a week off to unwind and mentally prepare for the job to come." -Bernadette Cooper, Cleveland, OH

Shopping

If your regular bras are starting to pinch, invest in ones made especially for pregnant women. Good maternity bras should provide you with ample support, have wide straps and be made of fabric that won't irritate your already sensitive nipples.

Exercise

It's not too late to sign up for prenatal yoga, a gentle regimen that combines exercise tailored especially for your changing body with breathing techniques. An added bonus: You'll meet other expectant moms, and if you hit it off with some of them, you've got a built-in mother's group waiting in the wings. 

Relationships

Your off-and-on libido may now be returning from its nausea- and fatigue-induced first-trimester sabbatical, so take advantage of it while it's here. It just may pull another disappearing act sometime during the third trimester. But avoid one position: the missionary. Lying flat on your back is not a good idea because it may put too much pressure on the veins that deliver oxygen to the baby.

Siblings

Look through baby photos with your older child to help her understand what newborns are like. Share tales of how she discovered the world (how she'd cry to tell you she was hungry or how she'd laugh when you puffed your cheeks), and point out that her new sibling may do the same things. 

Twins

Many parents of twins swear by "co-bedding" because it saves space, and many believe babies sleep better with their womb-partner close by. This practice, however, is not recommended by the SIDS Alliance. Laura Reno, a spokesperson for the group, points out that you don't know when an infant will begin rolling over, and if a twin can burrow his face into his sibling, there could be an elevated SIDS risk.