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Ninth Month

Pregnancy: Month-by-Month Pregnancy Guide - Ninth Month
(36 weeks to 40 weeks progress)

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Babies differ in size, depending on many factors (such as gender, the number of babies being carried, and size of the parents), so your baby's overall rate of growth is as important as the actual size. On average, it's about 18.5 inches and weighs close to 6 pounds. The brain has been developing rapidly. Lungs are nearly fully developed. The head is usually positioned down into the pelvis by now. A pregnancy is considered "at term" once 37 weeks has been completed!

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Even though you may be feeling as big as a house, your previous digestive problems and shortness of breath should ease up as the baby's head drops into your pelvic cavity. Sleeping will become more difficult, and you may be having more Braxton Hicks contractions, which will give you a chance to practice your breathing techniques. You will probably be attending your antenatal clinic at least every two weeks. Try to rest as much as possible and avoid standing for long periods of time. You may have a heavy vaginal discharge; use sanitary pads for protection, never tampons.

By the 40th week, you will probably be feeling very heavy and tired. You may have pain in your groin and pins and needles in your legs as the baby presses into your pelvis. Your skin may feel tight and stretched. Braxton Hicks contractions may increase in frequency and in strength. Now it's only a matter of time!


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Your baby is now fully formed and, if it is a boy, his testicles should have descended. His fingernails are surprisingly long and he may have scratched himself. The vernix has mostly disappeared. He will gain weight at the rate of about an ounce per day during the last month before the birth.


Birth!

A mother's due date marks the end of her 40th week. A pregnancy begins with implantation and the delivery date can be calculated using the first day of the last period. Based on this, pregnancy can last between 38 and 42 weeks with a full-term delivery occurring around 40 weeks. Some post-term pregnancies -- those lasting more than 42 weeks are not truly post-term. A common "cause" is an incorrect due date. For safety reasons, most babies are delivered by 42 weeks, inducing labor if necessary.
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