Women's Healthcare Topics

9 Weeks Pregnant

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

At 9 weeks pregnant, you are slowly nearing the end of your first trimester. As you continue to struggle through morning sickness, fatigue, and other early pregnancy symptoms, don’t be too surprised if you start to experience pregnancy mood swings as well.

The changing levels of hormones in your pregnant body can make you moody and irritable at times, and it can also put a strain on your relationship with your husband or partner. You may find yourself crying uncontrollable and laughing hysterically seconds later. You may be all over your partner one minute, and minutes later you don't want him to touch you. Your partner may not know what to do, but rest assured that your behavior is normal.

As your baby gets larger, your uterus will expand too. Before pregnancy, your uterus was only the size of a plum, and now, it has grown to the size of a large papaya. Just think that by the time you reach your due date, your uterus will be comparable to the size of a basketball! Your enlarging uterus is starting to tilt upwards, putting more pressure on your bladder and giving you the sensation that your bladder is full.

You may start to experience tension headaches or migraines. Headaches are a normal pregnancy symptom in the first trimester. Although uncomfortable, having a pounding headache is a side effect of your raging hormones.

Stress, fatigue, congestion, hunger, caffeine withdrawal, and dehydration can all contribute to the development of headaches in pregnancy.

If you've been sitting in front of the computer for a long period of time, you may want to stand up and take breaks. Eyestrain can make headaches worse.

Though you can't take many medications to treat them, you can sometimes get relief by rubbing your temples and lying in a dark, cool room.

Your pregnancy weight gain now is only about one or two pounds for the average sized woman. You don’t look noticeably pregnant yet and you won’t for another couple of weeks. By the end of your first trimester, you will have only gained about 5 or 6 pounds. (Keep in mind that every woman gains weight differently.)

One thing you should avoid doing while pregnant is weighing yourself every day. Weight gain can fluctuate as much as 1-5 pounds in the course of a single day, and such fluctuations can be discouraging. If you can hold off until your prenatal visits, you might avoid the pain of constant weight fluctuations. If, however, you are determined to weigh yourself frequently during pregnancy, consider weighing once a week, at the same time of day, right after you get up in the morning and empty your bladder. Doing so will provide the most consistent results and will help eliminate excessive worries about daily weight changes.

At 9 weeks pregnant, you won't be showing noticeably; in fact, strangers on the street may just think you're bloated or a little chubby. This will soon change as your pregnancy continues. For most women, they start to show between 12 and 16 weeks pregnant (the third and fourth month of pregnancy).

As your belly and breasts continue to grow and expand in pregnancy, you may start to experience itchy skin. This is a normal pregnancy symptom, and it's often nothing to worry about. It's caused by hormonal changes, and the physical stretching of skin that occurs in pregnancy.

Another pregnancy symptoms that you may be experiencing is gas. Gas is a normal pregnancy symptoms to expect. Although embarrassing, you may be passing more gas (i.e. flatulence) and burping more often. Gas is one of the most embarrassing symptoms that you'll experience, but it's completely normal.

To cope with gas make sure that you eat more slowly and avoid foods that may make you gassy. Common food triggers include carbonated drinks, dairy products, and carbohydrates. Avoid drinking from a straw or bottle, since this can make you swallow air and lead to gassiness.

Morning sickness is at its peak at 9 weeks pregnant. As you struggle with nausea and vomiting this week, just remember that it won't be long before you feel better. For 50 percent of all women who suffer from morning sickness, their symptoms are gone completely by 14 weeks pregnant. It takes everyone else a few extra weeks for the queasiness to ease up.

Baby Section

Growth and Development of Baby

By the time you reach 9 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be almost one inch from crown to rump, or roughly the size of a ripe grape! Your baby weighs just under an ounce this week.

During pregnancy week 9, your baby's head is still huge and bowed over the bulge of his or her belly. Your baby's outer ears have started to take shape.

Until now, your baby's eyes have been at the side of it's head. But now, your baby's eyes are making their way to the front of the face. You baby has eyelids now, but they won't open until the end of the second trimester.

While your baby's gender was determined at conception, your little one is now developing reproductive organs, however it won't be until you are roughly 17 to 20 weeks pregnant that your doctor can distinguish the gender of your baby with ultrasound. That is only if your baby decides to cooperate and gets in a good position.

Your little one's fingers are becoming more distinguishable, but they are still not separate. The toes are developing more slowly and they're still budlike.

Did you know that your baby can move his elbows now? Though you won't be able to feel your baby's movements for several more months, your little one is already making small movements.

Your little baby is starting to look more and more like a human being. His or her body isn't as curled up as it was several weeks ago, as it is slowly straightening up.

Your little baby's bones are starting to harden. This process is called "ossification." As your baby grows, his or her bones will gradually calcify and harden. Your little one's bones will continue to lengthen throughout your pregnancy and until he or she is a teenager.

Pregnancy Health Section

How to Cope with Ranging Emotions

With the surge of pregnancy hormones in your body, it can be difficult to handle your raging emotions. You may find it hard to stay calm at points during your pregnancy. Remember to have open and honest communication with your partner. Talk to him about what you're going through, what things are stressing you out, and how you feel about your pregnancy and your changing body.

Some women may be extra emotional as they struggle with pregnancy body image issues. They may be worried about getting "fat" during pregnancy, as they start on packing on the pounds. If they haven't told their friends and families that they are expecting, certain offhand comments can cause them to have crying spells.

Keep Your Partner Informed
Make sure you keep a box of tissues nearby for those emotional moments. It might help if you bring your partner to your prenatal checkups, so he has an opportunity to speak to your doctor about his concerns. Your doctor or healthcare provider may be able to ease both of your worries, so that you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

Inform your partner or husband that he should expect these mood fluctuations during pregnancy. Thankfully, these pregnancy symptoms will go away in the weeks after delivery. However, if you breastfeed, you may continue to stay emotional, because your body produces certain hormones for lactation.

Relax and Prevent Mood Swings
If you are experiencing mood swings, you may want to stay away from sad and sappy movies. Try selecting funny or comedic films and television programs. Take care of yourself and try to relax!

If you're starting to have mixed feelings about being pregnant, don't stress. This is normal too. Every mother is worried about the future, whether she will be a good mother or not. Talk to your partner about your worries. This can also help the two of you bond together as you prepare for the arrival of your baby.

How is Dad Doing?

When you're sharing your feelings with your partner, you might be surprised to learn that pregnancy is often just as emotional for him as it is for you! Most fathers feel helpless when they see their pregnant wife crying for no reason. Your partner or husband may not know how to help or how to soothe you.

Couvade Syndrome
Your partner can also feel guilty for your pregnancy symptoms. He may blame himself for your "condition." If you are nauseated, throwing up, and fatigued all the time, your husband or partner may feel responsible. In some cases, your partner might experience a sympathy pregnancy, also called "Couvade Syndrome."

Men with Couvade Syndrome start to experience pregnancy symptoms, including morning sickness, fatigue, backaches, food cravings, and even mood swings. Some fathers-to-be even put on weight during his sympathy pregnancy!

He can experience these symptoms as early as the first trimester. Some men feel so tied to their wives and their unborn babies that they even experience "contractions" at the same time as their wives.

Causes of Couvade Syndrome
The causes of Couvade Syndrome are not known, but there are several theories. He may be jealous of the attention you're getting from your pregnancy, or he feels guilty for causing your pregnancy that he takes on your symptoms. It is also possible that he feels so close to you and your unborn baby that he gets “all your pregnant symptoms" to support you.

The symptoms of Couvade Syndrome disappear as soon as your baby is born. Remember that it took the two of you to make a baby, so you are not alone on this new journey.

When was the Last Time you had your Teeth Cleaned?

Are your gums red and puffy? Do your gums bleed when you brush and floss? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have an 18% increased chance of having a pre-term birth. Several studies have suggested that maternal periodontal disease may increase the risk for pre-term birth or low-birth-weight deliveries. Research has suggested that a visit with the dentist during pregnancy that includes a deep instrumental cleaning of your teeth may substantially lower your risk for pre-term delivery.

What's bad for the mouth is bad for the body; infections in the mouth can spread throughout the body, causing infection at distant sites. The infections associated with gum disease can produce periodontal toxins that cross the placenta, which may eventually result in pre-term birth. Pregnancy gingivitis is associated with red, puffy gums that bleed easily.

The good news is that with a visit to the dentist and intense oral care, gingivitis can be reversed and minimize your risk for pre-term deliveries.

Be sure you brush, floss, and rinse frequently and see a dentist regularly throughout your pregnancy to address any problems you may have and to prevent new ones from interfering with your pregnancy. It's hard to believe but simple attention to your oral hygiene may be all that is needed to ensure a safe and healthy delivery. (next week)