Nine weeks along means you’re into your third month of pregnancy. Before reading further, are you all caught up on week eight and earlier articles?
It’s your baby’s final weeks as an embryo. Soon, they become a little fetus and remain that way until birth. There’s an important distinction between a fetus and an embryo, which we will get to later.
All the organs, including the vital ones – heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys, are becoming increasingly developed and will start working in some capacity.
Though so much has happened; the most significant changes have yet to occur.
Stay with us for in-depth weekly updates on your baby and progress. We’re talking about all things pregnancy, including body changes and everything to help you through every stage of this new chapter.
Here’s what to expect this week.
At a Glance: Week Nine of Pregnancy
- With hormones peaking this week, you might be experiencing an array of serious symptoms. Some will soon fade.
- Your nine-week-old embryo measures a maximum of 2.2 centimetres and is about the size of a green olive.
- Your baby will graduate from embryo to fetus in the coming weeks. We explain the distinction between the stages.
- Are your jeans and tops not fitting? Your bump’s barely there, but other body parts are responding to pregnancy. You might have put on or lost a small amount of weight – the latter is caused by morning sickness and other adverse pregnancy symptoms.
- You’re eligible for your first ultrasound and doctor’s appointment. For a high-risk pregnancy, you might want to screen for abnormalities.
- With week nine being physically and emotionally demanding, we provide tips to get you through it, including sleep, exercise, snacking and more.
Week Nine of Pregnancy Overview
You’re on the brink of achieving another pivotal moment. Your fledgling embryo, having undergone so much already, is entering another significant stage of development. It started as a single-celled zygote at conception and evolved into a multi-celled blastocyst. It then further transitioned from a blastocyst into an independent embryo with differentiating cells.
In a week or two, your embryo undergoes another metamorphosis into a fetus. What’s the difference between them? While week ten’s embryo might closely resemble a week eleven or twelve’s freshly developed fetus – the key lies in the timing.
The embryonic stage provides the groundwork for future development, where different cells assume distinct functions to shape organs, body parts and systems. Toward the end of the embryo stage, the kidneys, heart, brain, extremities and external features rapidly develop.
Once an embryo transitions into a fetus, all organs, body systems continue to grow, preparing it for the outside world.
Why share this now? Just a friendly heads-up that kids grow up so fast, jumping through different stages of life, even from the womb. Stay tuned for their graduation from embryo to fetus status soon!
It’s nearly time for the placenta to start working. Although the timing on when it’ll take on its new responsibilities varies, this unique organ is in the early stages of producing some of the hormones your baby needs. In a few short weeks, it connects the baby to its mother, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your progeny and removing waste from the womb.
Like your baby, your placenta forms after fertilisation and continues to grow until it’s fully matured by 34 weeks. It starts off small but ends up the size of a funny-looking pancake.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Nine of Pregnancy
As a mother going through hellish symptoms, you’ll want this week to fly by. But don’t wish away time too quickly – it’s a significant period for your baby! Here’s what’s happening in your womb.
- With another week gone by, your baby’s tadpole days are in the past. Its body continues to unfold while its little tail is no longer there.
- Since week eight, your baby’s grown into the size of a green olive and is approximately 22 mm or 2.2 centimetres long.
- As the legs and arms continue straightening, small spaces appear from where knee joints, ankles, wrists, and elbows grow. These developments allow your baby to wriggle around and flex their limbs.
- At the ends of their hands are individual fingers that are tiny but less stubby than last week.
- Your baby’s heart, now divided into four chambers, has started growing valves. These valves bear the crucial role of preventing the backflow of blood.
- Internally, other major internal organs – the brain, gut and kidneys – continue developing.
- At nine weeks, the brain, currently a smooth and small structure, is firing off neurons that make small, involuntary movements possible.
- Your baby’s many existing facial features are becoming more defined, showcasing a cute nose you can see in profile, along with developing eyelids and ears.
- The nearly fully formed mouth is beginning to grow teeth and taste buds. From the latter, 21 baby teeth grow, fall out during childhood, and are replaced by permanent adult teeth. While some newborns have teeth, it’s more common for pearly whites to erupt around four months.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises early embryonic development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes For Week Nine of Pregnancy
Historically, week nine is notorious among pregnant women. Hormones have been coursing through the body for weeks now. By week nine, these powerful chemicals are at their highest levels, leading to the experience of pregnancy’s most challenging physical and emotional symptoms.
However, we have good news. Once they’ve peaked, these chemicals level off by the end of trimester one.
This week, you might feel inexplicably emotional and experience heightened morning sickness. And for different reasons, you may be running to the toilet to urinate more. You might also be visited by a host of other exacerbated experiences.
Here’s everything going on in your body and possible pregnancy symptoms.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Your Growing Uterus
Your uterus is now considerably larger than it was pre-pregnancy and might feel quite firm. This feeling of firmness is the uterus stretching to fit your growing child.
2. Weight Gain Or Loss
Struggling with a thicker waistline? Some women pick up one or two kilograms over the first trimester.
However, more commonly, morning sickness and other digestion issues might cause the opposite. Mothers-to-be can lose weight because of nausea, vomiting and a reduced appetite. Weight loss is common, and no cause for concern if it’s not significant.
3. Standard Pregnancy Symptoms
Week nine heralds a continuation of the pregnancy symptoms you’ve been struggling with, only more pronounced. If you feel you’ve gotten off lightly, brace yourself, as your luck might run out this week.
Here’s a rundown of pregnancy symptoms for week nine.
- Morning sickness (queasiness, nausea and vomiting)
- Food aversions and cravings
- Digestion issues – bloating, flatulence constipation, etc
- Abdominal cramping and discomfort
- Mild lightheaded and dizziness
- Tender, growing breasts
- Nose bleeds
- Mild shortness of breath
- Flu-like symptoms – like a stuffy nose.
- Vaginal discharge
- Heightened sense of smell
- Emotional upheaval
- Salivating or tasting pennies
- Vivid dreams
- New symptom: itchy boobs!
Red Flags for Pregnancy Week Nine
Pregnancy symptoms are unpleasant but are typical signs of a healthy pregnancy.
It’s hard, however, not to worry about every symptom.
And while it’s not helpful to imagine all the worst-case scenarios coming true, pregnancy complications, like miscarriages, infections and ectopic pregnancies, are possibilities during the first trimester.
Differentiating between typical symptoms and the warning signs of major health scares might be crucial to your well-being. Read our list and immediately contact your provider if you experience the below. Please note that we’ve included some but not all possible danger signs – read here for more.
1. Bleeding or Spotting
Vaginal bleeding or spotting is often a normal, early pregnancy experience.
Many pregnant women who bleed vaginally go on to have successful pregnancies, uncomplicated births and healthy children.
A heavier flow, however, might indicate something serious, like pregnancy loss. Chat with your doctor if you’re spotting or bleeding.
2. Hyperemesis Gravidarum: When Morning Sickness Becomes Debilitating
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a rare form of morning sickness featuring severe and prolonged nausea and vomiting.
If left untreated, the affected mother can suffer from serious dehydration and weight loss. Additionally, the fetus could be adversely affected, like experiencing a low birth weight, if the mother doesn’t receive early medical treatment.
3. Severe Pelvic Pain on One Side, Shoulder Pain, Light-Headedness and Vaginal Bleeding
An ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening, where the embryo grows outside the womb, typically in the fallopian tubes.
As the pregnancy progresses, these tubes might rupture, leading to internal bleeding. An ectopic or tubal pregnancy is a medical emergency that necessitates immediate surgery. If you experience extreme lower pelvic pain, shoulder pain, lightheadedness, etc. -immediately seek urgent medical treatment.
Week Nine Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
Week nine might be challenging for your mind and body, so take extra care this week.
Here’s a recap of everything you can do to feel better and essential must-dos.
1. Combat Morning Sickness.
Relieve your nausea by eating mild-tasting foods, staying hydrated, and eating smaller meals or snacks. If all else fails, ginger, broth, and bananas are go-to foods and beverages that soothe morning sickness. Peppermint tea, hardboiled sweets, and carbs like crackers and toast are other safe options.
2. Decreasing Fatigue
We’ve extensively covered fatigue because it’s a big aspect of your pregnancy. Feeling drained can affect your quality of life, especially if you can’t restore your energy. However, there are some ways to decrease your tiredness.
Your body’s in overdrive, cooking a baby, producing hormones and creating unique pregnancy organs (the placenta, if you didn’t know), so it makes sense that you need more sleep.
Take naps during the day if your bladder and midnight thoughts keep you up. On the topic of bladders, reduce your fluid intake before bedtime so you don’t need to go throughout the night. And if you can’t nap, rest, relax and put your feet up.
Choose an exercise that suits you – walking, pilates, yoga and swimming are good pregnancy options.
Though you might want to collapse on the couch and binge-watch your favourite shows, stroll around the block or roll out your exercise mat instead.
Keep on Hydrating
Drinking water is key to a healthy pregnancy, and being insufficiently hydrated causes various health issues. You might feel tired if you don’t drink enough H20.
Keep Taking Your Pregnancy Vitamins
Your pregnancy vitamins substitute all the essential nutrients your diet lacks and provide health benefits that support you and your baby. Continue to take them.
3. Improve Heartburn
Does heartburn have you clutching at your chest?
Soothe your heartburn in the following ways
- Change your diet (avoid chocolate, citrus, spicy and fatty meals).
- Eat smaller meals.
- Slow your eating pace.
- Sit upright after you eat.
- Propping yourself up when horizontal.
- Get a pregnancy pillow! We recommend this one.
4. Improving your Mood
Trimester one is a wild emotional roller coaster aggravated by hormonal changes and the stress and anxiety of pregnancy. Your emotions might be everywhere, swinging like a pendulum from ecstasy, intense fear, and unbridled rage to unexplained tears.
Keep your emotions in check by bonding with family, speaking to your partner, exercising, and meditating to ease your mind and keep you calm.
Some women keep a pregnancy planner to jot down their thoughts, emotions and concerns. How about this one?
5. Go For A Screening
Your doctor might advise that you take optional genetic screenings for chromosomal disorders and other abnormalities or defects.
An important one is the nuchal translucency (NT) test, a two-part, non-invasive exam that assesses a child’s risk for chromosomal abnormalities and certain congenital heart disorders. It includes a blood test that measures the levels of certain types of proteins and hormones and an ultrasound to measure the thickness of your unborn baby’s neck. An increased neck thickness indicates a high possibility of Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and other genetic disorders. Other assessments could also be suggested.
While they’re not diagnostic, these tests have a high accuracy rate for predicting Down syndrome and other chromosome disorders.
Do I Need an Ultrasound for Week Nine of Pregnancy?
By week nine, you’ve either had an ultrasound or are scheduled for one soon. As mentioned, most first scans occur between 8 to 13 or 14 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the advice given by your healthcare provider.
Before we go into what you can expect on the day, let’s demystify the mechanics of an ultrasound. What’s an ultrasound? Simply put, an ultrasound is a painless, diagnostic test integral to antenatal treatments. The test uses sound waves that travel through the uterus and bounce off your baby as vibrations. What you see on screen are these echoes or vibrations translated into electrical signals and projected as a black-and-white image on the screen.
An ultrasound records the embryo’s growth, ensuring it’s aligned with a healthy size based on the date of your last period. In addition, the sonographer measures from the crown to the rump to determine the embryo’s gestational age and predict a due date. This is only when you’ll learn how many little ones are on the way.
Normally, the first ultrasound is done transvaginally or through the vagina. It’s performed this way for a closer, more detailed view of your growing but tiny embryo. It’s also looking for cardiac activity, which can be challenging to detect at this early stage.
Besides the ultrasound, this appointment with your OBGYN includes health tests (blood and urine examinations) and questions about your medical and family history and personal details. Genetic screenings might be recommended if you’re over a certain age, have a family history of specific disorders or show other risk factors.
If you’ve had your first ultrasound, when’s the next? Around the 18-week mark.
Fun Facts and Myths for Pregnancy Week Nine
- Can the shape of your belly predict the sex of your baby? As the old wive’s tale goes, if your belly is low, you’ll have a boy, and if your belly is high, your baby’s a girl. This old legend is false. Some women have gravity-defying bellies because they have stronger abdominal muscles or are going through a first pregnancy, and their muscles haven’t stretched.
- This myth could be true – if you have terrible heartburn, your baby will be born with a head of hair. The same hormones that relax your stomach muscle cause fetal hair growth.
Week Nine of Pregnancy Checklist
- Sleep more, move more and hydrate!
- Treat your symptoms and focus on self-care.
- Look out for warning signs and pregnancy complications.
- It might be ultrasound week this week.
- Consider a genetic screening for a high-risk pregnancy.
- Don’t go anywhere – the week 10 article comes out soon!