It is the last month of pregnancy and childbirth can happen any time of this month, with most women giving birth between weeks 35 and 36, but very few babies arrive at exactly the exact time. With the ninth month, the final extension of pregnancy begins, ranging from week 33 of pregnancy to week 36.
And in these last days, the symptoms are disturbing to the mother, as the child’s growth has ended, and mainly the weight gain. Labor can occur at any time during these weeks, so it is advised to avoid long trips and pay attention to any symptoms that may indicate that the baby is about to be born.
Fetal growth in the ninth month of pregnancy
At this point in pregnancy, the baby is most likely fully immersed in the pelvis, with the head on the cervix. This is known as the head posture. In the event that the fetus was not in this position in the final weeks of pregnancy, your doctor may recommend scheduling a cesarean delivery, as vaginal delivery can be complicated if the baby is not in the ideal position.
Although each baby develops at its own rate, on average, a 36-week-old fetus can measure about 50 cm and weigh between 2,200 and 2,800 grams, and can gain up to approximately 30 grams per day.
The physical characteristics that a fetus exhibits in the ninth month of pregnancy:
His development is very similar to that which he will have at birth, with only a few weeks remaining of him. The lanugo has been almost completely eliminated from the baby’s skin. (The lanugo, the top layer of a newborn’s skin, fades soon after birth.) This coupled with the accumulation of fat underneath, which is already soft and pink, makes it look completely human. Almost all of the fetus’s organs are working perfectly. For example:
The lungs are fully developed and are suitable for the fetus to breathe outside the mother’s body thanks to the corticosteroids secreted by the adrenal glands.
He is able to digest the amniotic fluid and his intestine becomes filled with meconium. Meconium is a green, sticky substance that builds up in the colon of a fetus during pregnancy. It is the first stool that a newborn passes. The maternal organism begins to transmit temporary immunity to the fetus through the umbilical cord. It will protect the child from many childhood diseases.
Changes occurring in the mother’s body
The condition of the mother in the ninth month of pregnancy is very similar to that of the previous weeks. But of them:
- Increased discomfort in late pregnancy. And if the baby has already adopted a vertical position in the womb, the mother may relax a little, as the pressure on the stomach is less. However, the feet are placed under the sternum, which makes kicking extremely uncomfortable, in addition to difficulty breathing.
- In turn, the head puts strong pressure on the bladder and the frequency of urination increases.
- Swelling and fluid retention worsen, especially in summer. It is very normal to notice excessive swelling of the feet and ankles.
- A very common complaint is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs because nerves in the upper extremities swell and fluid accumulates, causing pain and numbness in the wrists.
- The protrusion of the navel as a result of tightening the skin on the abdomen, but after a few months of birth, the skin, muscles and uterus will return to their normal position and the navel will return to the abdomen.
- It is expected in this month of pregnancy, that the weight will increase between 10 and 14 kg, so it is normal to feel more back pain, cramps, pelvic discomfort and fatigue.
Visits and medical advice given to the mother in the ninth month of pregnancy
If an ultrasound in the third trimester of pregnancy was not done before this month, then the logical thing is that it should be done during these weeks. This imaging test is usually performed vaginally and the information provided is as follows:
It is essential to detect and monitor the fetal heart rate and rhythm to rule out any complications.
At this stage of pregnancy, the normal thing is that the fetus has already gained a head position. Checking the baby’s position is very important in planning the birth.
The stage of maturation of the placenta:
A ripe placenta can cause problems with the oxygenation and feeding of the fetus.
Umbilical cord loops:
The presence of umbilical cord wraps should be evaluated , especially around the neck. If the umbilical cord is in this position, it will be necessary to pay attention during stretching and delivery. But it is important to know that it is a normal event, it occurs very frequently and is not a major complication, and it is often controlled and handled professionally.
Amount of amniotic fluid:
The volume of amniotic fluid decreases as the baby grows. However, a very low amount of this fluid could be an indication of a problem with growth or premature labor. Therefore, it is important to control them.
Controlled cervical measurement is very important in the last weeks of pregnancy, as it begins to diminish as the due date approaches. Its measurement is used to predict how soon the birth will be.
In the ninth month of pregnancy, examinations tend to become more frequent, especially in the last weeks, and a gynecologist may order blood and urine analysis , as well as measure the weight and height of a pregnant woman.
Bacteria screening test:
One of the most important tests performed between weeks 35 and 37 are the bacterial examinations to detect infections caused by group B streptococcus and these bacteria, which usually colonize the intestines of adults without causing problems.
But it can reach the vagina and cause serious infections to the baby during childbirth. Therefore, many doctors recommend routine vaginal and anal examinations to rule out the presence of these bacteria in a pregnant woman.
The main aspects that can increase your risk of suffering from this pathology are:
- Previous infection with streptococcus B during the same pregnancy.
- Suffering from urinary tract infections due to these bacteria throughout pregnancy.
- Having a baby with a previous infection with the same bacteria.
If the results of the samples taken are positive, it will be necessary to administer antibiotic treatment before birth to prevent infection of the baby.
Follow-up of the ninth month of pregnancy week by week
The changes that can be noticed in these four weeks are very important, as any unusual symptoms can be a sign of labor. The following are the most important events that can happen during this month:
During this week, the baby will most likely nest in the pelvis. In this position, the fetus can be easily distinguished. Since placing the feet below the sternum makes the kicks, it is more uncomfortable when hitting the ribs although it is less active due to the lack of space. It has been found that, starting this week, the child enters REM (rapid eye movements).
And this week, the baby can be 46 cm in length and weigh more than 2 kg. The bones of its skeleton are practically strong, except for the bones of the head. As the bones of the skull are softer and not yet complete, to facilitate the passage of the child through the birth canal.
On the other hand, the fat layer (the oily substance that covers the child’s skin) is getting thicker. This also makes it easier for the baby to pass through the vagina in the event of a vaginal delivery. And if the birth occurs this week, the baby will need to spend a few days in the incubator. However, childbirth will have few health problems.
And in this week of pregnancy, a fetus’s bone marrow can begin to make its own blood cells during a process known as hematopoiesis. The fetus reaches its maximum growth point. As he is already a complete human being, and only gaining weight, he can gain between 250-350 grams per week. This will worsen the back pain in a pregnant woman as these weeks go by.
Childbirth is getting closer and closer. It could happen during the days this week. For this reason, it makes sense for a gynecologist to recommend that the baby’s heartbeat and the mother’s uterus be monitored weekly.
In the ninth month of pregnancy the body prepares for childbirth, with painless contractions
These are called physiological contractions of late pregnancy, and the cervix begins to soften, which may lead to the breakdown of the mucus plug, and the coagulation of cervical mucus that closes the cervix tightly throughout pregnancy. This loss can be incremental or all at once. Either way, it indicates that the body is preparing for childbirth, but this is not a sign of childbirth.
And if a pregnant woman has contractions at this stage, you should know that there is a difference between the so-called Braxton Hicks contractions and true contractions, so note the intervals between them. If you think you are in labor, call your doctor and report your symptoms.
What is the effect of hormones in the ninth month of pregnancy?
Under the influence of pregnancy hormones:
- The pelvic joints relax to open up the passageway for the baby, causing some annoying discomfort in the process. And hormones can cause severe fatigue and nausea at the end of pregnancy.
- Preparing the breasts for potential breastfeeding: They are strained and colostrum (a thick yellow fluid) sometimes flows from the nipples.
Are the many secretions in the ninth month of pregnancy bad?
During the last weeks of pregnancy, it is normal for secretions to increase slightly due to the pressure that the fetus exerts on the vaginal canal . However if the expelled secretions are very consistent and abundant, then it may be due to a mucous plug, in which case it is necessary to consult a doctor.
Is a cesarean delivery always performed if the position of the fetus is not suitable?
By the ninth month of pregnancy, the baby should be incubated in the mother’s pelvis. If it is incorrectly positioned, it may be best to schedule a cesarean delivery before the bursa ruptures and labor contractions begin.