15 Weeks of Pregnancy | Second Trimester | Fetal Stage

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At 15 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus starts a period of rapid growth. This growth will continue over the next month and occurs mainly in the sensory organs [1,2]. Taste buds form on their tongue, and the ears are almost in place.

The fetus has fragile skin that is developing hair follicles. These hair follicles may start creating pigment as your fetus grows hair on its head and eyebrows [3]. The skin is so thin that blood vessels are visible through it.

As the fetus’s bones continue to ossify, bone marrow also develops [3]. Muscle development means the fetus may be able to suck its thumb and make a fist [3]. Ultrasound observations at this point in pregnancy show fetuses have developed a preference for their left or right hands [4].

1. Moore KL, Persaud TVN, Torchia MG. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016.
2. Betts JG, Young KA, Wise JA, Johnson E, Poe B, Kruse DH, et al. 28.3 Fetal Development. Anatomy & Physiology. Houston: OpenStax; 2013.
3. Harms R, Wick M, editors. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Boston: Da Capo Press; 2011.
4. Hepper PG, Shahidullah S, White R. Handedness in the human fetus. Neuropsychologia. 1991;29: 1107–1111.

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Produced and written by: Samantha Lattof, PhD MSc
Medically reviewed by: Ayodeji Olelakan Abere, MD MBA MHA
Animation by: SciePro / Pond5
Music by: audiomarket / Pond5
Narration by: Ava / Wellsaid


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

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