It’s month nine (or week 39) of your pregnancy and you’re almost there – well done! It’s time to put on your Out Of Office and rest up until your new arrival comes along.
There’s a quote you might have seen shared online, it goes like this: ‘Each month has an average of 30-31 days…except the last month of pregnancy which has 1,453 days’.
And that really sums up your life right now. This month will drag. It will be the longest four weeks or so of your life, but look how far you’ve come! There’s a tantalising flicker of something that looks like the light at the end of the tunnel.
Your teeny bean has swelled you to the size of a prize-winning pumpkin (or two) and you are weeks away from meeting your beautiful child. Yes, your feet and backache right now but you have rocked this pregnancy, even when it hasn’t felt that way and the finish line is in sight.
That huge bump, the wriggling inside and the raging heartburn still aren’t enough to quite convince you this is happening and it won’t sink in until you hold your squidgy baby first time. You might be at month nine but you’re still in a world of unknowns. You have no idea when the birth will happen, what your baby will weigh, will she have hair? What will it feel like? Will you have an epidural? Will you poo? Oh come on, you have thought about it, admit it. Look, it happens to some people and not to others and while you might find this hard to believe when the time comes, you won’t care less.
This month will bring some of the things you’ve been longing for.
Your baby’s development at nine months pregnant:
Take a look at what your baby is doing at nine months
1) Nearly time!
The ninth month is here, things are getting seriously real and exciting now.
By now your baby should be positioned with their head down ready for birth. If their feet or bottom is down instead, your doctor needs to attempt to turn them around or you might have a Cesarean birth.
2) Your baby could be the size of a SMALL watermelon
Don’t worry, they won’t be this big, but they will be around the size of a mini watermelon, weighing around 3.3kg (on average!)
3) All organs are fully developed
By week 39, your baby’s organs should be all fully developed. When your baby is born, they will be checked over by your midwife to check their general health using the Apgar scale.
4) They can blink
Now that your baby’s reflexes are coordinated and fully working, they can now close their eyes, and blink! But that’s nothing, your baby can now turn their head and respond to sounds, light, and movements. Now you just have to wait!
5) No more lanugo!
With barely any time left in the womb, all of your baby’s lanugo will now be nearly gone. Lanugo is the thin layer of hair covering the fetus. If a baby is born prematurely, they will still be covered in lanugo.
6) Elongated head?
Your baby’s head could look elongated once they are born. But don’t worry, the bones in their skull will remould into a normal rounded head shape after they are born.
Symptoms at nine months pregnant:
Here are the common things you may be experiencing at this milestone:
Exhausted and uncomfortable
When will pregnancy be over? You just want to see your baby now! You’re tired, impatient and sitting down feels so uncomfortable. It won’t last for much longer, we promise… During this final month you’re likely to experience pelvic pressure on your hips and bladder as your baby drops into place ready for birth. Although this will take the pressure of your lungs allowing you to breath easier, you will feel a hightened urgency to go to the toilet.
With the added pressure on your joints, you could also experience back pain. Placing ice or heat packs on the affected area or treating yourself to a pregnancy massage can help ease the aches and pains.
Not all mums experience this exhaustion, some feel on top of the world! Some pregnant women were full of energy around this time (lucky them!) This is also completely normal to experience as your body prepares for birth.
Facial hair growth!
You look in the mirror, and you see more hair than usual… Hair growth is due to hormones and typically goes away six months after birth. Your hair will also feel much thicker and fuller. Taking vitamin supplements can also influence more hair growth.
The heartburn will worsen
By now you will feel like you have shares in a particular heartburn remedy and even though swallowing it back makes you gag, you really get through that stuff! And when you mention how bad it is to anyone, they all say the same thing don’t they?
‘Ooh, that means baby will have lots of hair!’.
You won’t feel your baby move as much
It’s gotten pretty cramped inside your womb so your baby will struggle to move around and on average, most women feel around ten jabs, kicks or rolls per hour.
It’s time to go on maternity leave!
You might have stopped working before month nine, or you might be waiting a little longer but most women stick that Out Of Office on around 4 weeks before their due date and when it happens it’s like the Friday to end all Fridays (without the alcohol, the heels and the 5 am walk of shame).
Month nine might be the longest but it’s also perhaps the most special – this is the time to really saviour the excitement as well as take lots of time to indulge your laziest desires.
There is nothing like the delight you will feel fizzing through your tired body as you snuggle into your sofa, with those Maltesers and that box set knowing that you can stay there all day.
And you can do it again tomorrow! Bliss is an understatement.
By month nine you might notice people start looking at you differently – a bit like they feel sorry for you as you waddle around and struggle to get up.
You might do one of these two things: Tell them you’re not elderly or ill and to stop looking at you like that. Or embrace it! Let them do stuff for you…it won’t last forever.
Oh but then there’s the endless telephone calls and texts which become a tad harder to put up with, especially if you’re over your due date and busy eating curries or walking up hills.
‘Is that baby not here yet?’ they chime Or ‘Any twinges?’
‘Erm, yes lots of bloomin’ twinges actually but, still no baby so back off’.
These long days and nights of fending off well-meaning messages and wondering, as you heave yourself into bed, if tonight will be the night, seem to go on and on.
The phrase groundhog day finally makes sense to you.
You’ll go into full-on nesting mode
You stand in the freshly painted nursery, day after day, in a silent, tidy house, looking at piles of unopened nappies, neat little stacks of newborn vests and a perfectly made-up cot, hardly able to believe that a baby really will be with you anytime now. The nesting process is natural and it’s normal to feel an overwhelming desire to over-prepare your home for it’s new arrival and some mums find themselves making endless tweeks to the nursery throughout the final weeks before giving birth.
You could experience prodromal labor
Also known as ‘false labor’ or Braxton Hicks, prodromal labor is the feeling of pre-birth contractions that mean your baby is getting into place ready for birth. The contractions can come every 5-10 minutes and last up to a minute and can feel as painful as active labor pains.
While active labor pains get progressively worse and longer in length, prodromal labor pains will not increase in intensity and length. It can be tricky to tell the difference between the different kinds of contractions, especially if this is your first baby so to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor to be sure.
The early signs of labor you need to look out for
Amid all these ups and downs, there is one thing that is set in stone and sealed as fate without you having a clue. Tantalisingly close on the horizon is your baby’s birthday and suddenly almost without warning, it will arrive and the wait will be over.
So the very best thing about month nine is that when the going gets tough, you know that next month, you will be looking into the face (and the exploding nappies) of your little one.
You’ve made it, together and now the fun really starts.