Congratulations! At nine months pregnant, your baby’s arrival could happen any day. As the main event approaches, you may feel a mix of excitement and nervousness while you anticipate the moment you've been waiting for. From false labor to actual labor contractions, let's take a look at some of what you may be experiencing as you prepare to hold your little one in your arms for the first time.
What might your body be experiencing at 9 months pregnant?
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions feel like sporadic tightening sensations across the stomach muscles. They may last from 15 seconds to two minutes and may sometimes be mistaken for true labor. Dehydration, sex, a full bladder, or high activity levels may trigger these intermittent and unpredictable contractions, also known as “false labor.” Drinking water, changing position, and resting may help them stop. At nine months pregnant, however, keep an eye out for true labor contractions, which will increase in frequency and get progressively stronger.
Moms-to-be may experience lightning crotch, a sharp, shooting pain or pins-and-needles sensation in the vagina, rectum, or pelvis that may travel to the thigh. It lasts a few seconds and isn't an indication of labor but may be connected to nerve pressure caused by your baby's head, which is positioned lower in your pelvis now. Unfortunately, there's not too much you can do about it except wait it out, although changing positions may help lessen the baby's pressure on your nerves. It is a good idea to call your doctor if it lasts longer than a few seconds.
Of course, the most wonderful part of being 9 months pregnant is that you're almost at that life-changing moment when you'll finally meet the precious baby who's been growing inside you. When will it be "time"? Typically women will go into labor between weeks 38 and 41 of pregnancy, but every mama has a different labor experience and each delivery is unique.
Here are some indications that labor may be on the way. If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor, who can best guide you through your next steps.
- Lightening. Lightening is when your baby drops lower in your pelvis. While you may have an increased need to pee since there's more pressure on your bladder, breathing may be easier as there's less pressure on your diaphragm.
- Diarrhea. Loose bowel movements can be an early sign of labor, occurring about 24–48 hours before its onset.
- Bloody show. A thick plug of mucus has been protecting bacteria from entering the uterus. Now that you're getting ready to deliver soon, the plug will release. This is known as the bloody show and may be pink, brown, or tinged with blood and accompanied by some cramping. You may notice it come out all at once, equivalent to about a tablespoon or two of discharge, or it may be expelled gradually.
- Water breaking. Your baby has been surrounded by the amniotic sac for 9 months, and when it breaks, it’s referred to as "water breaking." It often feels like a trickle rather than a huge gush of fluid.
- Contractions. Labor contractions may feel like strong menstrual cramps in your pelvis and back. Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, true labor contractions will begin to intensify and come at consistent and shorter intervals and last about a minute or a minute and a half. Your doctor may have advised you when to call—and always call if you have any concerns or questions about anything you're experiencing.
Giving birth is an emotional experience, so it’s understandable if you're feeling a little nervous. You may be concerned about labor, your baby's health, or how your life will change with your newest family member. Talking to family and friends may help provide some reassurance and ease some of your anxieties. Consider keeping a journal of your feelings, taking a walk, meditating, and resting when you need to. If you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your healthcare provider for support.
Anticipation and excitement
On the flip side of anxiety is anticipation. At 9 months pregnant, your excitement may be kicking into high gear. Perhaps you're in nesting mode and busy organizing your home. Or maybe you've started reading parenting books and looking for birth announcement ideas. Try to relax and enjoy this final phase as much as you can. You've been through a lot! After all the waiting, body changes, and doctor appointments, you'll soon be bonding face-to-face with your bundle of joy.
What else could be going on during your ninth month of pregnancy?
Throughout your ninth month, frequent urination, leg cramps, varicose veins, colostrum leaks, and back pain may continue to be issues. Try to be patient and stay positive. Take some time for yourself. Delivery day is on the horizon, and while you're just about done with this miraculous pregnancy milestone, your next amazing journey is just beginning.
Your 9-month pregnant belly size
At 9 months pregnant, your belly will be about watermelon-size. But as your baby's head moves into your pelvis to get ready for birth, your abdomen may look lower and you may feel lighter.
9 months pregnant: What's happening to your baby during the home stretch?
Your baby's lungs are developed for making the sweetest sound: that first big cry. Their reflexes are getting ready to respond to your voice and all the new sounds and sights they will soon be discovering. While a fetus at 9 months pregnant may move less as there's not much wiggle room left in the womb, your little one should be making their way into the heads-down position, preparing for their grand entrance. Newborn baby sizes vary, but they are typically the size of a pumpkin.
Pregnancy checklist for month 9
- If they haven’t already, your doctor will conduct a Group B streptococcus (GBS) test, typically performed between weeks 36 and 38.
- Talk to your doctor about when you should call them and how to reach them after hours.
- Take a practice drive to the hospital to understand the best route, parking, entrance, etc.
- Make sure you’ve reviewed your packing checklist and have everything you need in your hospital bag.
- Install your baby's car seat so it's all ready for their first trip home.
- Catch up on as much rest as possible as you wait for the arrival of your beautiful bundle of joy.
Join Enfamil Family Beginnings
For 9 months you've been bonding with your baby, but soon you'll be making skin-to-skin contact with your newborn and showering them with kisses and cuddles. Enfamil Family Beginnings can help you get ready for the amazing changes parenthood will bring. It's the perfect resource for new and expecting moms. Save on Enfamil products, track your bump and baby's growth, and get helpful articles each week relevant to your journey. Join now.
Frequently asked questions about the ninth month of pregnancy
How many weeks is 9 months pregnant?
What is considered preterm labor?
Is there a 9-months pregnant ultrasound?
What happens if your pregnancy goes past the due date?