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What Happens in the Ninth Month of Pregnancy

THE NINTH AND TENTH MONTHS (Weeks 33-40)

What Happens in the Ninth Month of PregnancyWhile pregnancy is said to be nine months long, a full term baby is actually 38-40 weeks old—closer to ten months. By this time, you probably can’t wait for your baby to be born. Hold on, you only have a little longer to wait!

What Happens With Your Baby in the Ninth Month of Pregnancy

Your baby is now fully formed and is getting ready for life outside the womb. She’s gaining weight and her brain is continuing to grow and develop. With the exception of her skull—which stays soft so that she can make it through the birth canal—her bones have hardened.

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Her reflexes are coordinated and she can blink, grasp, and turn her head. There’s less vernix on her body now and the downy lanugo has probably completely disappeared. Your baby may have “dropped”—which means she’s sitting lower in your pelvis.

Your baby is nearly ready to be born. As you approach the end of the third trimester, your baby is probably around 20 inches long and weighs between six and seven and eight pounds.

What Happens With Your Body in the Ninth Month of Pregnancy

Everything seems like a chore now—from getting up out of a chair to trying to get to sleep at night. You’re probably uncomfortable a lot of the time and feel very done being pregnant.

Vaginal discharge may be heavier now and may be mixed with pink or brown streaks—especially after intercourse or a pelvic exam. Your breasts may be getting more tender and may leak colostrum. Braxton Hicks contractions may be common, though irregular, and sometimes painful.

Some women also report having strange dreams during these last few weeks of pregnancy. You’ve probably gained between 25 and 35 pounds by now.

During the last few days of your pregnancy you may find yourself “nesting.” Often this means you suddenly have a lot of energy and are feeling a strong compulsion to clean your house. Cleaning is fine, just don’t overdo it!

What You Need to Know in the Ninth Month of Pregnancy

Eating healthy and staying hydrated is still important. Stock up on specially formulated breastfeeding supplements, as you’ll want to discontinue using prenatal vitamins after birth and you’ll need to replenish your body’s stores of nutrients—especially if you’re planning to breastfeed. Try to get as much rest as you can during these last weeks of your pregnancy.

Your midwife or OB GYN will want to confirm that your baby is positioned head-down. She will probably also do a pelvic exam to check your cervix for effacement and dilation.

Baby can come anytime now. You know you are getting close when:

  • You notice bloody streaks indicating the release of your mucus plug or “bloody show”
  • You are nesting
  • You have a constant backache
  • Your cervix is thinning and dilating
  • Your water breaks
  • Your contractions are stronger, longer, and getting closer together.

Your doctor or midwife has probably given you clear instructions about when to come in. Read “Am I in Labor?” to find out what early labor feels like. If you’re having a normal pregnancy without complications, you will not be going to the hospital or birth center until you have gone through early labor at home. Oftentimes, healthcare providers advise going in when contractions are regular and five minutes apart.

Read More About the Different Months in Pregnancy:

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