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9 weeks pregnant


Pregnancy week 9Your baby at 9 weeks

At 9 weeks your little embryo is now a foetus. This rise in status in the ninth week happens after your embryo loses her funny little tail and becomes altogether more baby-like.

Now your baby is looking less like a jellybean and more like a jelly baby with an oversized head. This is because your baby's head gets literally a head start in life. It takes a few weeks for the rest of the body to catch up.

Your baby's size

By the beginning of the ninth week, your baby's head will make up half of the entire crown to rump measurement (this is the measurement of your baby's sitting height). 

Your baby is growing quickly so she can impress you at her dating scan (which you will probably have any time from now to 12 weeks). She is 3cm from the top of her head to her bottom and will double her length in the next three weeks.

What else is she doing?

  • Her nose and eyelids are still forming and she has a definite jaw.
  • Her tongue is starting to grow.
  • Inside her abdomen, her pancreas, gallbladder and other organs are developing.
  • Her ovaries (if your baby is a boy it will be his testes) are growing, but on the outside a boy and girl foetus look the same at nine weeks.
  • Remarkably, she is already capable of bending her fingers around an object in the palm of her hand (although she's not likely to find one just yet). If she was touched on the sole of her foot she would curl her toes or bend away from it. These are reflexes. Later on she will move towards things that touch her, rather than recoil away.
  • Her nipples and hair follicles are starting to grow.
  • She is developing cartilage - the scaffolding upon which she will later lay down bone. By the end of week 12, parts of her arms and legs will have bony growth area. Cartilage is a soft, flexible tissue - the stuff our ears are made of.
  • Her fingers, toes and elbows are getting more obvious.
  • She is making squirmy movements - later on she will be able to kick. 

Your body at 9 weeks pregnant

Your circulation This may be more science than you need but it explains almost everything; the tiredness and how hot and faint you can feel. 

The volume of blood in your body has to increase to support your growing baby. Normally, you carry around five litres of blood - this becomes seven or eight litres. Some is from red blood cells but most is from liquid called plasma. Your red blood cells catch up in the second trimester. Your baby puts demands on pretty much all of your body. So your metabolic rate soars by up to 25% and every minute your heart beats it has to send an extra 40% blood round your body. The blood flow to your uterus, breasts and kidneys increases up until birth. 

Needing to wee more You'll need to pass urine more often. Partly because the uterus presses a little on your bladder, but largely because you've got more blood being filtered through your kidneys, which means more to pee. 

If passing urine hurts you should see your doctor within 24 hours. There are safe antibiotics to take if you need them.

If you avoid drinking for two hours before bed, cut out caffeine and try to empty your bladder fully by rocking back and forwards on the toilet, then it may improve things. 

Having sex and trying to stay close There are some women (allegedly) who have better sex than ever when pregnant. Pregnancy hormones intensify the pleasure they get from sex. If this is your experience - and you are not too sick and knackered to go for it - then you are lucky indeed. Many women feel rung out and sick. Sex is one chore too far. 

But you need to stay close to your partner because pregnancy is not necessarily a uniting experience: one of you is pregnant and the other is not. Pregnancy can be quite lonely - your body is changing in unfamiliar ways and you may no longer be the independent, sexy woman you used to be. Tell your partner how you feel (on a need-to-know basis), be affectionate and try to have sex if you feel even vaguely interested.

If you have any discomfort or bleeding you should check it's safe to have sex first - ask your doctor. It may seem odd to have sex with a baby inside you but she is entirely separated from what's going on in your vagina. She will feel any contractions from your climax but they won't bother her, although when bigger she may kick in response. 


Pregnancy Encyclopedia book coverIllustrations taken from The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 5 months ago