The ninth week of pregnancy advances the baby from being an embryo to a fetus which measures between 13 to 17 mm
and weighs about 1 gm. If there are multiple babies you are expecting, they will be roughly the same size and weight as the single babies. In the ninth week, there is rapid development in the baby as he/she starts looking like a small human being. Most women in this stage of pregnancy experience heartburn and indigestion as their bodies are still adjusting to the changing hormone levels.
You should be gaining weight regularly after this stage. If you are still experiencing low weight due to morning sickness, it is advisable to consult the doctor. You might experience heartburn, mood swings and bloated feelings during this stage. Hormonal changes in the body make you feel more tired and cause difficulty in sleeping patterns.
Try to create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere in the house as well as improve your sleeping position. Try to avoid sleeping on your back or stomach as this can cause problems with breathing, circulation and digestion. Sleeping on the side is the best option. The left side is especially beneficial as this will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta to the baby. A pillow can be placed under or between the legs to give support.
Your Symptoms: Many women have gained a few pounds already. This is mostly due to fluid retention and an increase in blood volume.
Baby’s Development: The heart has four chambers and the valves are forming. The fingers separate and the joints bend. The placenta is now functioning and providing most of the nourishment.
Baby’s Size: 1.8 cm (size of a grape).
To Do: If you work outside of the home, decide when you will tell your employer your news. Things to consider are if your job is safe, if you are having episodes of nausea/vomiting, and how early you start showing.
The baby has developed all the features of a human being but is still small in size. The embryonic tail has disappeared at this stage and the baby is now ready for rapid weight gain. The eyelids, which are fully formed, are tightly shut. They will open in the 28th week.
The gender of the baby can be deciphered at this stage. The baby’s joints, such as the ankles, wrists, knees and elbows, are now well developed and flexible allowing the baby to move freely in the amniotic sac. The heart of the baby develops further into four chambers and the valves begin developing. A strong fetal heartbeat should be detected at this stage by ultrasound technology. If this does not occur, the doctor might take some tests to confirm the safety of the fetus.
The baby can make a fist and begin sucking his/her thumb at this stage. In the ninth week, the baby will open its mouth for the first time. The eyes will be totally ready and well formed but the membranes that cover the eyes will be still closed. The salivary glands and vocal chord begin to develop at this stage. The hands and feet develop the fastest in this stage and the heart beats at a rate of 150 beats per minute. The head is quite large at this stage compared to the rest of the body and it curves into the chest. The baby moves freely about as the muscles continue developing. The elbows and the sex organs are fully developed. The baby is the size of a grape measuring around 11/2 inches from the head to the rump and weighing a fraction of an ounce.
Changes with your body
In the ninth week of pregnancy, a woman starts gaining weight as her appetite starts improving slightly. Some might experience slight spotting at this stage which is not a cause to worry unless the bleeding is bright red accompanied by cramps and pain. High levels of estrogen and progesterone cause the mucus membranes to swell leading to nose bleeds and nasal congestions. However, this is beneficial for the cervix. You can use a vaporizer or humidifier to alleviate these symptoms.
Morning sickness symptoms can peak during this month and you might experience discomfort which gradually declines after the eleventh month. Unless there are no negative effects of the morning symptoms on your weight and health, one need not consult a doctor.
There is a decline in sexual desire during this stage as you feel constantly tired and nauseated. Some women might experience the opposite effect due to the rising hormone levels. In either case, there is no need to panic. It is better to be aware that pregnancy can have a negative effect on your dental health and many women can experience cavities and gum infections during pregnancies known as pregnancy gingivitis. Regular brushing and flossing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste can help in reducing dental problems accompanied by an increase in calcium intake. Gum infections can lead to an increased possibility of underweight and premature babies so any tooth infection or decay needs to be treated safely by professional dentist during pregnancy.
What to expect
If you are over 35 years of age or have a family history of genetic illness, then you can talk with your health care provider who will guide you through prenatal tests. These are performed between the ninth and the twelfth week to detect chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders. The disadvantage is that these tests do not give details about the severity of the abnormality if it is detected.
Minor health problems faced by you at this stage might include varicose veins and piles (hemorrhoids) which can occur due to constipation and pressure on the legs or due to hereditary factors. One can prevent these by consuming a diet rich in fiber. Regularly exercise can improve circulation and digestion. Pelvic floor exercises can be learned. Walking or swimming are other beneficial exercises.
Aromatherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy or other ayurvedic treatments can be used. These are safe and have no side effects on the baby. Avoid incorrect postures while standing or sitting for long periods as this can aggravate symptoms. It is better to make a list of questions before visiting the doctor as your number of inquiries might be overwhelming especially if this is your first pregnancy. The uterus has increased to the size of a grapefruit. The stomach is getting bigger in size so you may need to alter your clothes to make them lose and comfortable to wear. You might still be experiencing the symptoms of early pregnancy such as nausea, dizziness and fatigue.