Nine Months Pregnant: What to Expect
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Nine Months Pregnant: What to Expect

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WEEK THIRTY THREEWEEK THIRTY FOURWEEK THIRTY FIVEWEEK THIRTY SIXWEEK THIRTY SEVENWEEK THIRTY EIGHT | WEEK THIRTY NINE | WEEK FORTY |

WEEK THIRTY THREE

Your baby is the size of a Durian.

This week your baby may be anywhere between 17 to 19 inches in length and could grow up to another full inch — especially if he or she has been on the shorter side.With that much baby inside your uterus, your amniotic-fluid level has maxed out at 33 weeks pregnant, making it likely you have more baby than fluid now. That’s one reason explaining why some of your baby’s pokes and kicks feel pretty sharp these days.

Interestingly, if you could look into your uterine walls, here’s what you’d see: your fetus acting more and more like a baby, with the eyes closing during sleep and opening while awake. And because those uterine walls are becoming thinner, more light penetrates the womb, helping your baby differentiate between day and night (now if only baby can remember that difference on the outside!). 

Also this week, the fetal immune system is developing which will come in handy once your baby begins to fight all sorts of germs outside.

YOUR BODY

Good bye sleep – well for a little while! With the hormonal changes, midnight bathroom runs, leg cramps, heartburn and your basketball-sized belly, it’s no wonder sleep is eluding you. Third-trimester insomnia strikes about three in four pregnant women (who may also be coping with anxiety about the upcoming birth and a mind that races all night long thinking about your to-do-before-the-baby-comes list). At 33 weeks pregnant, your body needs rest, so remember that worrying about it won’t help and neither will staring at the clock watching the minutes tick by. Instead, do your best to get comfy and relaxed — before bed and when you get in it. 

TIPS & TO-DOS

  • Increase the OMEGA-3 fatty acids content in your diet.Studies suggest that infants born to mothers whose diets contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA)(found mostly in fish oils) have an edge in terms of early development.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Strong Fetal Movement
  • Varicose Veins
  • Round Ligament Pain
  • Nail Changes
  • An Innie-Turned-Outie
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Clumsiness
  • Pregnancy Brain
  • Braxton Hicks Contractions: These practice contractions are most often felt by moms who’ve already gone through a pregnancy. How do you know they’re not the real thing? Even at their most intense, changing your position (from sitting to lying down, from lying down to walking around) will usually make them disappear.

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WEEK THIRTY FOUR

Your baby is the size of a Butternut squash.

This week your baby is clocking in at five pounds and could be as tall as 20 inches.

Also if your baby is a boy, then you’ll be pleased to know that this week his testicles are making their way down from his abdomen to his scrotum. (Some baby boys — three to four percent — are born with undescended testicles, but they usually make the trip down sometime before the first birthday.)

In other baby-related developments, those tiny fingernails have probably reached the tips of his fingers by now — and getting ready for that first postpartum manicure.

YOUR BODY

Your uterus at 34 weeks pregnant is a whole five inches above your navel now.

But wait – are you seeing things? You likely aren’t as well as usual. That’s because your eyes are yet another part of your body that falls prey to those pesky pregnancy hormones — the same ones doing a number on your digestive tract and your ligaments. Not only does your vision seem blurry these days, but a decrease in tear production can leave your eyes dry and irritated, especially if you wear contact lenses. What’s more, an increase in fluid behind your eyes’ lenses can temporarily change their shape, making some women more near sighted or far sighted than usual (you may find wearing glasses rather than contact lenses to be more comfortable). Happily, these changes are all temporary. Things should clear up as your eyes return to normal after delivery (so there’s no need to change your prescription just yet). But do keep in mind that certain more serious vision problems can be a sign of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, so be sure to mention any vision changes to your practitioner.

TIPS & TO-DOs

  • Your eyes may be feeling more dry and sensitive than usual, so keep your sunglasses and eye drops handy.
  • Feeling blue? Up to 23% of pregnant women suffer from depression during pregnancy. This too shall pass- look forward to your bundle of joy coming your way very soon.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Bloating & Gas
  • Constipation & Hemorrhoids
  • Increased Vaginal Discharge
  • Backaches
  • Leg cramps
  • Stretch Marks
  • Edema
  • Fast-Growing Hair
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Insomnia
  • Leaking Colostrum

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WEEK THIRTY FIVE

Your baby is the size of a coconut.

Your baby is standing quite tall (so to speak) this week at about 20 inches . But at about five and a half pounds, your baby’s weight gain is on the rise : your baby will pack on anywhere from one pound to several, including large amounts of baby fat, up until delivery day. In fact, back in the middle of your pregnancy your baby’s weight was only two percent fat; now at 35 weeks pregnant, that percentage has soared to closer to 15 percent and will increase to 30 percent at term. Which means your baby’s once skinny arms and legs are now quite plump…and irresistibly, squeezably soft.

Something else that’s developing at a mind-boggling pace these day: your baby’s brain power. Luckily, the part that surrounds that amazing brain — the skull — remains soft. And for good reason: A soft skull will allow your baby to squeeze more easily through the birth canal.

YOUR BODY

Did you know that the measurement in centimetres from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus is roughly equivalent to the number of weeks of pregnancy? So at 35 weeks pregnant, your doctor will likely be measuring 35 centimetres on the tape measure. It’s an easy way to remember how far along you are.

Something else that’ll remind you just how far along you are in your pregnancy: frequent urination. Yes, it’s first trimester déjà vu all over again, but this time, instead of pregnancy hormones to blame, it’s the position of your baby’s head that’s causing the need to pee. Now that your baby is head-down in preparation for delivery, his or her head is pressing squarely on your bladder. The result? An urgent need to pee all the time. As if that’s not enough, you may also experience urgency (gotta go now!) or a lack of bladder control when you cough, sneeze or even laugh (though there’s nothing funny about that). Whatever you do, don’t cut back on fluids! Instead, empty your bladder as completely as possible by leaning forward (if you can with that big belly of yours — be careful not to tip over), practice your Kegel exercises (which will strengthen the pelvic muscles and prevent or correct most cases of pregnancy-induced incontinence) and wear a panty-liner if you need one.

TIPS & TO-DOS

  • Pregnancy hormones thicken the mucous membranes in your nose, making you feel all stuffy. Buy a box of those (genius!) nasal strips that open up your nostrils.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Heartburn or Indigestion
  • Occasional Headaches
  • Varicose Veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Skin Rashes
  • Increasing Clumsiness
  • Pregnancy Brain
  • Braxton Hicks Contractions

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WEEK THIRTY SIX

Your baby is the size of a honey dew.

Forget your aching back and everything else! by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 20 inches long. Growth will experience a slowdown now, both so your baby will be able to fit the narrow passageway to the outside and also so he or she can store up all the energy needed for delivery.

At 36 weeks pregnant, the skull bones are also not fused together yet so that the head can easily (well, relatively easily) maneuver through the birth canal. And your baby’s skull isn’t the only soft structure in his or her little body. Most of your baby’s bones and cartilage are quite soft as well (they’ll harden over the first few years of life) — allowing for an easier journey as your baby squeezes through the birth canal at delivery.

Also, by now, many of your baby’s systems are pretty mature, at least in baby terms — and just about ready for life on the outside. Blood circulation, for instance, has been perfected and your baby’s immune system has matured enough to protect him or her from infections outside the womb. Other systems, however, still need a few finishing touches. Once such notable example: digestion — which actually won’t be fully mature until sometime after birth. Why’s that? Inside his or her little gestational cocoon, your baby has relied on the umbilical cord for nutrition, meaning that the digestive system — though developed — hasn’t been operational. So your baby will take the first year or two to bring that system up to speed.

YOUR BODY

Wow- it’s the last month of pregnancy! For one thing, by 36 weeks pregnant you’re doing the penguin waddle : it’s not in your imagination, it’s in your connective tissue. It’s the result of the hormone-triggered loosening and softening of your connective tissue. And that’s particularly important now that you’re nearing D-day (delivery day). Your baby — who’s grown quite large by this point — needs to squeeze through your pelvic bones, so it’s a good thing that they’re more flexible now. This is your body’s way of getting ready to squeeze a big baby out of a small space.

However,the downside to all this joint flexibility is pelvic pain. Add the pressure from your baby’s head (burrowing deeper and deeper into your pelvis now) and your heavier uterus weighing you down and it’s no wonder it’s a pain to walk around these days. To relieve the pain, relax with your hips elevated and do some pelvic exercises.

As your baby drops into your pelvic cavity (and keep in mind that not all babies drop before labor begins), the upward pressure of the uterus on your diaphragm is relieved. Once this “lightening” strikes, you’ll be able to take bigger and deeper breaths. Your stomach also won’t be so squished anymore, making eating more comfortable for you.

TIPS & TO-DOS

Another labor signal to watch for is extra-thick vaginal discharge that’s pink or even a bit blood-tinged. This is the start of your mucus plug dropping. The mucus plug is a ball of tissue that’s been blocking your cervical opening during pregnancy to keep your uterus safe from germs. Losing your plug doesn’t mean that labor’s starting ASAP, though. Many women lose their plugs up to two weeks before labor officially begins.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Changes in Fetal Movement
  • Heartburn or Indigestion
  • Bloating & Gas
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic Pain
  • More Frequent Urination
  • Edema (Swelling in Feet and Ankles)
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal Discharge Streaked With Blood: The discharge from your vagina may be increasing and getting thicker. Don’t be shocked if you notice the mucous is pinkish, red or brownish after you’ve had sex or a vaginal examination. That just means that your cervix, which is sensitive now and may be starting to dilate, has been bruised.
  • Itchy Belly: Your belly might be stretched to the breaking point (or at least feel that way). Creams containing cocoa butter or vitamin E can soothe that itchy abdomen and bring some relief.
  • Nesting Instinct: It’s normal to be tired by the time you hit week 36. But you may also get the burst of extra energy known as the nesting instinct — a need to get organized and ready for the baby. If you do feel energized, take breaks to rest and eat.

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WEEK THIRTY SEVEN

Your baby is the size of a winter melon.

At 37 weeks pregnant, your baby’s lungs are likely mature — but that doesn’t mean your baby has finished growing yet. In fact, until the end of week 38 considered as “early term,” your baby is still packing on about a half an ounce per day or half a pound a week. At this age, the average fetus weighs about 6.5 pounds — boys, though, are likely to be heavier at birth than girls.

So what’s keeping your little one busy while waiting it out until D-day? Practice, practice, practice. Right now, your little superstar is busy rehearsing for the big debut, simulating breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking on his or her thumb, blinking and pivoting from side to side.

DID YOUR KNOW#: Your baby’s head (which, by the way, is still growing) will, at birth, be the same size circumference as his or her hips, abdomen and shoulders. And guess what’s making an impression (literally) these days on those shoulders and hips: fat — causing little dimples in those cute elbows and knees, shoulders and hip and creases and folds in the neck and wrists.

YOUR BODY

Your doctor may check for labour signs: first, for dilation, or how far your cervix has opened (it needs to open to 10 centimetres for the baby to pass through into the birth canal) along with cervical ripeness (the consistency of the cervix — it starts out being firm like the tip of your nose and softens to the same texture as the inside of your cheek before labour). Next he or she will check for effacement, or how thin your cervix is (it’ll be 100 percent effaced before you push your baby out). The position of your cervix (it moves from the back to the front as labour approaches) will also be assessed. And last but not least, your doctor will measure the station (or position) of the baby in relation to your pelvis (the lower down your baby is, the closer you are to delivery).

Although it all sounds very scientific, it’s actually not at all. These processes can occur gradually (over a period of weeks or even a month or more in some women) or overnight. So while they’re clues that you’re indeed progressing, they’re far from sure bets when it comes to pinpointing the actual start of labour. You can be very dilated and not have your baby for weeks. Or your cervix can be high and closed during an exam one morning, and you can be on the delivery table by noon.

TIPS & TO-DOS

  • Feeling bloated? Don’t stop drinking water. Drinking the recommended 8 glasses will actually help ease your fluid retention.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Changes in Fetal Activity
  • Heartburn or Indigestion
  • Cervical Dialation or Effacement
  • Bloody Show
  • Varicose Veins
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Leg Cramps
  • Stretch Marks
  • Breast Changes
  • Pregnancy Brain
  • Insomnia

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WEEK THIRTY EIGHT

Your baby is the size of a pumpkin.

Your little one isn’t quite so little anymore, weighing close to seven pounds and measuring nearly 21 inches long. Only two more weeks (or plus two more, max) before your baby makes his or her appearance!

At 38 weeks pregnant, all systems are almost go! As you prepare for your baby’s  arrival, he or she is also getting ready, big time. Vernix and lanugo continue to shed from your baby’s body into the amniotic fluid. Your baby swallows that amniotic fluid and some of it winds up in his or her intestines where it — along with other shed cells, bile and other waste products — will turn into your baby’s first bowel movement (meconium) and perhaps your first diaper change. Your baby’s lungs continue to mature and produce more and more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in the lungs from sticking to one another once your baby starts to breathe.

YOUR BODY




By Silver Rattle

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