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Guide to Being Nine Weeks Pregnant

If you're falling asleep on the sofa every night, don't worry; you'll get your energy back soon.
If you're falling asleep on the sofa every night, don't worry; you'll get your energy back soon.
Hemera/Thinkstock

It seems like only yesterday that your pregnancy test came up positive, and it may have taken a while for the reality to sink in: You're going to be a mom! But now that you're two-thirds of the way through your first trimester, you're really starting to feel pregnant -- although you may not look it yet.

You might be experiencing some unpleasant side effects, from morning sickness to mood swings. It's also likely that nobody else knows that you're pregnant other than your doctor, your partner, and maybe some family members and close friends. If you've chosen to wait until the end of your first trimester to share the big news, it can be difficult dealing with the roller coaster of symptoms when you're mostly keeping them to yourself. And even if you are sharing, your good news may not always get the reception that you expect.

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At this point in your pregnancy, massive changes are taking place inside your body, and your baby -- now considered a fetus -- is approximately 1 inch long. Keep reading to find out everything that's going on during week nine.

It may seem like the morning sickness will never end, but, for most women, it's over after the first trimester.
It may seem like the morning sickness will never end, but, for most women, it's over after the first trimester.
Photodisc/Thinkstock

In some ways, your body is actually working harder than a non-pregnant woman's body works while running a marathon [source: Murkoff]. This Herculean effort being put forth by your body can result in extreme fatigue. You may find yourself falling asleep on the sofa shortly after dinner each night and needing lots of naps.

Your pregnancy may also be asserting itself through various gastrointestinal issues. The main one is morning sickness, a misnomer because it can occur at any time of the day. Nausea and vomiting are par for the course. If your sense of smell has sharpened, you may need to avoid certain odors because they can bring on nausea. Unfortunately, the trigger could be anything from your co-worker's perfume to your (formerly) favorite meal, and you won't find out until it happens. At nine weeks, many women also experience a lot of bloating, gas, heartburn and acid reflux.

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If you weren't already hitting the bathroom to vomit, you may be doing so because you need to urinate more frequently. You're not only ridding your body of your waste, but also your baby's -- plus, your growing uterus is starting to press on your bladder.

Finally, at nine weeks, your breasts are probably starting to feel tender and sore. Time to shop for a maternity bra!

Your waist may be thickening, but it's quite possible that you don't look pregnant yet.
Your waist may be thickening, but it's quite possible that you don't look pregnant yet.
©iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The surging hormones responsible for your unpleasant symptoms are also fueling your baby's rapid growth. Recently graduated from an embryo to a fetus, and now nearly sans tail, your baby is about the size of a grape (or an olive) and is starting to look more like a baby. There's so much going on in that tiny little package, though.

The internal organs are continuing to grow; specifically, the intestinal system, heart (now divided into four chambers) and reproductive organs are developing at nine weeks. Where the fetus previously had cartilage, a hard skeleton is now forming. Developing muscles mean that the fetus begins to move, although you probably won't feel those movements yet. The face is becoming more recognizable, with nose, mouth, earlobes and eyelids (fused shut until week 27 of your pregnancy).

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Hormones are also causing your heart to pump harder and faster, your metabolism to increase, and your blood pressure and blood sugar to lower. Very soon, the placenta -- which will sustain your baby for the rest of your pregnancy -- will be fully developed. Its growth may be responsible for your thickening waistline, even if nobody else notices that part yet.

You need your rest, so enlist your partner to help more around the house.
You need your rest, so enlist your partner to help more around the house.
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The first trimester can be a challenging time, but the worst of the symptoms should disappear when the second trimester finally rolls around. In the meantime, your partner can baby you and help you get through the tough times.

It's hard to keep up with housework and shopping when you barely have enough energy to make it through the day, so welcome your partner's offers to handle those tasks -- or consider farming them out to friends, relatives or even a housekeeping service if you can afford one. This includes cleaning the litter boxes (or not, rather) if you have cats to avoid the potential for contracting toxoplasmosis.

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Some pregnant women can barely set foot inside a kitchen, let alone cooking. If your partner can't cook, he or she could even just handle ordering take-out or enlist the help of a friend. Since it can be hard to keep food down, your partner could also ensure that there's a supply of foods that "stick" and ones that help with nausea, such as ginger tea.

Mood swings around nine weeks are very common; your partner shouldn't take them personally. Just listening to your fears and concerns and providing reassurance can be helpful.

You may get your first ultrasound around nine weeks and see an image of your fetus for the first time.
You may get your first ultrasound around nine weeks and see an image of your fetus for the first time.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Your second prenatal visit typically falls around nine weeks (although it may be as late as twelve). In addition to assessing your vitals, your OB may also check the growth of your uterus and use a Doppler (an ultrasound device) to listen for the baby's heartbeat. You might also get an ultrasound around this time to determine the age of the fetus. Determining the sex comes later, usually around 20 weeks.

This would be a good time to ask about what level of exercise is OK for you. Also consider asking your OB about foods to avoid. Many doctors suggest staying away from fish high in mercury, such as tuna, as well as deli meats (which can harbor bacteria that cause a disease called listeriosis).

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If your prenatal vitamin -- which should contain folic acid -- is making you sick, there are other options. Try taking it with food or at different times of the day. Your OB can also suggest vitamins in forms that might be easier to keep down, such as a chewable or liquid.

Now that your first trimester is winding down, you may want to think about when you'd like to tell your boss about your pregnancy (if you're working). Many women wait until they pass the 12-week mark, but if you're experiencing severe nausea or other obvious symptoms, you may want to share the news sooner.

Don't worry if crackers are all you can eat right now. Your baby is getting what he or she needs.
Don't worry if crackers are all you can eat right now. Your baby is getting what he or she needs.
Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock

If they don't wait until after week twelve, many women at least wait to share the news about their pregnancies until after they first hear the heartbeat via Doppler. This is because the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically once the placenta is fully developed. If your doctor doesn't find the fetal heartbeat during your visit, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your baby -- the fetus may have been turned away from the Doppler or nestled too far back in the uterus.

You could start showing any day now ... or it may be a while before that bump is visible. Every woman is different, so don't worry if your waistline is bigger or smaller than a friend's or relative's when she was nine weeks along. As long as your OB says that you and the baby are healthy, that's what matters.

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If you lose weight due to vomiting or nausea, you might be worried that your baby isn't getting enough nutrition. But remember, the fetus is just an inch long -- it doesn't need much. Your baby will take what it needs. If you can't keep down anything but rice cakes and apple juice for days on end, don't worry: You'll soon be able to eat more normally ... sort of. Crazy cravings, here we come!

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More Great Links

Sources

  • 9th Week of Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. 2011. (Feb. 19, 2011)http://www.americanpregnancy.org/weekbyweek/week9.htm
  • 9th Week of Pregnancy. Similac -- Strong Moms. 2011. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://similac.com/pregnancy/9-weeks-pregnant-baby-growth-development
  • BabyCenter. Your Pregnancy - Nine Weeks. 2011. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-9-weeks_1098.bc?intcmp=timeline
  • Murkhoff, Heidi and Sharon Mazel. What to Expect When You're Expecting. Workman Publishing, 2008.
  • Nine Weeks Pregnant. ParentsConnect. 2011. (Feb. 16, 2011)http://3dpregnancy.parentsconnect.com/calendar/9-weeks-pregnant.html
  • Pregnancy and Childbirth: Third Month. Ask Dr. Sears. 2006. (Feb. 19, 2011)http://www.askdrsears.com/html/1/T010300.asp
  • 9 Weeks Pregnant - Your Pregnancy Week By Week. Women's Healthcare Topics. (Feb. 17, 2011)http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/pregnancy_week_9.htm
  • Schoenstandt, Arthur. 9 Weeks Pregnant. eMedTV. 2011. (Feb. 19, 2011)http://pregnancy.emedtv.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/9-weeks-pregnant.html
  • Week 9 of Pregnancy. What to Expect. 2011. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-9.aspx
  • Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 9 to 12. WebMD. 2011. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-9-12

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