In association with professional midwife experts at birthEd, find out everything you need to know about pregnancy at 9 weeks, including how your baby is growing, changes to expect in your body and pregnancy health, nutrition and wellness advice.

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9 Weeks Pregnant – Your baby, your body & you

Your Baby

Your baby is approximately 2.5cm in length – around the size of a grape. Right now, it’s tiny weeny muscles are starting to form.

9 Weeks Pregnant-grape
They’re beginning to look more human, the tail has almost completely disappeared and the head has developed fully, including the ears.

At this point, all of your baby’s vital organs have started to develop: heart, brain, kidneys, liver and lungs.

Your baby’s heart rate is at an all time high, racing along at approximately 170 beats per minute. This is the fastest you will hear it, because from now on the pace will slow down.

Your Body

We’ve said it so many times, your hormones are still running rampant. Another early pregnancy symptom we’ll be exploring is constipation. The cause of constipation? You guessed it, the increased progesterone levels. Progesterone can make your digestive system relaxed and sluggish, making room for your growing uterus. Almost three out of four women will experience constipation at some stage in their pregnancy.

It’s important to be discerning about constipation treatments while pregnant as some over the counter medications you may have used before are not recommended during pregnancy. Speak with your LMC to get trusted advice. Your diet can help prevent or combat constipation. Be sure to eat a high fibre diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread,(kiwifruit and dates can work wonders), and drink plenty of water. Sit on the toilet with your legs hip width apart and your knees higher than your hips, with your feet on a foot stool. Lean forward and rest your forearms on your knees. Try not to strain with prolong pushes.

Courtesy: Squatty Potty

You

Sleep disturbance and fatigue are very common in your first trimester. The increase in progesterone can help to explain excessive daytime sleepiness. It is so important to plan, schedule and prioritise sleep. Finding effective strategies for managing sleep in the early stages of pregnancy can help establish a good routine to come back to as the pregnancy progresses.

Getting at least 8-10 hours a night of sleep, or supplementing lost sleep with naps during the day, is a great start to supporting your mental and physical health.

Sleeping on your left side with your legs bent is the most optimal position to improve blood flow to your fetus, your uterus and your kidneys. The weight of the uterus is shifted off the vena cava (which is a main vein running from your heart to your lower body) when lying on your left side. It is also probably the most comfortable position, and it’s helpful to pop a pillow between your legs.

You may like to consider purchasing a pregnancy pillow, these can be particularly supportive as your weight changes with your baby’s growth, they also help to assist left side sleeping.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects 1 in 5 pregnant women and can have symptoms of numbness, burning, tingling or have an intense desire to move. Correcting an iron deficiency can greatly relieve symptoms. Sleep on your left side supported by pillows or get up and gently warm up and stretch the muscles in your legs.
Some self help home remedies for RLS are:

  • Get enough sleep – fatigue has been associated with increased symptoms
  • Soak in an epsom salts bath (it’s also nice to add a few drops of essential lavender oil)
  • Massage your legs or ask your partner to
  • Use warm and cold packs or alternate the two
  • Ensure you exercise each day – but avoid over strenuous exercise, and especially later in the day
  • Stretch! Find a pregnancy yoga class or stretch your leg muscles at home
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Keep taking a good prenatal vitamin (studies have shown that Vitamins, B12, C, D, E, calcium and magnesium can help relieve symptoms)
  • Talk to your LMC if symptoms feel unmanageable

Preparing for Baby

Researchers in New Zealand found that an estimated one in every three women have experienced a miscarriage. About 20%-40% of pregnant women will experience some bleeding during the first trimester and approximately 20% of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage.

The majority of miscarriages occur before 12-14 weeks and it’s important to be aware of red flag symptoms that might indicate that something is wrong with your pregnancy. These symptoms include severe abdominal cramping or pain, vaginal bleeding and/or severe dizziness.

If you experience any of these or symptoms contact your LMC immediately. If you are bleeding, go straight to the hospital. Never drive yourself to the hospital, call an ambulance or ask your partner, family member or friend to drive you.

Miscarriage is usually a natural process. The chain of events from conception through early gestation is complex. Most miscarriages occur because something went wrong during or soon after conception. Losing a baby can be a heartbreaking and devastating experience and this loss can have a profound effect on our mental health and wellbeing.

It is crucial that we talk about our grief and get the help we need. We have some wonderful organisations and groups in New Zealand that can help – you don’t need to feel alone in your grief.

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus and most commonly in a fallopian tube (a tubal pregnancy) and it is estimated that this occurs in 1-2% of all pregnancies. The warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy are similar to a miscarriage with abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, fainting, dizziness and shoulder tip pain.

Your Relationships

Although it can sometimes seem unrealistic, making connecting and special time for you and your partner each day can help strengthen your relationship. During this time, feeling connected and alongside your partner is invaluable. Sex can be a great connecting tool however, the examples below are non-sexual intimate experiences you can practise anywhere, at any time.

  1. Having a daily check in ritual can help you get on the same page with your partner. Checking in with ‘highs and lows’ of the day can give you a glimpse into their day and offer you an opportunity for you to share your wins and losses and speak of your experiences too.
  2. When you arrive home or if your partner arrives home after you, greet them with full presence. Put down what you are doing, connect with eye contact and physical touch.
  3. A daily connecting hug can completely change the energy between you and your partner. Simply embrace each other in a hug, arrive in their arms, and let your breath settle. This may feel a little awkward to begin as the hug is only complete when you both sink in deep.

This Week’s Preparation

Drink plenty of water and eat a high fibre diet to support your digestive system.
Begin a supportive sleep routine of getting plenty of sleep, resting during the day, sleeping on your left side and clearing your mind before going to bed.
Be aware of the symptoms of miscarriage and contact your LMC if you are feeling concerned.
Make a daily ritual of non-sexual intimate connecting time with your partner.

Back to 52 Weeks of pregnancy.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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