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Week 9 of your pregnancy may not feel much different than week 8. But your baby is almost fully developed in miniature, and ready to continue growing.

 

Do you sometimes wonder what colour eyes your baby will have? Colour is already starting to appear in his tiny eyes now and he even has eyelids. Amazingly, taste buds are forming on his tongue. At nine weeks, your baby has grown to about 22mm long from head to bottom.

In this week, reproductive organs are beginning to form, along with some other key organs, like the pancreas and gallbladder. At this point your baby has doubled in size and his head, which is about half the length of his entire body, is tucked down toward his chest.

The bones and cartilage are starting to form, the arms and legs are growing, and the fingers and toes are creating. The intestines are now leaving the umbilical cord and moving to the stomach, as the body is growing and now there is more space. By now, your baby is starting to move around in the womb but it will be some weeks before you can feel this.

The first trimester can be tough. Sickness, exhaustion, anxieties, all of which you might be trying to keep under wraps can make you feel low. But hang in there! It won’t be like this forever.

As your blood volume continues to increase, you might feel the effects through dizziness and frequent urination, and you might see the effects in bulging veins on your hands and feet or from a nosebleed. But this extra blood is there for good reason, it will help protect your baby when you stand up or lie down, and it safeguards against the blood loss you will experience during labor and delivery.

Speaking of blood, vaginal bleeding can occur in the first trimester and it is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but it could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage, so you should always call your doctor right away if you experience bleeding.

Stay healthy and fit. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise (with your doctor’s approval). Exercise can help reduce stress and helps prevent common pregnancy discomforts.

Keep eating small, regular meals. This is not the time to try to lose weight. Whatever your weight before you became pregnant, it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet now.

Did you know that dried apricots contain folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium? They are a great option for cranking up your iron stores and staving off pregnancy anemia. They can also kick-start sluggish pregnancy digestion.

This week is also a good time to start thinking about what you would do if your doctor suggests any sort of genetic test. They can bring up a round of questions. First, of course, is whether the benefits of having the test outweigh the possible health risks. It may take a long talk with your doctor or genetic counselor and plenty of mental wrangling on your own to decide.

Nowadays, recent technological advances have enabled the development of new screening tests that make medical procedures less invasive and more affordable.

Indeed, new molecular genetic technologies have facilitated non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) through the analysis of cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) in maternal plasma. 
This is a profound development in prenatal care that represents a substantial improvement over traditional multiple marker screening.

Non-invasive prenatal screening based on DNA has been introduced in 2011 in several countries and requires a simple blood draw from an expectant mother to analyze fragments of fetal DNA that have been released into her bloodstream and detect genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome. It is risk free for the mother and the baby.

Tranquility is Genoma’s Swiss biotechnology risk-free prenatal test based on DNA for the early detection of the most common trisomies including Down Syndrome.

Other things for you and your partner to consider: Would you end your pregnancy if you discovered that your baby had a serious birth defect? If not, would it help to have this information in advance so you can prepare for a child with special needs? Odds are you will never need to act on the answers to these questions (90 to 95 % of pregnancies result in the safe delivery of healthy babies), but you may decide you are better off being prepared than caught off guard.