Pregnancy Development – 9th Month
This is the final month when all the wait and ordeal will practically come to an end. The baby is almost ready to be born. These last 4 weeks are more like the finishing touches on the baby’s development. A baby born anytime during this month has full chances of survival.
Developments in the baby
• During this month too, the baby continues to grow bigger as it will need the weight in order to supply its energy demands in the first few weeks. . It puts on more and more weight. By this month the baby will be around 6-8 pounds in weight. The length is likely to be 18-22 inches.
• The baby’s head is likely to be in the pelvic region. Since it has now filled up the womb, instead of tossing and turning, it will be pushing the pelvis.
• The baby’s lungs finish developing and they release a substance called surfactant which helps the baby to breathe at birth.
• The baby develops nails on its fingers and toes. The baby sheds its downy hair and the vernix too wears off its skin. The baby’s eyes do have a color by now, but it usually changes 6 months post birth.
• The immunity system of the baby will be still pretty immature and it will continue receiving anti-bodies through the placenta.
Changes in the mother’s body
• The previous symptoms of heart-burn, breathlessness or indigestion are a lot less this month as the baby’s pressure on the diaphragm and stomach lowers. The pressure on the urinary bladder may increase though thereby requiring frequent urination.
• As the baby grows and the burden increases, sleep deficiency occurs naturally. As a result the mother may feel tired too often.
• As the baby takes the head down position and puts more pressure on the pelvis and the surrounding ligaments, the mother may experience bouts of pelvic pain. Also the hormones loosen the pelvis and every joint in the mother’s body in order to prepare the body for birth- hence, the mother may experience some clumsiness and needs to be extra careful.
• The Braxton Hicks contractions will become very frequent now. It is important for the mother to pay attention to the spacing, intensity and duration of such contractions as real contractions may also start anytime.
• The mother’s breast becomes larger and heavier. The areolas darken further and colostrums leakage may occur.
• The skin on the belly may itch. Back aches are common during this month.
• Vaginal elution will be a lot slicker and may even show traces of blood or be pinkish or brownish in color.
• During this month the mother also develops a nesting instinct i.e. preparing the house for the child. This also denotes that labor is near.
• Because of the size and weight of the belly, the center of gravity of the mother changes. The weight usually stabilizes around the 38th week.
Points to remember:
• As the labor and delivery time inches very near, it is important to prepare for the maternity hospital. Packing bags, checking important documents etc. should be done beforehand as labor is unpredictable.
• Anxiety is normal at this time. So ample relaxation is mandatory. The mother shouldn’t wear herself out while nesting.
• Lastly, positive thoughts, like that of holding the child in a few weeks, can help the mother go through this last month of ordeal with ease.