This is it! Your final month of pregnancy. Before you know it, you'll be going into labor and delivering a new baby boy or girl. This is such an exciting time for you! Let's talk about what's happening in your ninth month of pregnancy.

Key Points

  • At 38 to 40 weeks, your baby is considered full-term. Their lungs are mature and able to sustain life outside of the womb.
  • Your breathing may be easier once your baby drops, but there will be increased pressure on your bladder.
  • Make sure you're getting enough rest and maintaining a healthy diet.

Your Baby's Growth in Month Nine

At 38 to 40 weeks pregnant your baby is considered full-term. The baby's lungs are mature and are able to function on their own. During this month, the baby gains about a half a pound a week. The baby usually drops into a head-down position. If it doesn't, this is considered a breech birth. Your baby may still flip themselves around before birth, but if not, your doctor will talk to you about what will happen during delivery.

By the end of the month nine, the baby weighs six to nine pounds and is 19 to 21 inches long. At this stage, your baby can blink, grasp, and turn their head.

Your Body's Changes in Month Nine of Pregnancy

Your belly button may be protruding. Your breathing should be easier once the baby drops, but you'll have to urinate much more frequently because of the pressure on your bladder. The swelling of your ankles and feet will possibly increase.

Your cervix will dilate and thin out (efface) as it prepares for birth. You may be very uncomfortable because of the pressure and weight of the the baby. Now is the time to get extra rest.

It's important to not compare your baby bump to other women's. Your baby bump will look different depending on your figure. For example, if you're tall, your baby bump may be more front-leaning.

Prenatal Care in Month Nine of Pregnancy

After the 36th week of your pregnancy, you should visit your health care provider once a week for prenatal check-ups. You may not gain any weight at all this month, or as little as one or two pounds. You should plan on whether you are going to breast-feed or bottle-feed your baby.

If you begin having contractions, time them. You are in labor if your contractions:

  • Become worse as you move around
  • Happen more than five times an hour
  • Are regular or evenly spaced apart (every 10 minutes, for example)
  • Last for 30 to 70 seconds

Call your health care provider if you think you're in labor.

At this point, you should've decided where you're going to be delivering your baby. If you haven't, then you need to as soon as possible. It's important to be prepared, since you don't know exactly when your delivery date will be. In addition, if you haven't settled on your baby's name, now is the time to do so. Keep stocking up on supplies for the baby. It's highly recommended that you freeze meals in advance, since you won't have a lot of time or energy to cook when you have a new baby.

Keep consuming a healthy diet. Make sure you're eating a healthy amount of fiber to deal with any constipation you might be facing. As always, talk to your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements. Taking them without a doctor's guidance can cause you to overdose on a given nutrient, which can cause health problems.

You may be too uncomfortable to do too much exercising at this stage. If you're still able to walk regularly, then do so. Continuing exercise will help keep your stress levels down, and will help you avoid gaining too much weight during your pregnancy. If you're too uncomfortable to exercise, then don't stress. Just make sure you're walking around for a few minutes each day.

Remember that extreme stress can induce an early labor. While your baby is perfectly capable of surviving out of the womb at this stage, it's best if it can make it to the proper delivery date. This time can be stressful, so be sure you're taking time for yourself and practicing healthy stress management techniques. If your stress becomes unmanageable, talk to your doctor or to a mental health professional.

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Do not take the content of this article as professional medical adviceIt's important to exercise due diligence when obtaining relevant information in matters pertaining to your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.

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