Nine Weeks Pregnant Belly
So today I am at week 9 of pregnancy and overall I am feeling good. Nausea kicked in this last week but it was not persistent throughout the day, and it was sometimes just in the morning or just in the evening. My energy levels are good, considering I am wide awake at 5 am. With the Covid 19 going on right now, I am working from home and can sleep in if I would like, but for some reason, I am up super early. I do wake up feeling rested, but I feel the need to close my eyes mid-day, to try to get in a nap. It helps even if it is just a rest for 45 min to 1 hour. By 10 pm however, at the latest, I am ready for bed! So has pregnancy been easy so far? No, because I am struggling with one thing so far which is my own personal struggle. I will confess this to my readers very openly, hoping you will not judge: My 9 weeks pregnancy belly has been hard to accept.
So can you really have a pregnancy belly at 9 months? Based on what I was reading on-line, I was starting to worry because most people say, that the belly starts to show at week 12, and that many do not put on any weight in the 1st trimester due to nausea, vomiting and loss of hunger. I can tell you for sure, all I want to do is eat! It doesn’t help to be up so early and to be stuck at home all day with this Covid 19 social isolation situation. I would have an easier time, dealing with this ”bump”, if I knew that it REALLY is a 9 weeks pregnant belly vs fat. So what is it? Because honestly, to me, I just feel fat.
Now we all know that the feeling of looking fat and how we see ourselves as fat, is relative to each of us. How we view our bodies and how we viewed ourselves before the pregnancy will largely affect our mindset. I have always been very hard on myself, working out 6x per week and training HARD. I have played around with many ways of eating, did a fitness competition and still, was always working for a stronger and leaner body. So I will not lie when I say that one of my biggest fears of becoming pregnant was the idea of losing my body and my fitness level, which as become in large part, my identity. I mean I know I am more than that. But when all your life, you are that friend, that colleague or family member that everyone looks up to for nutrition and fitness, you feel like no matter what life brings, even pregnancy, you will deal with it better and bounce right back to old self easier than anyone else.
So after much google searching, I was not feeling much better about my bump and I was starting to feel that I am just over eating and gaining unnecessary fat. Yes I know, some of you are definitely judging me now, if you were not before. Looking at my picture to the left, even I can say I look great. But the other picture that you will see next, just below, I took today as well, but just closer up. In MY PERSPECTIVE, my belly is definitely rounded. Remember, this is all relative. For me, I have always had a belly that caves inward and I always had a 6-pack. But its all gone, just like that! I am revealing to you my vulnerable side and as silly as it is, I have to admit that it is hard for me.
I found some relief and support when I signed up with https://www.babycenter.ca/ which is a very cool site, that has a whole community of pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant, women going through IVF etc. I highly recommend it. You simply register and put in your pregnancy details and then each time you hit a new week, the application (if you download on your phone) will tell you what to expect that week of pregnancy. Now, at 9 weeks, this site did not tell me I should have a belly bump. But I joined my ”birth club”, which consists of all the women who are due at the same time as me, and I marveled at their comments! haha. How can I have thought that the ”general rules” apply to everyone?? We are all different and our bodies are all different.
Even famous people are all different. Look at this article that compares a model and fitness star, who show a completely different pregnancy bump. In fact, the model looks like she is not even pregnant! But personally, when I saw their photos, I actually thought to myself that the fitness star who has an obvious pregnant belly at 13 weeks, looks so much better, happier and healthy! There is a beauty behind looking pregnant right?
So yes, I may have a combination of a pregnancy belly bump and some fat but I need to accept it and move on. So I am reminding myself that this is also the hardest trimester with the sudden change of hormones and uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms which include food aversions and food cravings. In fact, I read a blog from another female and I laughed wholeheartedly because I felt that she was taking the words out of my mouth. Like me, she said that during her 1st trimester, she felt nauseous but for some reason, her mind and body told her that eating would make her feel better. And so she ate, and ate and ate and the only thing that she really desired eating, was crackers and cheese. The nausea also prevented her from exercising at all.
Her article really provided me with support and encouragement and I would like to do the same for anyone who reads my blog. So today, I woke up on week 9 of pregnancy, and plan to stay positive and happy. I will try to control my eating a little more but at the end of the day, I am telling myself that in 3 weeks (when I am at week 12), I will be able to start fresh. I can work out a little harder and with the nausea gone, I will be able to better control my eating. So in the meantime, what do we expect during week 9 and what should be the top priorities? Well in preparing this article, I was amazed to see how many possible changes and health issues can develop due to hormone changes. I even discovered that my recent gum sensitivity, where I noticed some bleeding when I brush my teeth, is ALSO related to pregnancy. So continue reading and learn what to really expect,
Your Baby At Week Nine
The exciting news is that your baby is no longer an embryo, but instead it is a fetus!
Your baby is still very tiny, about the size of a GRAPE, which if you can imagine is approximately 0.9 inches / 2.3 centimetres long and weighs less than 2 grams!
- The eyelids are fused and won’t open until week 27.
- The wrists are more developed, ankles have formed, and the fingers and toes are clearly visible.
- Arms can bend at the elbows.
- The liver, the spleen, the gallbladder and the diaphragm are under construction.
- The intestines leave the umbilical cord and into the abdominal cavity that is big enough now to house them.
- Development of the ears will be complete at the end of week 9.
- The genitals have begun to form but sex can not be determined yet.
- Your baby is actually moving very slightly, but not enough to feel him or her yet.
- Heart is beating at 130-150 beats per minute.
Honestly, isn’t it amazing that all this intrinsic development is happening on such a small scale? I mean the size of a grape and all these body parts are developing!? The toes and fingers of a newborn baby are so tiny, so can you imagine these fingers and toes right now of your little fetus? It must be extraordinary to see! So eat Cynthia! LOL Your growing fetus needs your nutritious food and energy to grow:)
What Changes For You?
The mood swings should start kicking in this week and you will be an emotional roller coaster. Unfortunately, this is for the long-term, as you will have continuous highs and lows until the end of pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
For some of us, this may be hard because we like to be in control of our emotions and we may feel like we have lost that control. Interestingly, I just spoke to a female colleague who just came back from maternity leave and she revealed to me that she NEVER EVER used to cry. She said that during her pregnancy and even now, having becoming a mother for the first time, she cries so much and gets really emotional. Although it was hard for her to accept at first, she has embraced it and in fact, this has brought her and her husband closer together. Her hubby was actually bothered by her lack of emotions made and this new side of her has helped them connect on a deeper emotional level.
- Slight thickening of the waist … I will not get into this again LOL It may be thickening, fatter, more bloated, no difference at all because we are all different.
- Tender breasts.
- Weight loss – for those who have no appetite and have vomiting.
- Firmer belly due to swelling of the uterus.
- Nasal congestion.
Why nasal congestion? Well in fact, this is so common that the special term given for this is pregnancy rhinitis.
This happens because:
- Change in hormone levels, particularly high estrogen causes the lining of the nasal passages to swell, producing more mucus.
- Increase in blood circulation during pregnancy, can make the tiny blood vessels inside your nose swell and lead to nasal congestion.
Unfortunately, you can not prevent this symptom and it can start as early as your 2nd month of pregnancy and it gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. If you are part of the 30% of women who develop pregnancy rhinitis, sorry to break it to you, it typically lasts until you give birth and is completely gone after about 2 weeks post delivery.
7. Pregnancy gingivitis. Yes, another possible “disease” due to pregnancy!! This is what I have and had NO IDEA it was pregnancy related! So what is this?
- Develops between months 2 and 8.
- Pregnant women also face an increased risk of both tooth decay and loose teeth.
- Again, the culprit is hormonal changes that can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding.
- Symptoms may include: swollen gums, tender, puffy gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, red gums and bad breath
This is my favorite topic so I stay tuned for my post on nutrition this week, with tips on what to eat and I will also share what I am eating. Yes, I know I confessed that I am eating a lot, but I am still eating very nutritiously:) I need to at least give myself that! LOL
An obvious summary though of what to eat is:
- Healthy fats, especially high in omega 3
- A variety of fruits and vegetables
- High protein is very important
- Snack on nuts
- Healthy grains – brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes
- Do not eat foods that have strong smells or cause you nausea
- Stay away from environments that have strong radiation
- Do not over drink caffeine
- Do not do HEAVY exercise
- Do not drink raw or unpasteurized milk
The Nine Week Mark Checklist
This is the time when you should have you first ultrasound appointment scheduled for the 12th-13th week mark.
You should be considering what blood tests you want to get done. Each country will be different. Here in Canada, the public system provides a basic free blood test, that does screen for Down Syndrome, but the more accurate and detailed blood tests are private and come with a hefty fee. Discuss with your husband what you feel like you should do.
For myself and my husband, we have decided to go with all the free public health options, in large part because prescreening for birth or health defects are for those that may consider abortion. For us, we would not consider abortion even though I know, raising a child with health issues would be challenging. I do however, still want to know so I can prepare emotionally if this were the case.
With the public blood test for instance, the results would detect a possibility of down syndrome. If the results indicate this, then I would then look into it further, even at a cost. I know that I would need all the support in the world, so joining support group early on and educating myself on the subject would be crucial for me to survive the first few years of motherhood.
For those of you in Montreal, Canada I discovered a little secret. For those of you else where, I also recommend that you look into this. I was lucky to know someone who recently had a baby and her OBGYN was more aware of the medical coverage here in this province particularly regarding a specialized ultrasound that is called Nuchal Translucency (or Clarté Nucale in french). I was advised by my OBGYN and the hospital where I am being followed, that this ultrasound is only offered by the private system with a fee. However, I contacted my girlfriend who referred me to Echo Medic and I am getting this ultrasound done for free on June 5th, right on my 12 week mark. I am sure there are other clinics who also provide this service, but goes to show that sometimes you need to investigate further.
So what is the Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound?
- It HAS to be done between 12 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.
- It analyses a collection of fluid that is located behind the neck of the baby, and it is temporarily present between the 11th and 14th week.
- The thickness of this fluid, will indicate the chances of chromosomal deficiencies, such as Down syndrome, trisomy 13, trisomy 18, Turner syndrome and even heart problems.
- At 12 weeks the “average” nuchal thickness is 2.18mm.
- A thickness GREATER than 2.5 mm, MAY indicate chromosomal deficiencies.
*** This measurement ALONE is not sufficient to make a diagnosis because 13% of chromosomal normal fetuses present with a nuchal translucency of greater than 2.5mm. To predict the risks of chromosomal deficiencies needs to include the nuchal translucency ultrasound together with blood tests.
Personal Items & Hygiene
- If you have tender breasts, you should purchase a couple of more comfortable bras. Do not buy too many or ones that are too pricey because most likely, your breasts will grow more.
- Dress in loose pants! I am feeling “fat” even though I am living in leggings. I know the emotional pain I would feel if I even try to wear jeans! LOL Just wear elastic banded pants and start feeling comfortable with your new-look:)
- Start considering a good moisturizer or stretch mark oil that can help minimize stretch marks.
- Invest in some good toothbrushes and mouth washes. Practice good hygiene, schedule an appointment at the dentist and try to do the best you can to prevent the accumulation of plaque on your teeth.
- Get yourself a pregnancy journal and start writing everything down, so you can look back and remember the little things that now seem so BIG!
Words of Encouragement for My Week Niner’s
I feel better over all, after doing some research because it is clear, we need to let go. The changes are inevitable and are the result of hormonal changes and a precious miracle growing inside of us.
I still will need time to accept my pregnancy belly and I also have to not put too much pressure on myself about it. It is normal to go through these emotions. What even made me more frustrated, is when I read this physiological FACT, that further emphasizes that I should not be showing yet. It is common that during a first pregnancy, a belly bump takes LONGER to form because it takes longer for your uterus to move up and out of your pelvis. If you are going through a subsequent pregnancy, the abdominal walls are more flexible or ”lax”, and therefore a woman is likely to show sooner. So why do I have a 9 weeks pregnant belly? Because WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! So I, and those of you who are dealing with the same thing as me, we need to stop comparing ourselves to other women and the general rules because it will drive us nuts!
I really hope this post helped with understanding the changes that have already started to take place or for the changes that may be coming. Make sure you have all your appointments booked and you are eating healthy.
How do you feel after this post? More encouraged or more concerned with all the changes? Share your thoughts and let us know what you are going through by writing a comment below!