9 Months Pregnant: Symptoms and Foetal Development
Well done, you’re nearly there! At nine months pregnant the end of your pregnancy is in sight and the big day is fast approaching.
For most mums-to-be labour starts at around week either side of their due date, so it’s impossible to predict exactly when your baby will arrive, though.
With each passing day you may be feeling more and more ready for your little one to be born. Especially as you may be finding the extra weight, and other pregnancy symptoms, more challenging in these last few days and weeks.
It’s understandable if you’re getting a little impatient at nine months pregnant; but hang in there – it won’t be long now before you finally get to meet your little one in person.
Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 9 Months Pregnant
Some of the symptoms you might experience at nine months pregnant include:
Frequent urination. You may already have experienced this common symptom of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Now though, at any time before your labour starts (if it hasn’t happened already), your little one may shift downwards into your pelvis in readiness for birth. This can increase the pressure on your bladder, meaning you may find yourself rushing to the loo more often than usual at around nine months pregnant.
Swollen legs, feet and ankles. Your growing uterus may also be pushing down on veins that supply blood to your legs, causing a build-up of fluid during the day, which may lead to swollen feet, legs and ankles. You may be able to help prevent or reduce swelling by not standing for too long, taking plenty of rests with your feet up, and making sure you drink enough water. Gentle exercise like walking or swimming can also keep your circulation up.
Braxton Hicks contractions. A sudden feeling of tightness in your bump, starting from the top and spreading downwards could have you reaching for the phone to call your midwife. It might not be the real thing though. It could be Braxton Hicks, or practice contractions, which are just your body’s way of preparing for labour. You may already have experienced them as early as the second trimester, but they’re more common in the later stages of pregnancy. Some mums-to-be don’t get them at all. If you feel contractions that come at regular intervals, and get longer, stronger and closer together as time passes, call your midwife or doctor – these could be true labour contractions, meaning that labour has started.
Back pain. As pregnancy hormones soften your ligaments to get them ready for labour, more strain is placed on your joints and muscles. In the third trimester the extra weight of your bump, and the change in your centre of gravity, may also be putting extra pressure on your back muscles. Trying to practice good posture and giving your back plenty of support are the best things you can do to prevent back pain. This means: At nine months pregnant it’s best to avoid heavy lifting of any kind. If you need to pick something up from the floor, bend at the knees and keep a straight back. If you turn, avoid twisting your spine. Get plenty of rest, but always make sure your back is firmly supported if you sit up for any length of time. If you get a sudden or unusual backache at nine months pregnant, it could mean your labour is about to start. If you experience this, or any other signs of labour like regular or painful contractions, call your midwife or doctor.
Stretch marks. If you notice pink, red, brown, black, silver or purple streaks appearing on your bump, breasts or thighs, then you’re not alone Some 90 percent of mums-to-be experience this common symptom of pregnancy. Although using a gentle, non-scented moisturiser can help reduce dry skin and itching, there’s no proven way to stop yourself getting stretch marks completely. The good news is that they usually fade and become far less visible over time after your baby is born. You might like to think of your stretch marks as a badge of motherhood – wear them with pride!
How Is My Baby Developing This Month?
At nine months pregnant your little one is probably ready to be born, although precisely when that happens is anybody’s guess.
There’s a good chance that he or she is now facing head-down in readiness for that journey through the birth canal. Not all foetuses perform this somersault though, and others leave it until the last minute to change position.
A foetus that’s still in the feet-first or bottom-first position when your labour’s about to start is referred to as ‘breech’. If your little one is in the breech position, your midwife of doctor may offer to try and manipulate him or her into position.
If this doesn’t work, you may be offered a caesarean section, although this isn’t always the case.
Whether a vaginal birth or caesarean is the safest option depends on lots of things that are unique to your pregnancy. These include the position of your little one’s feet, and where the placenta is.
Your Baby’s Movements at 9 Months Pregnant
It may be getting a bit squashed inside your belly, but this doesn’t mean your little one won’t keep wriggling and moving about in there.
You’re probably familiar with your foetus’s patterns of movement by now – the quiet periods, little naps and more active times.
If you notice any changes or a reduction in this activity, let your midwife or doctor know straight away – any time of night or day. It could be a sign of a complication that needs to be checked out as soon as possible.
Kick-counting apps or charts can be useful for getting a rough idea of what’s normal for your little one, but these should never be used to ‘self-diagnose’ any health problems. If you have any doubts or concerns, call your midwife or doctor to be on the safe side.
9 Months Pregnant: Your Body’s Changes
You might be feeling big, tired and possibly a bit impatient at this point, and rightfully so! But hang in there – you’re only weeks, days or maybe hours from holding your newborn baby in your arms.
At nine months pregnant you’ll probably have antenatal appointments every two weeks, or at least once a week if you’re 40 weeks pregnant or more.
At these visits, your doctor or midwife will measure the size of your uterus with a tape measure to keep track of your little one’s growth.
Your blood pressure will also be taken, and your urine may be tested for protein. These tests are to screen for pre-eclampsia, a rare but serious blood pressure condition that needs to be managed immediately.
If you still haven’t gone into labour by your 41-week appointment, you may be offered a membrane sweep. This is a vaginal examination, which may trigger labour by stimulating your cervix to produce hormones.
The choice of whether to have a membrane sweep is yours. Your midwife or doctor can tell you about the benefits and risks.
At the 41-week appointment, you’ll also be able to discuss your options for the induction of labour if it doesn’t start spontaneously by around 42 weeks.
If you choose not to have your labour induced, you’ll be offered closer monitoring to make sure that you and your little one are both doing well.
How Many Weeks Is 9 Months Pregnant?
At nine months pregnant, you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy. You might still be wondering how many weeks translate into being nine months pregnant. There’s no simple answer, as the weeks of pregnancy don't fit evenly within nine distinct months.
This final month could start sometime around 38 weeks and last until 42 weeks, or the birth of your baby.
FAQs at a Glance
How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS).
The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
Checklist for When You’re 9 Months Pregnant
Ask your doctor in what circumstances he or she might recommend induction or a caesarean section.
Find out whether you’ll have access to equipment like birthing stools, balls and pools during labour.
Pack your hospital bag and practice your route to the hospital.
If you’re planning to take your baby home by car, read up on these car safety tips, and make sure you know how to safely fit and remove your infant car seat or baby carrier.
Get started baby-proofing your home, or give your baby-proofing measures one last check.
Start preparing in advance for the first few weeks and months after you bring your newborn baby home. For example, freeze some meals, ask friends and family for help with chores, and arrange childcare for older children.
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