This week, your baby will officially leave the “embryo” stage of development and enter the “fetal” stage. At this point, your baby’s heartbeat may be audible on the Doppler ultrasound, so you might be able to finally hear your baby’s heartbeat in your doctor’s office. But don’t worry if you can’t hear the heartbeat yet—it might be a few more weeks, and that’s totally normal!
By now, your waistline has started to expand, your breasts are bigger thanks to those pregnancy hormones, and even if people aren’t stopping you on the street to say, “Congratulations!” you’re still feeling the effects.
Internally, there are even more changes going on. During pregnancy, your blood volume will increase by as much as half. This is great for your baby—it keeps your baby fed and gives him or her plenty of oxygen. It’s also good for you. The extra blood volume helps keep you healthy and provides some protection against blood loss during labor. At week 9, your blood volume has already begun to increase; it will continue to increase throughout the second trimester and into the third trimester. Be aware, however, that this increase in blood volume can increase your risk for anemia. This is because your blood has two parts: fluid and red blood cells. The fluid actually increases faster than the cells, which can cause anemia simply because your blood is a little more dilute. Ask your health care provider about your iron levels and if iron supplements are necessary.
Many of your first-term symptoms will likely continue, including morning sickness, fatigue, and moodiness, as well as cravings (if you’ve been experiencing them). The good news is these will start to taper off in the next few weeks.
These are exciting weeks in your baby’s development! Your baby is now about the size of a large grape or olive. The fetal age is 7 weeks.
The changes that occur in week 9 are both large and detailed. Your baby’s arms and legs will continue to lengthen, with increased development of the fingers and toes. And while the head is still oversized, the baby is looking more and more “human.” It’s interesting to note that many fetal mammals look identical in the very early stages of pregnancy—it can be almost impossible to tell them apart. Around this age, however, your baby looks definitely human, and the placenta that will support your baby for the rest of the pregnancy is fully formed.
Small changes are also occurring throughout your baby’s body. The eyelids are appearing now and almost covering the eyes. The pink shells of the ears have formed and are identifiable as ears. The baby’s heart has completed its division into four chambers.
The sex organs have begun to form, but it’s still too early to tell if your baby is a boy or girl via ultrasound—that’s still some weeks away.
“Changes to your breasts is your body’s way of already preparing you for breastfeeding!”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018