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9 weeks pregnant

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Summary

During week 9 of pregnancy, your baby’s muscles and bones continue to develop. It’s important to support their growing body at this stage with a healthy supply of vitamin D. Discover how to get enough of this sunshine vitamin, and which foods should now be off the menu for safety’s sake.

Muscles allow tiny movements

At 9 weeks your baby’s mouth and tongue have started to form and taste buds are already in place1. Measuring between 2cm and 3cm long from head to bottom, their eyes are becoming more defined1 and their nose has assumed a recognisable shape2.

"Your baby’s development at 9 weeks"

Your baby’s major organs, including their brain, heart, lungs and kidneys, continue to develop. It’s still too early to see their gender on an ultrasound, but your baby’s tiny movements may be visible3 – a sign of their muscles starting to form4. Your midwife may also be able to hear your baby’s rapid heartbeat through a handheld doppler on your abdomen4.

Making it official

If you haven’t visited your doctor since becoming pregnant, week 9 is a good time to call them and schedule your first antenatal visit, known as the booking appointment. While you may not be sharing the news far and wide, this opportunity to talk about your prenatal health in detail can make your pregnancy feel more real.

Eating safely for good health

During pregnancy, your immune system is naturally suppressed to allow your body to accept your growing passenger5. This can leave you more vulnerable to infection, so it’s important to take extra care with food preparation and hygiene.

The following foods can cause food poisoning. It’s best to avoid them and, if you’re ever in doubt, take the safe option and throw it out.

  • Raw or undercooked eggs, as well as foods that are made from them, such as homemade mayonnaise, certain ice cream and homemade mousse
  • Rare and undercooked meat, fish and chicken
  • Steak tartare, sushi and other foods that contain raw meat and fish
  • Unpasteurised milk, cheese or yogurt

Read our foods to avoid article for a full list of items that should be off the menu during pregnancy.

"Store-bought foods are usually made with pasteurised milk products, but check the label to make sure.”

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Vitamin D: Nutritional insurance for your child's bones

Vitamin D is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy diet. It plays a vital supporting role in the growth and development of your baby’s bones by regulating the levels of calcium and phosphate in their body6. An adequate supply of vitamin D also reduces your baby’s risk of vitamin D deficiency.

As well as supporting your baby’s bone development during pregnancy, the vitamin D you consume now helps to build up your baby’s personal store, which they will rely on in the first few months of life7.

”It’s recommended that you get 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day during pregnancy.”

The most efficient way to get vitamin D is through exposure to direct sunlight – UVB rays in particular. However, the latitude of the UK means we only get around 6 months of effective sunlight each year, from April to September. This may explain why a significant number of young women in the UK have a low vitamin D status, and why skin exposure alone may not be enough to support your baby during pregnancy8.

Vitamin D is present in certain foods as highlighted below. But the best way to make sure you’re getting enough is to take it as a supplement.

The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women should take a supplement of vitamin D to achieve an intake of 10mcg each day9. Some prenatal multivitamins contain this, or you can choose to take a separate vitamin D supplement.

Next Steps

Increase your vitamin D intake by eating the following foods:

  • Oily fish, including herrings, mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout (remember to limit to 2 portions a week)
  • Eggs – the yolk contains the vitamin D
  • Fortified foods – some brands of milk and breakfast cereals have added vitamin D

View references

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1. NHS UK. You and your baby at 9-12 weeks pregnant [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-9-10-11-12.aspx [Accessed June 2014]

2. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 33.

3. Curtis GB, Schuler J. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th ed. Cambridge: Fisher books, 2011. p. 129.

4. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. p. 169.

5. NHS UK. Why are pregnant women at higher risk of flu complications? [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/3096.aspx?CategoryID=5 [Accessed June 2014]

6. European Union. Commission Regulation (EC) No 983/2009 of 21 October 2009 on the authorisation and refusal of authorisation of certain health claims made on food and referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 277 2009;3-12./p>

7. NHS UK. Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx [Accessed June 2014]

8. Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Headline results from Years 1, 2 and 3 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2008/2009-2010/11) [Online]. 2012. Available at: www.natcen.ac.uk/media/175123/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey-years-1-2-and-3.pdf [Accessed July 2014]

9. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.

Last reviewed: 7th July 2016
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