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Fetal Development: 9 Months

9 Months (36-40 weeks)


Halfway through the ninth month, your baby will be considered full term. First time moms usually go to 40 weeks ( and sometimes beyond), so try not to depend too much on having her at 38 weeks.

Your baby weighs about 6 to 8 pounds and is approximately 17 - 20 inches in length. Even though your baby is gaining rapidly, you may find that your weight remains the same. Some moms even report dropping a pound or two in the last month. During the month, your baby will grow 2 more inches in height and 2 ½ pounds in body fat. She should be in the head down position by now. Some babies drop more into the pelvis in the 38th week in preparation for delivery. This should take some pressure off your ribs, but will add some to your bladder. At nine months, the placenta weighs in at 1 ½ pounds and the umbilical cord is over two feet long.

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Last month! You’ve finally made it. Are you starting to get uncomfortable? Many women nine months pregnant are dealing with swelling, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, back and sciatic pain, along with constant poking in your ribs. Your little one is finally running out of room.

Other physical symptoms include constipation, heart burn, bloating, indigestion, headaches, easier breathing after baby drops, more frequent urination as baby drops, increased difficulty sleeping, dizziness, nasal congestion, bleeding gums, increase or loss in appetite, leg cramps, itchy stomach, protruding naval, hot flashes, skin changes, fuller and leaky breasts, more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, fatigue or extra energy (nesting), excitement, anxiety, relief that you’re almost there, irritability, over sensitivity, impatience, restlessness, carpal tunnel, tingly hands and feet, fetal hiccups, skin eruptions, and clumsiness. If you are experienced sciatic pain or back pain, invest in a good pregnancy pillow.

Your baby has gotten less active in these last few weeks, as she has run out of room. Although you should still feel regular fetal movements, don’t be too concerned if they are smaller ones.

This month you will have doctor appointments every week. Chances are, your doctor will give you one or two internal exams to check your cervix for thinning, softening, effacement, and/or dilation. FYI, sometimes dilation can be misleading. You can be two or three centimeters dilated, but not have the baby for weeks. On the other hand, you can be ½ inch dilated and go into labor the next day. Lesson being, don’t put too much stock into the internal exams. Good luck mom! It should be any day.

For some ideas on what you will need for your baby, check out:

SmartMomma: Baby Gear


This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.


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