It’s “the Week 9 hurdle”. Morning sickness tends to peak in Week 9, and although it gives grief to many women, it is a part and parcel of pregnancy. What kind of difficulty does it pose to moms? What is Week 9 like for mom and baby?
9 Weeks Pregnant: Belly and maternity clothes
Although your belly’s appearance might not seem to have changed much, when you touch your lower abdomen, it will feel a little rounder than before. If the pants you have always been wearing feel a little tight around the waist, how about purchasing some maternity wear? Wearing clothes you wore pre-pregnancy could bind up your abdomen too tightly, making it difficult for you to breathe, hindering your blood circulation, and possibly affecting the baby’s growth adversely.
Symptoms: The areolas darken
The 10 to 30 small bumps found in the areolas (the colored rings around the nipples) are called Montgomery glands. These are sebaceous glands that produce oily secretions to protect the skin of the areolas and keep the nipples soft. Montgomery glands become enlarged and increase in number during the early stages of pregnancy, which is a sign that your body is getting ready for breastfeeding.
Another sign of pregnancy is the change in color of your areolas. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone causes the nipples and the areolas to become darker in color. In most cases, the color of the nipples and areolas will slowly change back to its pre-pregnancy color after delivery.
Symptoms: Constipation and frequent urination
The uterus is now about the size of a tennis ball. As the uterus continues to grow, it will gradually put pressure on the bladder and the large intestine, leading to constipation and pollakiuria (frequent urination). To combat constipation, replenish water lost and increase your intake of dietary fiber. If you feel troubled by the frequent need to urinate, you can consider using urinary incontinence pads as a precaution.
9 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of embryo (fetus) in your belly
9 Weeks Pregnant: A more human-like embryo (fetus)
The embryo is 2 to 4 cm long and weighs about 3-10 grams. The embryo, with its round head and slightly straightened neck, begins to look more human-like. Detailed parts like the fingers, toes and nails start to form. The main parts of the heart are more or less complete by now, and when you are 9 weeks pregnant, you will be able to hear Baby’s heartbeat through a Doppler heart rate monitor.
Genitals also start to form, but at this point in time, it’s still too early to be able to tell the sex of the baby. Your baby’s brain continues to grow, and the muscles in the body start reacting to light and sound. Moms usually start feeling the baby move in the second trimester. That phase is just around the corner – you just have to wait a little more!
9 Weeks Pregnant: Risk of miscarriage decreases
80% of all pregnancy losses occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In Week 9, some moms are able to confirm the presence of the embryo’s heartbeat. If you are able to do so, and there are no other abnormalities, it means that the baby is growing well and the overall risk of a pregnancy loss has decreased.
Therefore, if you have been worrying about the risk of a pregnancy loss, you can now heave a sigh of relief once you cross this “hurdle”. The next hurdle you have to cross is Week 12: the risk of pregnancy loss decreases further when the placenta is completely developed.
However, this does not mean that the risk of pregnancy loss completely disappears in the second trimester, as the risk of a late miscarriage still exists. You can maximize your chances of a healthy pregnancy by avoiding stress and strenuous exercise. Try to take it easy!
9 Weeks Pregnant: No weight gain? What should I eat?
Although morning sickness might be the most severe in this week, you only have to clear this hurdle and it will start getting better. Morning sickness might make you lose your appetite completely, or might leave you feeling worried that you are not putting on enough weight.
If you are able to stomach anything at all, try eating fruits. Fruits contain carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin and minerals that can support the growth of the baby as they are rich in nutrients. Actively consume fruits whenever you feel like you are able to keep them down.
Week 9 of pregnancy is a trying period for many moms. Morning sickness rages on for now, but it usually improves as pregnancy enters the second trimester. It might help to relieve your stress if you talk to other pregnant women who are in a position similar to yours, or women who, when it comes to pregnancy, have already been there and have done that.
Going on a date with your partner could help you kill two birds with one stone: relieve stress and have some time-out with your loved one. Remember you can always rely on your support network or get your loved ones’ support by talking to them about how you feel. If you’re all in it together, Week 9 will be over before you know it.