YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Plummeting down and soaring up
Happy ninth week of pregnancy! You still don't look pregnant at this point, but chances are you're definitely feeling it. Unfortunately, that nausea, morning sickness, fatigue and growing pain hasn't subsided yet, but hopefully by now you've been able to figure out how to make the symptoms more bearable by altering your diet and taking time out of your busy schedule to relax.
Although you don't have a bump yet, you might've noticed that your favorite pairs of pants haven't been fitting quite the same way – your waist is beginning to thicken as your uterus expands. While there's no need to buy pregnancy clothes just yet (unless you want to, of course!), you might want to start wearing pants you already own that have stretchy waists, or get a little fancier with a few comfortable dresses.
While fatigue is probably one of the main reasons why you're feeling sluggish this week, you might also be experiencing some serious mood swings, some of which may drag you down. One minute you're all excited about becoming a parent, the next you're terrified of the responsibility of motherhood and three minutes later you're bawling your eyes out because you just saw a cute baby commercial on TV. If you're not really sure how to respond when people ask how you're feeling, that's totally okay. Just say your hormones are kicking in.
To help yourself overcome any low points, it helps to figure out a plan of attack that will get rid of stress, negativity and overall gloominess. Maybe having a girl's night in watching movies with your best friend will solve the problem, or perhaps you could use a trip to the salon for a new shade of nail polish. Of course, your partner might also be a reliable source for comfort. Do whatever makes you feel good! Your body and mind deserve it.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From raspberry to grape
This week, your baby's grown from the size of a raspberry to about an inch long – as big as a grape. At last, all of the essential body parts are in place, and now your baby will mostly just be growing and fine tuning instead of developing. And good news! Remember that little tail that was making your baby look a bit like a tadpole? It's all gone now.
What else is going on? Well, this week your little one's heart has finished dividing into four chambers, and next time you go to the doctor's office you might be able to hear it. But when it comes to the sex, you still won't know that for several weeks – the sex organs are there, but it's too early to tell the difference between a male and a female.
Muscles are also beginning to form, which means that there's going to be a lot of movement going on. You probably won't feel anything for another few weeks, but once your baby gains more weight you'll start noticing little flutters.
His or her eyes are also fully formed now, but they'll be fused shut until about the 27th week. Tiny earlobes, nostrils and a mouth are also distinguishable. Even the little teeth have started to form underneath your baby's gums!
As for the placenta, it's now developed enough to take over the job of churning out those pregnancy hormones. Once it's fully formed, your body will get a bit more energy. It's about time!
Decide when to tell your employer
While your family and friends have probably shared their excitement over your pregnancy with you, you might not have told your coworkers or boss yet about your expected bundle of joy. Most women wait until after the first trimester, when there's less of a risk of miscarriage. However, there are certain situations that could make telling your employer sooner a good idea.
For example, if you're experiencing any complications that have you feeling sick, going to frequent doctor's appointments and feeling very preoccupied, it's probably beneficial to tell your employer. That way, you might be able to get a little slack when it comes to taking time off for appointments or sickness.
How sick you feel on a regular basis is also a determining factor for when to let your company know that you're pregnant. If morning sickness, nausea or a heightened sense of smell has you turning green and running to the bathroom multiple times throughout the workday, someone's bound to notice. Not to mention, you could probably benefit from a little understanding at this point.
Another reason why you might want to tell your boss earlier? If some of your responsibilities are dangerous. For example, if you work with chemicals or do a lot of manual labor, you might need to talk to your boss about possibly taking on different tasks while you're pregnant. Risking your health and the baby's isn't worth it!
Before you break the news, it's a good idea to get an idea of how your bosses will respond. While it's illegal to fire or demote someone for being pregnant, there are still some employers who are less than enthusiastic about the news. If you think your boss might be one of those people, you might want to wait to discuss your pregnancy until you start showing. Better yet, if you have a coworker who you're friendly with who's been pregnant while working at the company, discreetly ask her how she handled it.
Once you tell your boss, you'll be able to make the necessary arrangements for the transition into maternity leave. For example, you might start working on a few important projects that need to be completed before your due date, or perhaps you'll need to start training someone who can take over your duties for a couple months while you're gone.
Also, don't forget to head over to human resources to discuss the length of the maternity leave you're entitled to, as well as whether it's paid or not. This can vary by state and company.
Finally, take note of any changes that may occur after you tell your boss. If your workload suddenly increases or decreases, your supervisor starts making comments about how pregnancy is affecting your work or you just think you're being treated unfairly because you're pregnant, documenting these instances and bringing them to human resources can ensure that the issue gets addressed. Discrimination against expectant mothers is illegal.