Pregnancy: What To Expect The Ninth Month

How a baby develops in the ninth month of pregnancy, as well as information about a mother's body.

This is it! You are in the last month of your pregnancy! As month nine approaches, you cannot help but feel thrilled knowing your first meeting with baby is right around the corner. The nursery is all set up, the name is all picked out, the due date has been established and baby showers are being thrown. There is so much to think about as you count the days until baby's arrival. You may be wondering how your baby is developing during this final month and what changes you can expect out of your own body.

Your Baby

Your baby is getting all geared up to make her appearance in a few weeks. By the time she emerges, she will be anywhere from eighteen to twenty inches long and weigh approximately seven to eight pounds. Her lungs are maturing in these final weeks and her brain is continuing to develop at a swift pace. She is accumulating more fat, smoothening out the wrinkles in her skin. She is preparing to emerge, so she will migrate to a lower spot in your abdomen, towards the bottom of the pelvis. This movement is also known as lightening, and you may notice it is becoming easier to breathe. Your body is beginning to transfer over antibodies to your baby through the placenta. Your baby is forming her own sleep pattern, blinking more and clamping and unclamping her hands. All of the fine hair covering her body (lanugo) is starting to shed, as is the white creamy substance (vernix) that protects her from the amniotic fluid.

Your Body

Instead of the twice a month visits, your physician will more than likely suggest weekly checkups. During these checkups, your weight, urine and blood pressure will be checked, as well as any other symptoms you may be experiencing. One difference during these checkups is that your physician will now be monitoring your baby's position and presentation. The position of your baby is determined by which way your baby is facing: the front or the back. The presentation means whether your baby is upside down (with her head down) or right-side up (with her head up). Towards the middle of your ninth month, your physician will also check your cervix to see how much you have effaced and dilated. Many women experience Braxton Hicks contractions during this last month. Braxton Hicks contractions occur when women experience a painless tightening of the uterine walls. Some common symptoms during this last month include trouble sleeping, irritability, moodiness, fatigue, backache and constipation. You may experience discomfort as you attempt to learn to deal with the beach ball that is your stomach. Some women report a sense of clumsiness during this final month. By the time you are ready to deliver, you may have gained anywhere from twenty to thirty five pounds. Be sure to have your hospital bags packed since due dates are notorious for being off. You will want to speak to your doctor about the symptoms you should be looking for when you start to experience your first real contractions and the way you wish to deliver your baby (either naturally or with drugs).

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