Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

9 Weeks Pregnant

In This Article

Pregnant Belly Changes

At 9 weeks pregnant, you are slowly nearing the end of your first trimester. 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.

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).

Mom's Belly at 9 Weeks

Pregnancy Symptoms

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.

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 take medications to treat them, you can sometimes get relief by rubbing your temples and lying in a dark, cool room.

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

Your Baby at 9 Weeks of Pregnancy

Baby at 9 Weeks Pregnant

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 now weighs less than one ounce but will start rapidly gaining weight as you continue your pregnancy.

Your baby is working diligently to grow organs and limbs. Your baby now has all it's primary physical features in place including her arms, legs, torso and head. By now your baby's organs and muscles are communicating with one another and starting to move independently. Isn't it amazing to think how someone so small can move so uniquely?

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.

Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics

Why You Should Listen to Your Motherly Instincts Instead of Everyone Else

From the moment you announce your pregnancy to all of your relatives, friends or even distant acquaintances, you should be prepared to be bombarded with tons of advice! This often continues even after you have your baby, and sometimes you may be confused about the best thing to do. After all, some of these people have a lot more experience than you do, especially if this is your first child.

This is also true with doctors and pediatricians who may give you certain advice that you do not agree with. There are so many things. From whether you should have your baby naturally, underwater or get a cesarean, or whether or not you should get an epidural. Then after the baby comes the advice will pour in as to when your baby should be ready to eat solid foods, whether you should have your child immunized all at once or spread it out over months, to sleep patterns or whether or not to co-sleep with your child.

All of these different opinions can certainly make any new parent’s head spin. Guess what? None of these opinions ultimately matter when it comes to your baby. Unless it jeopardizes your baby’s health – which most mothers would never do – then you should mostly go with your gut on all matters concerning your baby.

Why listening to your maternal instincts is best

You are unique. The way you were raised was totally different than the way someone else was raised. Maybe you saw things about the way you were brought up that you liked and thought were right, and maybe you saw things you would have done differently. Ultimately, you have to figure out what parenting strategies will work best for you and your own baby.

Most of these things do not even matter in the grander scheme of things. Does it really matter whether your baby’s first bit of solid food was rice or turnip? Does it matter whether the baby was five months or six months? Not really. For some mothers, it worked for them, and so they feel compelled to share what worked for them with you.

With the doctor, this is more difficult to do. For example, Western medicine may have a different philosophy than you do. You may be encouraged to do something that goes against what you feel strongly in your heart not to do, but listen to your instincts. If your doctor says your baby needs to get shots every six months but you have recently read up on high mercury contents and are worried about getting too much in your baby all in one dose, then offer a compromise. You can say, “You know, I don’t feel comfortable getting three shots for my baby today, so just do one and I will come back in a few weeks to do the others.” This is just one example. If you feel good with it, fine, but if you feel strongly swayed to go against something that is pulling at your heart, then do not be afraid of saying no.

Many women fear putting their baby in harm’s way, yet they do by going against the internal gift that all mothers are given. Yes, mothers are born with an inherent instinct to protect their babies and this is something that nearly all mothers have, unless they have somehow been marred by a past bad experience. However, most bad judgment calls as parents are often made by confusion, indecision or going against your feelings.

Will you make mistakes as a parent? Of course. You are not perfect, you are human. As long as your child grows up to be healthy, happy and a good person, you have done well. You cannot control everything.

Be mindful of the way you feel, because most of the time, you will be correct. As a mother, you have a unique bond with your baby, and even if your own mother or your spouse’s mother, or your best friend or the pediatrician tell you that you “have” to do something and you do not feel good about it, then listen to your motherly instincts. 99% of the time, they will be accurate.

(next week)