What is the ninth week of pregnancy?
In the ninth week of pregnancy, a woman is at the end of the first trimester. The gestational age of the fetus is 7 weeks. Major changes develop in the body of the mother and baby. The baby develops from the embryonic stage to the fetal stage. There is continued rapid growth with developmental changes. Increasing levels of pregnancy hormones such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and progesterone cause the peak increase of early pregnancy symptoms in a woman. At this stage of pregnancy, the woman cannot feel the baby’s movements, but the placenta starts to develop to take over the hormone production and to provide the required nourishment for the fetus (baby). The uterus expands and grows double its size to accommodate and groom the growing fetus.
Changes in a woman and symptoms
Due to the high level of hormonal influence, a woman experiences the full force of early pregnancy symptoms at the ninth week. The waist circumference slightly expands at this point, the breasts increase in size and the areolas begin to change in color. There is increased blood flow to the womb because of high oxygen demand. Many women experience severe emotional outbursts at this stage due to high progesterone levels in their systems. The most common symptoms experienced by a pregnant woman include
- Some amount of vaginal bleeding or spotting and mild uterine cramping can be seen in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Fatigue, dizziness and lethargy are observed because there is a significant amount of workload on the heart.
- Nausea and vomiting are observed that are also known as “morning sickness.”
- Frequent heartburn and constipation are observed because the hormones might slow down the movement of the food and cause digestive problems.
- Frequent urination is observed because the expanding uterus puts pressure on the bladder and the increased blood volume in the body creates an urge to urinate often.
- Food cravings and aversion to certain foods are common because the sense of smell is heightened at this stage and the woman starts to crave certain foods and may feel an aversion towards foods she once enjoyed.
- Other symptoms such as headaches, low back pain, darkening of the skin and gum tenderness are all expected during the early months of pregnancy.
Fetal development and growth
The fetus is 2.3 cm long and weighs about 2 grams at 9 weeks. The process whereby the heart divides into four chambers concludes and the valves start to form. The fetal heartbeat is audible on an ultrasound. The eyes of the fetus are fully formed along with the teeth, earlobes, mouth, nose and nostrils. The embryonic tail has now completely disappeared. The head straightens out and the fetus begins to look more like a human. The body’s major physiological organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver and lungs develop and the fetus spontaneously moves its arms and legs.
During the prenatal visit, the doctor checks the health of the mother and the fetus. They perform a complete medical history and physical examination to discover pregnancy symptoms and status of the fetus. The first trimester screening test is done at the ninth week of pregnancy to observe fetal health and detect any fetal abnormalities. The tests include
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