Welcome to week 9 of your pregnancy! Your baby is now around 3 cm in length: roughly the size of a jelly baby, and weighs less than 2g.
Your baby is continuing to grow at a steady rate, with his head making up about half of his length as it goes through a period of rapid growth. His spinal cord has slowed down a little and he’s now starting to look less like he has a tail. He now has a developed heart with 4 chambers, which is beating twice as fast as yours. His eyelids are fused shut for the moment and these will open at around 26 weeks into your pregnancy. Tiny earlobes may now be visible on your baby and these will continue to grow over the next few weeks and even the minuscule tip of his nose is starting to show.
Your placenta is now producing hormones, making nutrients for your baby and getting rid of your baby’s waste products.
You will be pleased to hear he now has hands and his fingers and thumbs have been growing and are noticeably different from each other. His legs are lengthening day by day and baby now has buds forming where her toes will be. His arms have grown and are now beginning to bend at the elbow and he will be beginning to exercise them and move around, though he is still so tiny you cannot yet feel those movements.
If you haven’t already had it, you should soon have your first antenatal appointment: this is known as your booking appointment and this is where you will meet your midwife for the first time. It’s a fairly long boring and not that exciting – lots of form filling and going over medical history. She will work out your due date, check a urine sample with a pregnancy test and may take a blood sample from you to have the routine blood tests done, or give you a form to take to your local hospital/blood clinic between 11 and 14 weeks. This blood analysis checks whether you’re immune to rubella (German measles), your iron levels, to see if you’re anaemic, your blood group, your rhesus status and may also check for baby’s risk of Down’s syndrome and spina bifida. It’s too early to hear your baby’s heartbeat or anything like that but your midwife will start the process to book you in for your first ultrasound at 12 weeks.
You may notice that your breasts are beginning to fill up, they may be heavier and also can become tender to touch. Your breasts will continue to enlarge throughout your pregnancy as they fill up with milk, but the sensitivity should subside by the 4th month of pregnancy. You may notice small white bumps on your areolas (dark part of your nipples) these are known as Montgomery’s tubercles, these are glands that produce oils which help to keep your nipples moist during breastfeeding.
Exercise during pregnancy can be a great idea, but remember not to overdo it! Exercises such as swimming, walking & yoga are recommended whereas sit-ups and reaching for your toes is not such a good idea as this can put too much strain on your joints.
Although it’s still early, you may be starting to notice a slight thickening of your waistline, although others probably won’t be able to tell, even if you really stick it out!
Toilet trips during the night may have become more frequent as your womb presses down on your bladder, it may be an idea to cut down on tea, coffee & other caffeine drinks but it is important not to cut down on fluid intake as you may become dehydrated. You are probably still experiencing other common early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, headaches, backaches, mood swings and tiredness. Isn’t this fun? If the morning sickness becomes extreme, speak to your doctor or midwife as you may be suffering from a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarium.
You may (or may not!) start to feel a bit more like you want to have sex, and if this is the case, go ahead – unless you have been put on pelvic rest there is absolutely no risk to the baby, despite what many people fear. If your partner has any concerns about it, whether they are concerns related to you or the baby or something entirely different, do take them seriously and don’t just scoff. Make sure you take the time to talk through how safe it is: there is even evidence that babies respond very positively to the hormone oxytocin (known as the ‘happy hormone’) released by their mothers during orgasm and that they promote a feeling of wellbeing in the baby as well as in the Mum! Of course, if you don’t feel like sex, that’s totally fine too!
It is important to make sure that if your partner is tired, she gets some rest & that she eats regularly as your baby continues to grow she will need plenty of energy!