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Week #9 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 9

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           If you had a window through which you could peer into your womb, this week you would notice that your little one's back is starting to straighten out slightly.  In comparison to the rest of his body, his head is still rather large and is curved down toward his chest.  While all of his limbs are continuing to grow, his arms and hands are a bit ahead of the game as they are developing more quickly than his legs and feet.  By this week, however, he is starting to put those growing limbs to good use as he is now making small movements with both his arms and legs. This week his hands have created finger ridges and the webbed tissue that causes your little one's hand to look like a paddle is beginning to disappear.  As these ridges become more defined and the tissue between each finger continues to dry out, your sweet baby will soon be left with ten individual fingers.


Your Body
           While your stomach might not be showing any signs of your pregnancy, by this week your skin may be starting to.  By the ninth week of pregnancy a woman's HCG levels, reach their peak.  The surge of this chemical, which initially let you know of the sweet one growing deep within you, may now be causing your skin to appear smoother or a bit plumper.  You may also be noticing that your hair is less oily and therefore doesn't need to be washed as often as before.  Consider this a time-saving blessing from the pregnancy gods as the 30 minutes that you normally would have spent washing, conditioning, blow drying and styling your hair can now be spent lying in bed in an attempt to gather a few more minutes of much needed sleep for your exhausted body!


  You're Wondering. . .
           Help!  I am nauseous morning, noon, and night.  Is there anything that I can do to relieve these awful symptoms?

       Approximately seventy percent of all pregnant women suffer with morning sickness in one form or another during their pregnancies.  Some find that they feel sick first thing in the morning; others feel great until it is time to cook dinner every evening, and some feel sick morning, noon and night.  While mommy-to-be nausea is far from pleasant, rest assured that at some point throughout your pregnancy it will end, and with any luck it will end soon.  Most pregnant women find that their morning sickness begins around the sixth week of pregnancy, peaks around week eight or nine, and then tapers off between weeks twelve and fourteen.  In the mean time, here are a few tricks of the trade that might just help make these next few weeks a bit more tolerable.
  • Track your triggers...then avoid them. The sudden increase of estrogen in your body is now making your nose extremely sensitive to the everyday smells that surround you.  Try and make a note of the odors around you and other things that seem to be occurring during the day when you feel most sick, and then do your best to avoid these upset tummy triggers.  Do you experience most of your nausea when stuck in the morning elevator with that co-worker whose hygiene is a bit suspect?  Maybe you should consider taking the stairs.  Is the aroma of your partner's pot of coffee in the morning, not the "best part of waking up?"  If so, ask him to stop brewing at home and swing by the local coffee shop for his morning cup of joe for the next few weeks.  If, like me, touching any type of raw meat when preparing dinner leaves you without an appetite, consider asking your partner to help with dinner prep or pick up some pre-cooked entrées at the grocery store that simply have to be re-heated.   As some odors, or social situations are simply unavoidable, you may also want to consider packing an orange, lemon, sprig of mint, or other fresh smelling herb in your purse so that you can non-chalantly sniff something pleasant when  a normally non-offensive scent wages a surprise attack and leaves you wanting to run for the restroom.
  • Find foods that work.  As you deal with your nausea, find foods that work for your system and stick with them!  Many women find that high carbohydrate snacks such as crackers, pretzels and dry cereal are easiest to keep down.  Others swear by a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich and a coca-cola.  If you feel fine in the morning, but sick as a dog come supper time, why not eat a larger breakfast complete with eggs and bacon and all the fixings and then gingerly snack during the evening hours when your tummy is most upset?  As your diet may not be completely balanced during these weeks, do your best to continue taking your pre-natal vitamins everyday to help make-up for any nutritional deficiencies you may be encountering.
  • Gingerly try some ginger. The ginger root  is known for helping to alleviate nausea naturally.  Many pregnant women find that sipping flat ginger-ale, drinking ginger tea, or munching on ginger snaps, gingerbread or ginger candy seems to help their tender tummy feel better.
  • When in doubt...work out!  Many mommies-to-be find that exercising really helps them deal with their morning sickness symptoms.  Whether it has something to do with the natural endorphins that their bodies release as they work out, or the simple distraction of being forced to focus on something other than feeling sick, several women swear that exercise alone helped them survive the early weeks of pregnancy.  As always, be sure to contact your health care provider before beginning a new exercise routine while pregnant.
  • Stock a survival kit. Since it is hard to know when exactly the morning sickness monster is going to rear its ugly head, be sure to pack a survival kit that you can carry with you in the car as you head out each morning.  Consider including a toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, a clean shirt, and some hard candies (in a flavor and with a smell that doesn't make you want to puke!) You might also want to throw a few plastic produce bags from the grocery store into your purse.  These can be used in case of an emergency, when a restroom is too far away and your morning sickness madness is at its peak.


  Your "To-Do" List
           Now that you are officially in charge of growing a baby, it is time to let your partner be in charge of something too.  From this week on, put your partner in charge of the family pets.  While your family pooch may be man (or woman's) best friend, lifting heavy bags of dog food and fumbling with his or her leash as he chases birds on your morning walks, may not be the best thing for you right now.  Save your back and your body by turning your mutt over to your man!  You can still join your partner and puppy on their daily walks; just make sure that your partner takes control of the leash as you both set out and about.

       If you have a cat for a pet, it is especially important that someone other than you be in charge of cleaning up after it.  Not only do litter box odors not mix well with morning sickness, cat feces can actually cause your little one harm.  Medical experts encourage pregnant women to avoid cat feces due to the possibility of contracting toxoplasmosis.  A toxoplasmosis infection produces no symptoms in a pregnant woman, but can cross the placenta and lead to a miscarriage or an infection for your infant at birth.  Be sure to avoid all cat feces (lucky you!) as well as keep the kitty off of countertops or tables where food may be placed and therefore contaminated.  As with most infections, the best offense is a good defense, so be sure to wash your hands frequently after petting your cat, working in the yard where a neighborhood cat may have left a surprise, or after handling raw meat as the disease can be spread through raw, infected meat as well.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           As you imagine your home and family dynamics five years from now, what do you see?  Will your home be full of peaceful interactions and joy filled evenings spent around the dinner table even if no one likes the burnt, I mean "blackened" chicken you made for dinner?  Will you lovingly speak to your child and praise them for the wonderful artwork that he or she just created, even if his canvas of choice was the living room wall?  Do you imagine that your emotions will never get the best of you, even if your brand new white couch is completely covered in Cheetos?  While these situations are easy to laugh at now, as your little one is too tiny for permanent markers and greasy chips that stain, a few years from now these all-too-real scenarios can easily push a mother to her breaking point.  As much as we all desire to be the perfect mother for our unborn child, and try as we may to convince ourselves that the phrase "Just wait until your father comes home," will never be uttered from our lips, the truth of the matter is that perfect parenting doesn't exist...thankfully, peaceful parenting does!  This week as you prepare yourself for parenthood, practice being peaceful.  If you find yourself in the middle of a frustrating situation and you feel as though you might just blow your cool, stop, take a deep breath, and then let it out.  Take the "I'm going to snap" thought captive and instead replace it with, "I am capable, competent and I can handle this."  Then work your way through the situation at hand all the while staying calm, cool, and collected.  If you can get yourself into this peaceful habit now, it will be easier to use these same techniques once your little one arrives.


  My Experience
           I have been blessed with two amazing, beautiful and incredibly strong-willed children. I am embarrassed to admit that I have at times found myself engaged in an all out debate with a three-year-old, who can absolutely go toe to toe with me on any subject. More monster truck playtime, junk food at the grocery store, ten more minutes until bedtime, you name it, he debates it!  It is during heated moments like these that I have had to stop and remind myself that I am capable and competent to handle any situation that may arise with my children, and also remind myself that I am the adult in the equation!  In being the adult, it is my responsibility to act like an adult and remember that when I yell and scream like my three-year-old, I accomplish nothing!  Short of throwing myself down on the ground I have undoubtedly blown many "peaceful parenting" opportunities by allowing my emotions to get the best of me.  Recently, I decided that if my children are going to mimic what they see in me, and if I desire for them to be more peaceful people, I was going to have to become a more peaceful parent.  The rules in our home haven't changed.  The same consequences are still in place for unacceptable behavior.  The difference is that I am now able to keep my cool when dolling out those consequences, and able to seize those parenting moments in a much more peaceful demeanor.  Now when Wyatt and I debate, it's about who loves the other more.  And that's a debate I can live with...and maybe even win!


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