By the ninth week of pregnancy, you and your baby are going through many changes. Read on to learn about what to expect this week.
Changes in Your Body
At nine weeks, you probably won’t appear pregnant to other people, but you may notice changes in your body.
Depending on your size before pregnancy, your clothes may feel tighter due to your thickening waistline or hormone-induced bloating. Your breasts continue to grow fuller and your nipples darker. As your blood volume increases in order to carry nutrition to your baby, you may notice that your veins are more prominent.
Your baby is now about 3/4-inch long in your ninth week of pregnancy. Major organs continue developing, your baby’s arms are growing, and his or her elbows can bend. Tiny toes develop and the ears and eyelids that began emerging a week ago continue to form.
Your baby is becoming more active, although it’s too soon for you to feel the motion. It may be possible for the heartbeat to be detected on a handheld Doppler, but this will depend on where your baby is in your uterus.
Twin Development at Week 9
You may discover that you’re carrying twins if you have an ultrasound this week. Some women carrying multiples may have more intense pregnancy symptoms than women who are only carrying one baby. Allow yourself time to rest. Speak with your doctor if you have excessive morning sickness.
Symptoms you’ve experienced so far in your pregnancy are likely to continue and even intensify this week. These symptoms include:
- nausea or vomiting
- frequent urination
- tender or tingly breasts
- irritability or unexpected emotions
- heartburn or constipation
- food aversions or cravings
- increased hunger
To combat these symptoms, try any of the following:
- Wear a maternity bra to relieve sore breasts. A sports bra may also help.
- Drink plenty of water and eat high-fiber foods to combat constipation and provide fullness.
- Stand up slowly, don’t skip meals, and avoid standing in place too long, to help prevent dizziness.
- Eat several small meals a day and avoid greasy and spicy foods to help prevent heartburn and nausea.
- Morning sickness may be eased by eating salty crackers or dry toast before getting out of bed, eating ice chips, sucking on a tart lozenge, or eating bland, easy-to-digest small meals.
- Avoid caffeine and take bathroom breaks as needed to cope with frequent urination.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
If you aren’t receiving prenatal care already, now is the time. It may be difficult to eat due to morning sickness, but it’s important that you try to eat protein and carbohydrate-rich foods or snacks when you can. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re experiencing morning sickness with vomiting.
If you smoke, stop. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking during pregnancy causes an increased risk of miscarriage, placenta problems, premature birth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and cleft lip or palate.
If you need help to stop smoking, talk to your doctor about starting a smoking cessation program.
One of the best things you can do for your baby at this stage in your pregnancy is to eat a safe and balanced diet. Along those lines, here are some tips:
- Avoid eating undercooked meat, fish, or eggs. Cook or avoid all deli meats.
- Eat no more than two to three servings of fish weekly, and avoid swordfish, shark, tilefish, or mackerel. Also eat no more than 12 ounces of canned, light tuna weekly, and no more than 6 ounces of tuna steak or albacore tuna.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Keep cutting boards and dishes clean.
- Eat four servings of dairy daily. Avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products and soft cheeses.
- Drink no more than one to two caffeinated drinks per day.
- Use artificial sweeteners in moderation, up to one packet a day. None is best.
- Take a 1,000-mcg folic acid supplement each day.
- Take a prenatal vitamin with DHA and EPA as recommended by your doctor. Do not drink alcohol, since it may cause birth defects.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur during the first trimester:
- bleeding or cramping
- increased vaginal discharge
- vaginal odor
- fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher
- pain or burning with urination
- dizziness with bleeding
- pain in your belly or pelvis
A call to your doctor is in order if your morning sickness is severe or causes any of these symptoms:
- weight loss
- vomiting three or more times a day with the inability to keep food or water down
- vomiting blood
- decreased urination
- rapid heart beat
- frequent headaches
- fruity mouth or body odor
- confusion or disorientation
Make Wise Choices Now
Week nine of your pregnancy may not feel much different than week eight. But your baby is almost fully developed in miniature, and ready to continue growing. The decisions you make to take care of yourself and your baby at this early stage will help to support a healthy pregnancy later.