All About Baby
During your 9th week of pregnancy, your baby is busy growing. Her face looks more baby-like each day — her eyes are developed but concealed, and her nose, lips, and ears are becoming more defined. She’s also starting to exercise her expanding muscles. Her fingers and toes are looking less like stubs. Although she’s a wiggler — and you could see that on an ultrasound — she’s still so small that you won’t feel these movements. Her reproductive organs are developing, but even if you sneaked a peek you wouldn’t be able to tell that she’s a she (and neither could your doctor at this point).
All About You
Your body is going through a multitude of changes. From morning sickness, to breakouts reminiscent of your teenage years, to overwhelming fatigue. The cause? Hormones!
Morning sickness grabs all the attention, but fatigue is the real first sign of pregnancy. Your body undergoes rapid changes to accommodate your growing baby-to-be. These changes take a toll on your energy level. You may experience exhaustion with your body—and your mind.
First Signs of Fatigue
Women often have unexplained tiredness before they discover their missed periods, explains Dr. Timothy R.B. Johnson, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Hospital and research facility. “It’s important to know that fatigue is normal,” says Dr. Johnson.
Get the Rest You Need
Take time to relax your body. Tone down strenuous workouts and seek out more soothing activities. Prenatal yoga or swimming classes will keep you toned, with the added benefit of relieving stress.
Add more sleeping time to your day. Extra sleep reenergizes your body and will leave your mind clearer to contemplate all the questions of impending motherhood. You may also want to invest in a good pregnancy sleep pillow.
Fatigue and Stress
Thinking about your new baby can bring happiness, but it may also add to your stress level. You may wonder about whether to keep your job once the baby is born and how you’ll handle the added financial burden of a child. Even everyday concerns like caring for your tiny baby can keep you tossing and turning instead of sleeping or relaxing.
To maximize your relaxation time, find a strategy for dealing with your concerns. Some women find solace in breathing exercises, while others turn to friends or spouses for extra support. Taking warm baths may also soothe your senses (just avoid hot tubs because the high temperatures can pose serious health risks to your developing baby).
If you’re not a bather, use warm (not hot) compresses for any sore areas on your body, such as your back or abdomen. You can purchase a heating pad or make one of your own by filling a sock with rice. Tie off the end, then heat it to a comfortable temperature in the microwave. If you choose fragrant rice, like jasmine, you’ll have an added aromatherapy element ideal for relaxing your body.
Q & A
Got questions about Week 9? Other women have asked this …
Q: My breasts are changing. They’re getting bigger and are so sore. What’s going on?
Blame it on hormones! Your whole body feels like it is going through so many changes it can be tough to know what is normal. Breast changes are definitely part of the pregnancy package! Most women report breast tenderness and enlargement as one of the first physical clues of pregnancy. Read more about breast changes to expect in each trimester.
Q: How soon can I learn the baby’s gender?
It’s simply a matter of how soon can you see the genitalia reliably enough to be sure. We’ve all heard stories of how at the ultrasound, the technician was sure that a woman was having a boy or a girl — only to discover on delivery day that the opposite was true. Each technician (often your doctor isn’t the one performing the ultrasound) has his or her own criteria during ultrasound for determining a baby’s gender. Read more about learning your baby’s gender.
Helping Her Manage Pregnancy Symptoms
It is unclear who devised the term “morning sickness” to describe the nausea that often accompanies pregnancy, but that person certainly played a joke on prospective parents. What you may not know is that morning sickness doesn’t only occur in the morning, but can happen any darn time it pleases — morning, noon, or night — and often causes your partner enormous displeasure.
During pregnancy, women’s bodies experience increased levels of hormones unlike at any other time. These surging hormones, which prepare her body for Baby, can wipe her out physically and emotionally. Your full-of-energy partner now may need a nap every day (or several times a day!). The same hormones might make her feel sick, too, and react with aversion to things that never bothered her before. For instance, some mothers-to-be find brushing their teeth suddenly triggers intense nausea. Others may turn their noses up at foods they once enjoyed.
So, what should you do to help? It’s important to calmly and coolly support your partner. If you notice certain foods turn her stomach, keep them out of sight. You can also ward off the queasies by making sure she doesn’t go too long without food (an empty stomach is more likely to adversely react to the hormones coursing through her body). Crackers and bread as well as lots of water are good things to always have on hand (they make for great travel snacks, too). You may even want to pack her a little “emergency kit” to take with her wherever she goes. Pack her favorite snacks, breath mints (if they’re agreeable to her), ginger candies (which help fight nausea), and water (so essential for her and Baby).
The best thing you can do is to be flexible and try to adjust to your partner’s changing needs. The coming weeks will be full of transformations, and you can be the one thing she knows will always be there and not change.