Your Pregnancy: Week 9
You may find yourself riding pregnancy’s emotional roller coaster, feeling moody one day and joyful the next. Disturbing as this is to women who pride themselves on being in control, what you’re going through is normal and will probably continue throughout your pregnancy. Up-and-down emotions are partly hormonal and get compounded by the fact that you’re facing a monumental and often stressful event in your life.
Is your expectedly glowing skin looking not so radiant? Some women’s complexions will become more dry and itchy as their body loses much of its natural oils; for others it will become oily and broken out due to – again – raging hormones. You might have to search around for new gentle skin products, and be careful to make sure the ingredients, especially for acne, are safe for pregnancy.
Start slathering moisturizer on your belly, hips and thighs. Although topical creams haven’t been proven to prevent stretch marks, a moisturizing lotion like cocoa butter can prevent dryness and itchiness as your skin starts to stretch.
Make sure to get in moderate daily exercise to help circulate your blood, prevent constipation and stay healthy. More importantly, prenatal exercise has been proven to improve fetal development – and if that’s not a motivation factor, we don’t know what is.
Instead of popping gas-relief medication (which needs your doctor’s green light), try sipping on chamomile tea or hot water with lemon to ease indigestion issues.
If you feel ready, start browsing the maternity clothes section for well-fitting, silhouette-flattering outfits. They’re not all ugly – we promise. But if maternity clothes aren’t working for you just yet or at all, there are several easy ways to expand your pre-pregnancy clothes.
Many experts and pregnancy books have general pregnancy weight gain guides, usually along the lines of zero to five pounds in the first trimester, 15 in the second and 10 in the third for women of average weight. (Those underweight or obese are recommended to gain more or less respectively.) If you’re not exactly on target, don’t freak out. Many women gain the recommended 25 to 35 pounds on their own time – some all in the middle, some all at the end. However, it is important to keep track of and monitor your weight gain, not only for the well-being of your baby but for yourself. Make sure your diet is healthy and your postpartum weight loss is realistic. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you’re concerned.
Measuring at about an inch, your baby’s basic physiology is in working order – although it will continue to develop – and earlobes, wrists, fingers and toes are visible. And while you probably won’t know if you’re having a boy or girl for another nine weeks or so (if you choose to find out), your baby’s genitals have begun to form.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
A pregnancy obviously comes with a trunkful of emotional baggage, and a fair amount of hormonal carry-ons, too. Second thoughts are normal, maybe inevitable. The fact is, your life will never be the same again; why shouldn’t you feel a little bit apprehensive? The hormonal flux of pregnancy can contribute to a pregnant woman’s emotional highs and lows, but another matter entirely is true, diagnosable depression, the kind marked by dire and even dangerous thoughts. A seriously depressed pregnant woman will find herself not simply in a sensitive frame of mind – perhaps bursting into tears for no apparent reason – but will be unable to function. Sleeping, eating, concentrating, attending to details – the essentials of getting through daily life may seem beyond her. For many women, pregnancy is the happiest time of their lives, but for others, it’s not, and if you suspect your unhappiness is excessive, you should tell your obstetrician immediately and seek psychological counseling, for your sake and your baby’s.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: Prenatal Testing: Is Knowledge Power?
Technological advances have given us unprecedented insight into our growing fetuses, yet sometimes prenatal testing can feel like Pandora’s Box. Along with the potential for answers come new questions: Will the baby pass the test? What are the risks? How can I feel attached until I get the results back? What will I do if there’s something wrong? You’re just getting used to the idea of having a baby when you’re plunged into disturbing talk of defects and disorders. And when there are risks involved, deciding whether or not to test can be agonizing. Each couple needs to make this difficult decision according to their own circumstances and values. Here are a few things to consider in the process:
- Tests are recommended, or not, according to rational risk/benefit analysis. When the risk of a genetic abnormality is equal to or greater than the risk of miscarriage, testing is suggested. Even though this can feel very emotional, there’s a logic to the process.
- Realize that by far the majority of test results show a genetically healthy baby. Mostly this test is used to rule things out rather than reveal them – 95% of test results come back fine.
- The numbers are good on the safety front, as well. The more invasive testing does come with a very small chance of miscarriage, but as the tests have become more common, expertise has improved as well.
- Deciding to undergo prenatal testing does involve thinking a bit about what you might do with certain results. Have an open conversation about this with your partner if you have one, but try not to linger on negative hypotheticals for too long. There is something to be said for crossing a bridge if you come to it.
- There are a few different options for getting similar results: your doctor, midwife or genetic counselor is there to help you with these decisions. Some expectant parents prefer earlier testing, some later, others prefer less invasive screening tests to more conclusive but riskier procedures. Find out your options and make the decision that feels right to you.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.