This week, your baby is busy developing its muscles, brain cells and nervous system. Your baby will start to move its elbows and joints in small jerks, but the movements are still too small for you to feel anything yet. During week 9, your uterus grows large enough to fill out your pelvis, and it is around the size of a small grapefruit or orange; You might already begin to feel your favorite jeans tightening.
By the end of week 9, your baby will be around 4 cm long, roughly the size of a golf ball, and weigh approximately 10 grams. 🏌
Increased blood flow
As mentioned in week 8, the combined blood volume in your body increases during your pregnancy. You might experience that your gums bleed easily when you brush your teeth, or that you become more prone to nosebleeds. Studies show that the amount of blood in a pregnant woman’s system can increase by 40-50% during her pregnancy! Crazy, right?
This increase in blood and blood flow through your body is very good for your uterus and baby, but it can have some side effects for mommy. Besides the two listed above, you might start to experience swelling in your limbs (most likely your feet and ankles, but everything can swell – including your face), and increased body temperature, as the extra blood will boost your metabolism, creating more body heat. But the extra blood in your system is probably also responsible for that famous “pregnancy glow” you hear so much about.
Starting next week, you should start taking prenatal iron supplements, which will help your body deal with the increase in blood. Check the correct amount of iron with your doctor or midwife; if you feel faint and dizzy, you might need to increase your milligrams.
Doctor consultations and scans
If you haven’t already called your doctor and told them about your pregnancy, now is the time to do it, so you can get your first consultation. There are multiple scans and examinations offered to you during your pregnancy; one of the most important early scans is a nuchal scan or nuchal translucency scan, which can be performed in week 11-14.
It’s a voluntary scan that can be used to detect chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus, which can result in conditions such as Downs Syndrome. It’s not a definitive test; you will either get a low-risk or high-risk result. If you receive a high-risk result, you can get other, more accurate tests, to get a definitive answer. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities increases with age, but it can happen to women of all ages, so screening is offered to everyone.
You shouldn’t worry yourself crazy about this, but it can be a good idea to have a conversation with your partner now about the scan and what you want to do, if your scan comes back positive for chromosomal abnormalities.
Read more about the next week of your pregnancy in week 10 of our week-by-week pregnancy calendar.