15 weeks and 3 days pregnant
Now the toes are lengthening and a gentle arch to the foot is beginning to take shape. Your baby can grasp her feet at will but has difficulty bringing them up to her mouth: this is not a problem a little later in pregnancy.
It’s time for another routine antenatal appointment to ensure everything is progressing well with you and your baby.
You may be booked in for an antenatal appointment at around 16 weeks, and this is normally the first formal visit you’ll have with the midwife following your booking-in appointment.
Your urine will be tested, and your blood pressure measured. Furthermore, the midwife should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat, which can be very reassuring.
Women who do not have the nuchal translucency scan at around 11–14 weeks, may be offered one of two blood tests, known as the triple test or quadruple test, which are screening tests for Down’s syndrome.
This appointment also offers you an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have, and your midwife will report the results of the routine tests you had at your booking-in appointment, or shortly thereafter.
If your blood test results show that your haemoglobin levels were low, you may be offered a prescription for iron.
You’ll need to choose clothes that accommodate your growing bump, but that doesn’t have to mean investing in a whole new maternity wardrobe just yet.
The following innovations will help to keep you comfortable and extend the life of your normal clothes for a few weeks at least:
Pregnancy support pants: these stretch with you and ease the strain on your lower back, while giving you a smoother outline.
Trouser expander: an elasticated belt that enables you to wear your jeans with a burgeoning bump. Alternatively, loop a hairband – or, for extra girth, a slice cut from a pair of tights – around the button, through the buttonhole and back.
Belly band: a wide band of stretchy fabric that you wear on your bump, to conceal the gap between your top and waistband.
Bra extenders: hook on to the fastening at the back of your bra to add up to 8cm (3in).
Borrowing: you can borrow clothes from your partner or friends who are slightly larger than you.
Maternity wear first appeared around the middle of the 19th century.
At this time a prudish society felt that pregnancy should be hidden. For this same reason, and for the wellbeing of mother and child, women were encouraged to stay in bed in the weeks leading up to the birth.