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Your pregnancy - week 9

Your pregnancy - week 9


What is happening now?

At 9 weeks of pregnancy, it is now 49 days since your baby was conceived, so you are now starting week 10. Scientists no longer refer to your baby as an embryo - they are now called a fetus (also spelt foetus), which is Latin for 'young one'.
 
Your baby now measures around 2.5 cm from crown to rump (1 inch) and the webbing between their fingers and toes has disappeared, creating separate digits. Your baby's nail beds are starting to form, but actual nails are not present until they are about 20 weeks gestation.

FetalDevelopmentWeek9.jpg


Your baby's heart has developed valves within their aorta and pulmonary blood vessels. These direct blood flow to and from their body and lungs, via their umbilical cord to your body. Their liver is now producing blood cells. This task will eventually be taken over by your baby's bone marrow, once their bones fully mature. Your baby's lungs are growing bronchi tunnels, which will eventually transport air after they are born.
 
Your baby's elbows, knees, wrists and ankles are developing. Their bones are initially soft and flexible (made of cartilage) and muscle tissue has begun forming between their skin and bones. Their neck is more developed, allowing them to slightly lift and turn their head! They may even be able to touch their own face with their hands - the beginnings of thumb sucking!
 
Your baby's ovaries or testes are now well developed. However, both sexes look the same at this early stage because their external sex organs are just beginning to form.
 

Physical changes

Headaches

Some women experience frequent headaches during early pregnancy. These may be caused by hormonal changes and/or the normal increase in blood volume circulating (up to 50% more). Adjusting to a new pregnancy can also be a stressful time, causing tension headaches. If you are prone to headaches or migraines, you may notice you do not experience them as often during pregnancy, or you may find they tend to be worse. You can read more about headaches and some support strategies here.
 

Dizziness

Some women feel light-headed during pregnancy, or even physically faint. In the Victorian era, fainting was an unsophisticated way of telling if a woman was pregnant! Fainting and dizziness is common and happens because your blood vessels naturally relax and dilate under the influence of the progesterone hormone, lowering your blood pressure. Fainting is not usually a problem, just a little embarrassing if you do it in public! You can read more about fainting here.
 
Other physical signs of pregnancy are explained here.
 

Emotional reactions

As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel your sexuality has changed. Some women notice a rise in their libido, others a definite decline. You may also notice your partner's libido changing. How you and your partner feel about making love together during pregnancy can affect your relationship. Depending on your expectations, your individual feelings may deepen towards each other, or perhaps place an added strain. Read more about relationships and maintaining your intimacy here and intercourse during early pregnancy here.
 
 

Other considerations

Hair dye and hair removal

Many women are concerned about the effects of dyeing their hair during pregnancy. The chemicals used in hair dyes are many and varied, but there is little concrete evidence to estimate the real risks involved. What we do know is that chemicals from hair dyes can be absorbed through a woman's scalp (and the skin on her hands if not wearing gloves). You can read more about hair dyeing here and about products to remove unwanted hair including laser and IPL here.
 

Tanning products

Tanning beds and self tanning products have only been available for a relatively short period of time. There is mounting evidence that tanning beds cause skin cancer with moves to ban their use on the cards, but little concrete evidence to estimate the real risks involved with tanning creams, particularly during pregnancy. Tanning creams and lotions contain the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which is absorbed through the skin, passing into your bloodstream, and to the baby through the placenta. You can read more about tanning products here.
 

Natural therapies

Acupuncture and acupressure

Acupuncture is used to treat many ailments as well as male and female fertility, fatigue and stress and as a tool to give up addictions such as smoking. During pregnancy acupuncture may be used for back pain, high blood pressure, fluid retention, inducing and stimulating labour contractions, turning the position of the baby, insomnia, morning sickness, headaches, bleeding and other conditions. After the birth treatments may address healing or mastitis or to balance the general well-being of the mother. You can read more here.

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