You may find the muscles in your abdomen hurt from working so hard to support your belly, or that your crotch and thigh bones ache when you walk. In the first week or two of the ninth month, enjoy your bigger silhouette in the mirror because your baby will soon be dropping lower into your pelvis, and the bulge will change. You may wonder how you are going to lug yourself around for another month.
Many mothers find themselves physically exhausted this month. You may be tired of dragging a top-and-front heavy body up and down stairs. Even getting up off the sofa can leave you out of breath. First-time moms will be getting used to a pattern they’ve never experienced before — light sleep. Nursing the baby, seeing that older children are covered with blankets, comforting during nightmares, sitting up through illnesses, reassuring a wakeful one – all these things dictate light sleeping for a number of years.
Even though your baby may gain a couple pounds during this month, your weight may increase only slightly, stay the same, or actually drop by a pound or two. Weight loss in the final month is usually due to a decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid, as hormones begin shifting fluid around in your body. You produce less amniotic fluid, and the increased frequency of urination may lead to an overall drop in total body water, and therefore a decrease in your weight.
You may not be able to get comfortable – anywhere. You’re not comfortable sitting, standing, or lying in one position for more than a few minutes at a time, and have great difficulty finding the right position for sleep. Short, frequent naps are a necessity this month. So are the relaxation techniques you’ve been practicing.
Two of the more common annoyances of earlier months, breathlessness and heartburn, often ease during the ninth month. Yet you’ll need to urinate more frequently as baby’s head begins to press more on your bladder. And while the upper digestive tract may feel better, the crowded lower tract may once again feel constipated and bloated.
As your baby descends into your pelvic cavity, you may find yourself prone to sharp, stabbing pains at the base of your spine or in the middle of your pelvic bone, making it uncomfortable to walk. The increased pelvic aches and pains of the ninth month are most likely due to the relaxation and stretching of your pelvic ligaments in preparation for the job to come. You can ease these discomforts by changing positions. Continue to exercise gently every day. If you cannot walk or exercise without pain, a chiropractor experienced in working on pregnant bodies can give you some gentle pelvic adjustments to get your hips back in balance. It is our personal theory that chiropractic attention in pregnancy not only helps avoid or relieve back pain, but also can affect your labor by helping your back and pelvic structures be better prepared to handle the stresses of labor and birth.
Babies move even less in the ninth month than they did in the eighth, but what these movements lack in frequency they make up in power. You may feel hard kicks in your ribs and punches in your pelvis. Sometimes it may even feel like baby is moving his hands or feet into your vagina – a very odd sensation.
During the ninth month some women feel stiff all over, the way they imagine that arthritic, elderly people feel. Baby’s head pressing against the nerves and blood vessels in the pelvis may also cause cramps in the thighs. Like the pelvic aches and pains, these changes are due to the influence of pregnancy hormones on the ligaments of all of your joints. The overall loosening of your ligaments has been known to cause the knees and wrists to feel weak, too, making even light lifting tricky and walking less inviting. However, movement keeps your body tuned up and once you get started on your daily walk the aches and pain will diminish.