You have successfully made it through most of your pregnancy. Your baby will be delivered anytime soon. We know you are all excited and have already thought of a unique name. The baby will surely love its new home (outside your womb) and will like its wardrobe you gathered for. Though it is a happy time, it is normal to be worried about the delivery and your health.

You may have gained quite some weight in the past few months and will put on almost another 2 kilograms during this month. So, if you have already gained, say about 13 kgs by now, the gain would total to 15 by the end of the term, which is totally normal for a healthy pregnancy in women with a normal BMI. Don’t worry this weight will shed off and the stretch marks will go eventually after the pregnancy. Right now, just focus on preparing your body for delivery and childbirth.

This article discusses all your concerns related to the ninth month of pregnancy and also provides some diet, exercise and care tips that may come in handy.

(Read more: Pregnancy month by month)

  1. 9 month pregnancy exercise
  2. 9-month pregnancy vaccination and tests
  3. 9 month pregnancy delivery
  4. Maternity leave
  5. 9 months pregnant: care and symptoms
  6. 9 month pregnancy baby position and baby weight
  7. 9 month pregnancy diet

Yes, you can exercise even at 9 months pregnant. In fact, it is a good way of inducing labour. Induction of labour depends on your body weight and that of the foetus along with other factors like age and health status.

Studies have suggested that going for long walks is the most common way by which women may be able to induce labour. Also, performing daily activities within the normal range does not have any harmful effects on the baby. So, you must be physically active even during the last month and must not refrain from usual activities.

Other than this, pelvic strengthening exercises and pelvic floor exercises are also performed by women to induce labour. Some even perform squats and dips to facilitate this process. However, it is best to get in touch with your fitness expert for the procedure and best advice related to these exercises during pregnancy.

(Read more: Exercise during pregnancy)

Vaccination is an important consideration during pregnancy that protects you and your baby from the risk of infections. It is imperative that by now you must be vaccinated for influenza or the flu, which is administered at an earlier stage of pregnancy. The ninth month of pregnancy is ideal for the administration of the whooping cough vaccine. Whooping cough is a serious problem in infants and is a major cause of hospitalisation. The vaccine not only protects the infant from whooping cough but also helps in reducing the risk of infections like pneumonia.

After the baby is born, MMR and chickenpox vaccine is administered.

(Read more: Vaccines for newborns)

Vaccines, though. generally safe may have some complications during pregnancy. So, you must immediately inform your doctor in case of any symptoms.

Diagnostic tests are generally not indicated during the ninth month. Your doctor may, however, order an ultrasound test in case of a prolonged-term or anticipated complication.

(Read more: Vaccination during pregnancy)

Delivery occurs after the ninth month of pregnancy but women start employing measures to induce labour during this month. Walking and exercising, as already stated, are effective measures for the induction of labour and facilitation of a normal delivery. For some women, sex during the later stages of pregnancy has been found to be helpful. The rationale is that female sex hormone released during sexual activity causes the uterus to contract and the cervix to relax, which assists the process of delivery. You must, however, choose a safe position that does not put weight or pressure on the baby.

Another activity that has been found to be useful in the induction of labour is nipple stimulation. Research evidence has also confirmed this finding stating that stimulation of nipples for a duration of 1 to 3 hours each day can help in the induction of labour. This is due to the release of female sex hormones, which lead to the opening of the cervix.

You can opt for these measures moderately, but, home remedies must not be tried at all unless prescribed.

(Read more: Natural birth vs C-section)

Now is the time, woman. Enjoy your maternity leave lazying about or planning your labour. Make sure to already decide the place you want to give birth at, make prior appointments with the doctor and pack your bags. As per the amended act, you are entitled to take at least a 6-month pregnancy leave in India. So, cherish the joys of motherhood.

During the ninth month of pregnancy, you will most likely experience all the symptoms you experienced in the earlier months, just more severe. As the baby grows in size, it exerts more and more pressure on the pelvis, which accentuates the symptoms of increased urination. How hard must it be to rush to the loo several times with that big belly?

Talking of the belly, the linea nigra running down vertically is quite dark and you also acquire a few more stretch marks as your child gains fat and your belly grows to accommodate. But, these symptoms will most likely go after delivery with proper care. For now, you can have more water and regularly hydrate your skin with the help of topical lotions and oils.

(Read more: How to remove stretch marks)

Other than your belly, your breasts will also continue to grow and will feel more tender. Colostrum is already formed by now to be available after childbirth. It is likely that it may leak from your tender and swollen breasts.

(Read more: Breast changes in early and late pregnancy) 

Vaginal leak or discharge is also common at this stage.

The symptoms of heartburn, constipation and indigestion are likely to improve in some women as the baby drops lower in the uterus closer to delivery. But, if the foetus stays high as it was before, these symptoms won’t improve.

All trivial when compared to the joys of childbirth?

But, what about the excruciating pain you experience all over your body and the immense fatigue? The pain experienced in your back, abdomen, thighs and buttocks is due to the pressure exerted by the growing baby. It is not a matter of concern, just like the contractions experienced in the abdomen. Similar to the contractions experienced during labour, these only last for a few seconds and help in preparing your body for childbirth.

It is recommended to have more water if these contractions are experienced often since these are triggered by dehydration. This will also help in reducing fatigue. Why you experience so much fatigue is because of all the extra weight that you are carrying. Another reason for fatigue could be the disturbance in sleep you commonly experience in late pregnancy.

(Read more: Sleep during pregnancy) 

The foetus, which is big enough by now exerts pressure on your lungs, making you feel breathless.

The growing uterus also exerts pressure on your stomach and pushes it upwards. This causes you to eat lesser because you feel full earlier. The pressure on the stomach and the oesophagus can also cause reflux symptoms. Having smaller and more frequent meals and opting for calorie-dense foods with a low volume is recommended to keep up with the nutritional levels despite these feelings.

Another common symptom during the end of pregnancy is swollen feet and ankles. This is because of oedema and change in the blood supply, causing you to retain more fluids within this area. To avoid this, it is advisable to avoid standing for long hours. Take breaks and sit in between. But, the best way to manage this is by keeping your legs high. You don’t have to keep them up straight, just, place them a bit higher on a pillow or a support. This will aid in the venous return diminishing the swelling.

If you commonly experience disturbed sleep, it is suggested to find a comfortable sleeping position. With the big size of the belly, it is best to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back will be uncomfortable during this time causing back pain. Sleeping on your stomach will harm your baby. While sleeping on the side, you can make the use of a pillow for better comfort. Insert the pillow in between your legs or under the bump. Try several positions to see which one helps. Other than this, having a warm shower or a cup of milk may help. All these measures will also help in relieving back pain or pain in the buttocks, providing additional relief.

The above symptoms are commonly experienced by women during the ninth month of pregnancy and are not matters of medical concern. However, if the symptoms are severe, it is recommended to visit a doctor. Severely swollen legs could be a sign of preeclampsia. Similarly, frequent micturition holds the risk of urinary tract infection, which is common during pregnancy. It is best to visit a doctor and get yourself diagnosed and treated if the problems are immensely severe.

Your baby during the ninth month of pregnancy is discernibly fully developed and is waiting to be retrieved out of your womb. It has a length of about 20 inches or 51 centimetres and it weighs almost 3.3 kgs. The rest depends on the level of nutrition you provided to the foetus.

The foetus is placed at a lower position in the uterus at the ninth month as compared to its position in the previous months.

At the beginning of the ninth month, the baby’s skin is still covered with a layer of vernix, which grows thicker. Since the baby is fully grown and has more fat, it has lesser space to move around in the uterus. So, the kicks and rolls you enormously experienced during the eighth month may reduce in number. Don’t worry your baby is doing fine.

By week 36, the baby has already nestled its head into the mother’s pelvis and is ready to be born. It holds excellent chances of survival if delivered at this stage, although it is regarded as a preterm birth. A preterm baby may initially require some medical attention to support breathing and feeding. Babies born during this period are usually confined to the intensive care unit for some time.

(Read more: Fetal development month by month and week by week)

Pregnancy full term

Soon after the end of the ninth month, that is, at week 39 and week 40, pregnancy is considered to be a full-term according to NIH. A combination of physical and hormonal influences in the body then induce labour and childbirth occurs. If the pregnancy continues beyond the duration of 42 weeks, it is regarded as post-term or overdue. It is likely that problems arise during delivery in such cases. There is also a chance of infection within the uterus.

(Read more: Normal delivery)

During the ninth month of pregnancy, you have to prepare yourself for the hardships of labour. So, you may be asked to increase your calorie intake up to 2400 calories. This can be achieved by taking a balanced diet along with frequent snacking. Your diet must include all the essential components and must be nourishing for you and the baby.

The iron content, which was increased throughout pregnancy needs to be high even during the ninth month to make up for the blood loss occurring during delivery. Further, taking iron during the ninth month helps in preventing the risk of anaemia, which is associated with a low birth weight of the infant and preterm delivery. So, for your delivery to be normal, iron is highly important. You can include more iron by munching on a handful of nuts or by increasing the consumption of whole grains, pulses or leafy greens.

Folic acid supplements are not usually required. Taking small frequent meals and increasing the consumption of fibres will help in easing digestive symptoms.

Other than this, there are some foods which must be absolutely avoided. These include raw meat, uncooked or partially cooked eggs, cold processed meats like salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, fishes like tuna and sushi, processed cheese and raw milk. Taking these food items can have serious effects ranging from infection to toxicity.

(Read more: Pregnancy diet chart)

References

  1. Planned Parenthood Federation of America. What happens in the ninth month of pregnancy?. [Internet]
  2. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. 8 third trimester pains and how to deal with them. [Internet]
  3. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Stages of pregnancy.
  4. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Pregnancy - week by week
  5. M Koushkie Jahromi, B Namavar Jahromi, S Hojjati. Relationship between Daily Physical Activity During Last Month of Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcome . Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011 Jan; 13(1): 15–20. PMID: 22946014
  6. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Pregnancy and birth: When your baby’s due date has passed. 2008 Sep 24 [Updated 2018 Mar 22].
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