Your pregnancy: month 9 - TheTot
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Your pregnancy: month 9

Get the nursery ready, you are about to have a baby!

(Cue: hysterical nervous laughter, accidental peeing, extreme sleeplessness.)

belly tummy of a pregnant woman on a white background

Weeks 35 and 36

Your baby is the size of a: pineapple

Your baby measures up to 20 inches and weighs about five and a half pounds, but he is not done plumping up. Between now and the day of delivery, hisbody fat percentage will increase from 15 % to 30%. The last organs to fully mature are the lungs, but they’re almost there.

By week 36, your baby’s growth is slowing down to prepare for the delivery. Most of his systems – including blood circulation and the immune system – are ready to go, but the digestive system won’t be fully developed until after birth. Your baby’s first bowel movement (called meconium) will be composed of lanugo and vernix caseosa (the downy hair and waxy coating on your baby’s skin that’s shed before birth), as well as some amniotic fluid.

Weeks 37 and 38

Your baby is the size of a: large cantaloupe

Your baby is considered “early term” because his lungs are fully developed, but growth will continue until birth. Your little one is busy preparing for the outside world by practicing breathing, blinking, sucking and wriggling. The head (which is still big in comparison to the rest of the body) should be down and engaged in your pelvis now. If you have a stubborn breech baby, your doctor or midwife might attempt to turn it using their hands.

At 38 weeks, your cantaloupe is nearly 21 inches long and weighs close to seven pounds.  The lungs are producing surfactant, a substance that will enable breathing in the real world, and the brain and nervous system are receiving some last-minute tweaks.

Weeks 39 and 40

Your baby is the size of a: watermelon

You’ve made it! Your baby is considered “full term” and could be here any day now. Watch out for signs that labor might be approaching, including the loss of the mucous plug (a yellow, sometimes bloody discharge that can occur weeks to days before birth), the bloody show (a pink or brown discharge that occurs shortly before birth) and the rupture of the membranes (water breaking). Your doctor can also check your cervix for dilation (opening) and effacement (thinning), which happen as labor gets closer.

If all goes well, you should be meeting your baby in week 40 (although some babies like to stick around a little longer). Your little one should weigh between six and nine pounds, and measure 19 to 22 inches. At birth, his vision will be blurry, so cuddle your new addition tight to comfort him with your smell and voice. Enjoy your bundle of joy!

Common symptoms:

  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea (shortly before birth)
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Leg cramps
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding gums
  • Varicose veins
  • Stretch marks
  • Skin rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness and clumsiness
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Colostrum
  • Lightening (baby drops into your pelvic cavity)
  • Changed fetal movement (due to less space)
  • Loss of mucous plug
  • Bloody show
  • Dilation and effacement of the cervix

Tips of the month: Now’s a good time to make sure all the essentials are ready for baby’s arrival: correctly installed car seat, basic clothes and nursery supplies. Remember that only 5% of babies come on their due date. You might be feeling a strong nesting instinct and have the urge to repaint the house, but make sure to schedule in plenty of rest too – it could be the last time in a while! If you’re past your due date, talk to your doctor about natural ways to induce labor. Acupuncture and sex might work, but eating pineapple and spicy foods are old wives’ tales.