Pregnancy Month Nine
Your uterus is probably up under your ribs and you may be feeling that you have run out of room. This is normal, and to be expected since your baby is now about 20.7 inches (46 cm) long and weighs in around 6 pounds (2750 g). Babies vary in weight from 3 to 6.5 pounds at this point, with the size depending on a number of variables including genetics, the mother’s nutrition and overall health.
His lungs are completing the maturation process, and he continues to practice his breathing movements. His muscle and brain development is enough that he can grasp things in his fingers and turn his body towards a source of light.
If your baby is a boy, his testicles have descended into the scrotum now. If your baby is a girl, her labia have developed. Because she has been practicing sucking and swallowing with the amniotic fluid, there is beginning to be a build-up of waste materials in the intestines. This material is called meconium, and will be your baby’s first bowel movements.
Your baby is increasing surfactant production for the lungs to prepare for labor. He is also benefiting from your antibodies, which are supplied to him through the placenta. Most of the lanugo hair is gone, and the vernix is disappearing.
Your baby is practically ready to be born. A few last details to give him a great start in the world beyond your womb and he's on his way. At the end of the 40th week your baby will be around 14-15 inches from crown to rump and weigh about 6-8 pounds.
You may be feeling a little clumsy this month as your body prepares to stretch the pelvis for labor. The hormones that loosen the pelvis will loosen every joint in your body.
You may also find it getting more difficult to sleep at night. Your large belly and your thoughts about the new baby can be too much to overcome, even when you are tired. Experiment with various sleeping positions and locations until you can get comfortable.
Your breasts may be swelling as they begin to fill with milk. Hormones secreted from the placenta trigger the milk production, however it will not get into full swing until after your baby is born.
Some women seem to have a nesting instinct at this point. They clean and re-clean the house, or stock up on foods for when the baby is born. It's ok to prepare, but don't wear yourself out.
Many women find themselves preocupied with the question, "When will labor start?" Other women explore natural options to start labor, especially if they are pregnant after their due date. However, for most women, waiting for labor to start on its own is the best option.
The following symptoms are commonly experienced during this month. Please click on a symptom to learn why it happens and what you can do about it.