Beginning in week 15 of pregnancy, the baby's sex can be seen on an ultrasound under the right conditions. However, there is a 20% chance for error on average – this is largely due to the umbilical cord or a finger being mistaken for a penis. Read on to find out what other surprises await you!
The fetus is around 3.5 inches long and weighs about 2.5 ounces.
A lot has changed: The eyes are still closed, but the cornea, iris, and lens are now fully developed. The liver and pancreas are now working properly.
Your baby is now about the size of a lemon.
Your baby drinks the amniotic fluid and can also excrete it as urine because the kidneys are have started working. They also work to filter waste products from the baby's blood. The amniotic fluid is constantly being replaced, which also removes the excretions. In the 15th week of pregnancy, the average quantity of amniotic fluid is 5 fluid ounces, although the amount is now slowly increasing.2 The amniotic fluid not only protects the baby – it also plays an important role in the lungs maturing.
The diameter of the head is generally measured to check baby’s development. It should now be about 1 inch. If you have an ultrasound scan now, you may be able to tell the sex of your baby – provided the fetus’ hands or legs are not in the way!
Fluid retention does have one positive effect: It smooths out all the wrinkles! Along with great hair, this is one of the pleasant side effects of the second trimester.
Apart from this, some pregnant women start to experience a little forgetfulness. Studies have shown that there are actual changes in the brain at this time: Parts of the brain that are responsible for emotions and problem-solving increase in size. The focus is therefore more on your pregnancy and future role as a mother, while other things take a back seat in your mind. A lack of sleep and increased hormones can also promote forgetfulness. However, this is not considered to be conventional dementia, since no brain cells are lost.
Nonetheless, it is important to make sure you do not forget certain prenatal medical check-ups: If you intend to have an amniocentesis to detect genetic changes or abnormalities in the baby, it is recommended that this be performed from the 15th week of pregnancy.
What happens during an amniocentesis?
Flakes of skin that now start to detach from the fetus and float in the amniotic fluid, as well as cells from the amniotic sac, can be removed during an "amniocentesis" (amniotic puncture) and examined for defects. For this procedure, a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the amniotic sac and 10-20 ml of amniotic fluid is extracted.
To avoid harming the baby, this is performed with the help of an ultrasound image for guidance. The fetal cells in the amniotic fluid are removed with a needle, multiplied, and tested in the laboratory. The first results are available after 1-2 days. The puncture itself takes just 5-15 minutes and is relatively painless (comparable to a standard injection).
The advantage is that any chromosomal anomalies can be reliably detected. The disadvantage of this "invasive method" is the risk of miscarriage, although the risk is low. The pregnant woman should therefore make sure she takes it easy following the procedure.
Has your sex drive suddenly increased – or have you lost all interest?
One surprising side effect of pregnancy may be a sudden nosebleed due to improved blood circulation. You may also experience constipation and shortness of breath. Increased energy and libido are also possible. As is the exact opposite – depending on how you respond to the hormones and how well you are sleeping.
The physical changes during pregnancy differ greatly from one woman to the next. It can be difficult to say what is "normal" and what is not. If you feel unwell, have a feeling that something is not right, or if you experience inexplicable pain, speak to your doctor just to be on the safe side.
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