By 9 weeks pregnant, you might be starting to feel like a veteran in morning sickness, and some of your early symptoms might be at their peak. This is because the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is nearing or at its highest levels.

If you’re feeling extra moody and fatigued or have more breast tenderness, nausea, heartburn, or constipation, trust us, you’re not alone!

Let’s talk about all that’s happening to you at 9 weeks pregnant.

9 weeks pregnant: What to expect

  • Your early pregnancy symptoms are likely at their peak in severity.
  • You might start experiencing food cravings and aversions, and your moods may be unpredictable.
  • Your baby is growing: Major organs are developing, as well as arms, toes, eyelids, and ears.
  • It may be possible for a heartbeat to be detected on a handheld Doppler ultrasound.
  • You’ll want to keep your healthcare team informed of anything out of the ordinary and seek help for your symptoms (including any concerns about your mental health).

At 9 weeks, you probably won’t appear pregnant to other people, but you may notice changes in your body. Those early pregnancy symptoms are really ramping up.

Depending on your size before pregnancy, your clothes may start to feel tighter due to your thickening waistline or hormone-induced bloating.

You may notice that your breasts continue to grow fuller and your nipples darker. As your blood volume increases in order to carry nutrition to your baby, your veins may also look more prominent.

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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

Your baby is now about 3/4-inch long at the 9-week mark — about the size of a grape or an olive.

It’s an exciting time for baby: Major organs continue developing, arms are growing, and 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 ultrasound.

You may discover that you’re carrying twins (or more!) if you have an ultrasound this week. This can be exciting but does require some additional care and discussion with your healthcare professionals.

Some pregnant people carrying multiples have more intense pregnancy symptoms than those who are carrying only one baby. They may also have a higher likelihood of complications.

You might wish to talk with your doctor about the risks of:

You should notify your doctor if anything seems off. Also speak with your doctor if you have severe morning sickness, which can be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum.

Severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can leave you feeling dehydrated and not getting the nutrients you need, but your doctor can help.

At 9 weeks pregnant, the pregnancy hormone hCG is at or nearing peak levels. This means your pregnancy symptoms are likely at their most severe. Don’t worry, it’ll level out a bit in the next few weeks! (For more on these symptoms and tips to handle them, make sure to read the symptoms section below.)

Right now, your uterus is growing to accommodate your growing baby, and pregnancy hormones are slowing down digestion so you can absorb more nutrients. This means you may experience more constipation and bloating. At the same time, pregnancy hormones are relaxing your stomach and esophagus, so you may have heartburn.

At 9 weeks pregnant, you may not have a baby bump just yet. However, you’ll almost certainly notice your lower belly getting firmer. This is because your uterus is starting to expand to fit your growing baby.

Because the uterus has typically doubled in size by this point and you may have some hormonal bloating, you’re not alone if your pants start to feel a little tighter.

If you’ve had a rough time with morning sickness and lost some weight earlier in your pregnancy, you might need to recover some pounds to get back to where you were before gaining any pregnancy weight. In fact, you may find that you’re still losing weight if your nausea is continuing.

Though mild weight loss may be nothing to be too worried about, always discuss any weight loss during pregnancy with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Symptoms you’ve experienced so far in your pregnancy are likely to continue and even intensify this week. Your body is really ramping up all the hard work around week 9.

It’s not fun, we know, but a lot of these early symptoms will ease soon. Hang in there.

Nausea

Sadly, morning sickness isn’t limited to the first hours of the day. You may find that you’re in a constant state of nausea or that it comes and goes throughout the day.

If you’re having trouble keeping food down, try eating a snack during the night and before getting out of bed as well as bland, easy-to-digest small meals throughout the day.

Ginger, vitamins B6 and B12, acupuncture, and aromatherapy may also help. If your nausea is severe, you’ll want to talk with your doctor. They may be able to prescribe something to help.

Fatigue

Your body is putting in a lot of effort into helping your fetus grow. This may make getting up in the morning or powering through a busy day seem extra hard.

It’s OK to squeeze in some extra naps when needed! Going for daily walks and light physical activity may also help you to feel a little more like yourself.

Food aversions and cravings

You may find that you absolutely can’t stand the sight, smell, or texture of some foods. Alternatively, you may feel like your body is crying out for you to eat oranges, ice cream, or McDonald’s french fries. Both of these reactions are typical, and it’s even typical to experience both of them toward one food at the same time!

A balanced diet is ideal, but it’s understandable if you find yourself needing to fulfill a craving. Whenever possible, try to incorporate foods from a variety of food groups. Drinking lots of water and eating plenty of protein can also help you feel more full.

Mood shifts

Estrogen and progesterone fluctuations can have an impact on your mood-leveling brain chemicals. You may feel excited, nervous, happy, and worried this week as you think about your growing baby and experience various pregnancy-related symptoms. This range of emotions is totally expected!

Journaling, asking your partner for support, and joining a pregnancy support group can all help you handle the extra emotional shifts you may experience. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and proper nutrition to help your body feel its best.

Frequent urination

Increasing hormone levels and an expanding uterus can contribute to more frequent urination early in pregnancy. Avoiding caffeine and remembering to take frequent restroom breaks can help make you more comfortable!

Tender or tingly breasts

Hormones are enlarging your breasts by week 9 of your pregnancy, which can leave them feeling sensitive or sore.

Some extra support may make your breasts feel more comfortable. A maternity bra or sports bra can help, but don’t forget to check on the sizing, as your breast shape and size change throughout pregnancy.

Applying moisturizer or oil to the stretching skin may also help ease some discomfort.

Dizziness

Hormones are relaxing your blood vessels, which can lead to low blood pressure and dizziness. Standing up slowly, not skipping meals, and avoiding standing in place too long can all help prevent dizziness.

Heartburn

Pregnancy hormones also cause the stomach and esophagus to relax, which can lead to heartburn.

Eating smaller meals more frequently may help. Not laying down right after meals may also help. If heartburn is frequent or severe, you may want to discuss the possibility of various pregnancy-safe medications with your doctor.

Constipation

Slower digestion means that you may find yourself constipated. Drinking plenty of water and eating high fiber foods can help with this.

We hope you’ve been receiving prenatal care already, but if not, now is the time. (You can even try to find free or low cost prenatal care if you live in the United States.)

Your doctor or healthcare professional can help answer questions and make sure everything is progressing as expected. You’ll want to talk with your doctor about continued good nutrition and activity.

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 or use any nicotine products, try to stop. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy causes an increased risk of a variety of issues, including:

Quitting smoking is never easy, but it’s well worth it for you and your growing little one. If you need help stopping smoking, talk with 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 follow a healthy and balanced eating plan. Here are some tips for noshing on the good stuff:

  • Avoid eating undercooked meat, fish, or eggs. Avoid all deli meats.
  • Avoid high mercury fish such as swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. Low mercury fish is healthy and can be eaten up to three times per week.
  • Avoid all unpasteurized milk and cheeses.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Keep cutting boards and dishes clean.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for all supplements, including folic acid.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin with DHA and EPA as recommended by your doctor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol when pregnant, as it may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in your child.

Much of what you’re going through is perfectly expected, but when things feel off, you’ll want to get in touch with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur during the first trimester:

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 per day, with the inability to keep food or water down
  • vomiting blood
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • decreased urination
  • rapid heartbeat
  • frequent headaches
  • fruity mouth or body odor
  • confusion or disorientation

Week 9 of your pregnancy may not feel much different than week 8. But your baby is almost fully developed in miniature and is ready to continue growing.

The decisions you make to take care of yourself and your baby at this early stage will help support a healthy pregnancy later. It’s time to get excited and keep making great choices for you and baby!