Welcome to your fifteenth week of pregnancy! You’re one week closer to meeting and holding your sweet baby in your arms, and you’re even closer to finding out the gender when you have your next ultrasound! Depending on your doctor, you might even find out this week! I couldn’t wait until my scheduled gender ultrasound at 20 weeks, so I went to Fetal Fotos (a company that offers gender ultrasounds earlier than most doctors) at 15 weeks. And the planning for my baby BOY’S nursery began! Yeah...I was just a little bit impatient. But it was so, so worth it!
I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time brushing my teeth during the first trimester when I was fighting morning sickness. When I knew brushing and flossing (and don’t even MENTION gargling mouthwash) would inevitably make me throw up, I have to admit I thought more than once, “Oh, what’s the point?!?” If I was supposed to be getting my teeth clean by brushing them, it seemed more than a little counterproductive to throw up and cover them with stomach acid at the same time. Did I actually skip brushing my teeth? Well, after pregnancy and childbirth, I don’t have many secrets. But that one is all mine. Since the second trimester brings some much-needed relief from that nausea you’re probably all-too-familiar with, now is a good time to step up your dental hygiene game. Especially because you might be noticing that those same pregnancy hormones that wreaked havoc on your energy, stomach, and emotions during the first trimester are now causing problems for your teeth. That’s right, these hormones make it much more likely for plaque to build up and gingivitis to develop, causing bleeding of the gums. Ouch! If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontis, which is also linked to premature labor and preeclampsia. Ummmm, no thank you! Luckily, you’ve been practicing your whole life to avoid these problems! You can avoid plaque buildup and gingivitis by eating healthy, avoiding sugar, brushing and flossing twice a day, and visiting your dentist regularly. When you do go to the dentist, make sure to tell him or her that you’re pregnant so you get the extra care your sensitive mouth needs right now. Speaking of your mouth, now that you’re finally able to keep some food down you might also be experiencing the famous pregnancy heartburn and indigestion. And once again, you have those pregnancy hormones to blame. You can avoid heartburn and indigestion by eating smaller meals and paying attention to the foods that seem to trigger these symptoms.
Your baby’s mouth is also the focus of this week, as he or she starts practicing breathing, sucking, and swallowing amniotic fluid. All of this practice means baby will have learned those skills and will be fully developed by the time he or she is born. However, just because your sweet, little one knows how to eat doesn't mean you won't have more than one power struggle at mealtime. Unfortunately, the skill of eating vegetables isn't taught in the womb. If you have an ultrasound soon, you’ll also notice that your baby’s eyes and ears are moving to the correct positions, and that he or she is really starting to look like a baby now. Some people even say they can see their son’s or daughter’s profile when they compare ultrasound pictures to their newborn’s face. This just gives you one more thing to look forward to...as if you needed another!
At this point in their pregnancy, most mamas report that their morning sickness is gone and that they have so much more energy. Use this time and newfound energy to start getting your house in order, especially if it’s not in the tip-top shape you expected before you were expecting.