Your pregnancy: 9 weeks

In week 9 your baby is about the same size as a green olive. From the top of his head to the bottom of his buttocks, he's about 22 to 33 mm long.

Felt piece of macaroni used to show how big baby is at 9 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 9 weeks pregnant

Your baby is the size of a piece of macaroni this week! If you could take a peek inside, you might be able to start guessing whose nose he has because your baby’s facial features are becoming much more distinct. At nine weeks pregnant, his eyelids are visible, but they will stay fused shut until around week 27. And even though it’s too soon to tell by ultrasound, your baby’s genitals are becoming more visible and your baby’s heartbeat is strong enough to hear with a fetal Doppler on your belly. At this point in your pregnancy, your baby has reached a big milestone, having graduated from an embryo to a fetus.

9 weeks pregnant symptoms

So. Freaking. Tired.
The levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) tend to peak around this time, so you might be feeling moody, nauseous and more tired. But don’t despair: Once you get over this bump (ha!), you’ll start to feel much better. At nine weeks pregnant, the fatigue can feel like it’s taken over, and you’ll be fighting the urge to nod off whenever you stop moving. The exhaustion typically lets up once the first-trimester hormones simmer down. But in the meantime, sleep whenever you can and keep eating small snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

 

Why are my doctors looking at my thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. Although it’s small, it produces hormones that can have a big impact on your metabolism, cholesterol and temperature, which affect your weight, mood and energy levels. During pregnancy, your body’s demand for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) increases, which means that a previously undetected thyroid disorder can worsen. Of course, some of the symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid (whether it’s overactive or underactive) are very similar to common pregnancy symptoms. The jury is still out on whether all pregnant women should be screened, so if you have a pre-existing thyroid condition, a family history of thyroid disease or any other risk factors, such as an autoimmune disease, make sure that your doctor knows as soon as possible. An untreated thyroid condition can have adverse effects on both mom and baby. Luckily, your thyroid levels can be safely monitored with a simple blood test and managed with daily medication (which is safe for the fetus) during pregnancy. Normal TSH ranges are 0.1 to 2.5 during the first trimester, 0.2 to 3.0 during the second trimester and 0.3 to 3.0 during the third trimester.

Losing your waistline
You might notice that your pants don’t feel as comfy as usual, and that could finally be your growing uterus, which has already doubled in size. It may also feel firmer in the lower part of your abdomen (that’s also your growing uterus), so jeans with buttons will feel really uncomfortable. You can put off buying maternity pants a little longer by using a belly band, or by simply looping an elastic band through the buttonhole and wrapping it around the button. Many women notice that their waistlines thicken before their bumps begin to show. Loose, flowing tops over leggings are another great way to keep your secret under wraps a little longer if you’d like. But if you want to start looking at maternity jeans, we asked three moms to put the most popular brands to the test. Here’s what they thought! 

Forever Fit Skinny Maternity + Post Pregnancy Jeans

What’s on your mind this week

Photo: iStockphotoImportant precautions for a healthy pregnancy

How much weight should you gain?
Even though you won’t look very different in the first trimester, weight gain will happen and it’s a good thing—after all, your body is growing a human! Your ideal weight gain depends a lot on your pre-pregnancy weight. For example, a woman with an average body mass index (BMI) should gain about 25 to 30 pounds over the course of her pregnancy. Of course, every woman is different, especially moms who are carrying multiples. Some women even lose weight during the first trimester due to the severity of their nausea or food aversions. It’s something you and your healthcare provider can keep tabs on together, but it only becomes a great concern if you swing too far in one direction or the other. Read about trends in weight gain for Canadian moms here.

Just for kicks

Maybe the sight, smell or even thought of certain foods sends you running for the washroom these days. Are there only a few foods you can stomach? In the first trimester, a lot of women report craving fruit. Then there are the more stereotypical pregnancy tells, such as pickles and ice cream. Or, if you’re Mila Kunis, it’s…sauerkraut. 

Baby names

What’s in a name? Well, once you’ve locked down a first name and agreed on the last name, there’s always your baby’s middle name to consider.

Pregnancy to-do list: 9 weeks pregnant

Breaking it to the boss
If you’re working right now, you’re probably starting to think about how and when to tell your employer about your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to look into your workplace policies, as well as think about what you want your maternity leave to look like and what will happen to your role while you’re on leave. If you have a colleague who has already taken a maternity leave, you might find it reassuring to have a discussion about how it went for her.

At present, Canadians are entitled to one year of parental leave with benefits—including self-employed parents if they meet the requirements. It includes up to 15 weeks for birth mothers and up to 35 weeks in addition for parental leave (for biological or adoptive parents—and it can be split between partners), during which time you may be eligible to receive 55 percent of your average weekly earnings up to a maximum amount. (What does this mean for your mat-leave budget? As of January 2, 2019, the maximum yearly insurable-earnings amount is $53,100 which means a maximum payment of $562 per week). With the government extending parental leave to 18 months (over which you’d get that amount over 18 months instead of 12), the search for child care is now less of a burden for parents who return to work. 

Read more:
I’m doing the 18-month maternity leave and this is why it’s awesome
Why I think 18 months of mat leave is actually pretty useless
Next up: 10 weeks pregnant

 

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