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9 Weeks Pregnant

You have reached the ninth week of your pregnancy, and now the embryo can officially be referred to as the fetus (Latin for ‘offspring’) [1].

Pregnancy week 9: baby development

Sensory organ development

The eyes already have some pigmentation, making them more prominent [4] while small earlobes are visible on an ultrasound. Your baby also has a tongue with tiny taste buds [4].

Facial development

The eyes are now covered with well formed but fused eyelids that will not open until early in the third trimester [3]. Other facial features, like the mouth, lips, nose and forehead also continue to grow more distinct, while the teeth start to develop as well [2].

Limb development

The tiny arms and legs already make your baby look like a miniature human being with the wrists and ankles developing fast [3]. Ultrasound images show clear ridges at the end of the hands and feet, marking the places where the toes and fingers will be [4]. Your baby will now start growing in size and gaining weight as the basic body structure is formed.

Week 9 Pregnancy

Week 9 Pregnancy

Nervous System Development

The brain, nerves [2] and spinal cord continue to develop in the ninth week of pregnancy.

Internal organ development: All the main internal organs, including the heart, lungs, kidney and intestine are already in place, developing rapidly [4] along with the muscles. The heart has already divided into four chambers while the valves start developing [2]. Although it is still too early to tell the baby’s gender by ultrasound, the development of the genitals has already begun [3]. The placenta is also developed enough to carry out most of the jobs of hormone and nutrient production as well as getting rid of waste products.

9 weeks pregnancy baby size

The fetus is about as large as a green olive at this stage, measuring 0.9 inches (2.3 cm) in size and weighing around 0.07 oz (2 gm) [1].

Changes in your body during pregnancy week 9

The increasing blood volume will continue to make your body organs work harder, leading to various pregnancy symptoms [5]. The body changes from the previous weeks, such as the fuller breasts and weight gain [6], remain in the ninth week as your body continues preparing for childbirth and breastfeeding. However, it is normal to experience little or no weight gain, especially if you have severe morning sickness and food aversions [7].

What does 9 weeks pregnant look like?

Your uterus continues to grow (it is almost as large as a small melon) [8] as you may notice your belly gradually getting bigger. But, the ninth week is still too early to start showing enough for others to notice the changes, especially if this is your first pregnancy [7].

9 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Apart from the beating tiny heart, an ultrasound can also show your baby making small movements [4]. But the fetus is still too small for you to feel it moving [7]. You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat on a Doppler device in the ninth week [9].

9 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Image

9 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Image

9 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Photo

9 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Photo

Sometimes, ultrasound scans performed in week 9 can show an empty gestational sac. It might be because of an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. But in many cases, it occurs when a woman thinks her pregnancy is further along than it actually is. In such instances, an ultrasound scan performed a few weeks later successfully locates the baby.

9 weeks pregnant symptoms

As in the earlier weeks, the increasing pregnancy hormone levels, along with the rising blood volume is responsible for most of the symptoms. Most women continue to experience the symptoms of morning sickness (nausea, vomiting) along with headaches, dizziness [10], gas, heartburn, bloating [11], abdominal pain or cramping and lower back pain [12]. Other common symptoms occurring this week include:

  • Bulging veins, mainly in hands and feet (due to the extra blood passing through them) [10]
  • Nosebleeds [5]
  • Depression and mood swings [2] accompanied by unexplained crying
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Mild vaginal bleeding or spotting [10]
  • Nasal congestion [1]
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Food cravings or aversions [7]
  • Excessive thirst
  • Pica (craving non-edible items like chalk and soap) [13]
  • Breast tenderness
  • Excessive saliva [9]
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • Acne outbreaks [14]
  • Joint pain
  • Itchy skin (especially around the belly and breasts) [21]

Having a twin pregnancy increases the risks of the above symptoms due to higher hCG levels. [15]. However, it is perfectly normal to have few or none of the above symptoms during the ninth week. So, there is nothing to worry about if you do not ‘feel’ pregnant at this stage.

Tips for managing the symptoms

  • Fighting Nasal Congestion: Drinking decaffeinated tea and chicken soup [16]
  • Fighting excessive saliva: Brushing your teeth a few times a day and using a mint mouthwash
  • Remedying heartburn, food aversions and flatulence: Having 5-6 small meals instead of 3 large ones and avoiding lying down immediately after eating spicy/fatty foods [11]
  • Managing indigestion and heartburn: Chewing a sugarless gum or taking Tums [17] or Rolaids [18] (consult a doctor before using any antacids)
  • Coping with breast changes: Wearing special pregnancy support bras
  • Managing insomnia: Try and go to bed early so you get more time to get enough sleep
  • Avoid using the computer right before going to bed as it might interfere with your sleep [9]

When to call the doctor?

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (might indicate complications like miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy) [13]
  • Foul smelling clear, yellowish or brown discharge (might indicate an infection)
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting (over 3-4 times a day) that interferes with your daily routine (might lead to severe dehydration and weight loss which can harm the fetus) [19]
  • High fever over 101 °F accompanied by severe joint pain and skin rash (might indicate an infection)
  • A burning sensation or pain while urinating (might indicate a urinary tract infection)
  • Severe headache or migraine (might indicate high blood pressure or preeclampsia)
  • Unilateral (one-sided) leg swelling (might indicate a blood clot) [19]
  • Severe persistent pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Passing blood clots or tissues (might indicate a miscarriage)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sudden vision problems [20]

Tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

  • Following a healthy diet containing plenty of foods rich in calcium, such as broccoli, cheese and sardines [7]
  • Starting to wear less restrictive clothing for extra comfort
  • Going for your first pre-natal appointment if you have not attended one already
  • Drinking lots of fluids (water, fresh fruit juices) to prevent dehydration and avoid catching a cold [16]
  • Getting as much rest as possible and taking a few small naps throughout the day
  • Following a light exercise routine or joining a prenatal yoga class (jogging is usually not recommended) [14]
  • Taking your pregnancy multivitamins and folic acid supplements daily
  • Avoiding alcohol (although recent studies show an occasional glass of wine does not harm the baby) [22]

Published on April 4th 2014 by .
Article was last reviewed on 13th August 2014.

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