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1st trimester: Week 9

Your Baby

The embryo may now officially be called a fetus, which literally means "little one" -- and he's about the size of a strawberry. An inch long, he has hands that can flex at the wrist, and he's able to fold them over his heart. Eyelids cover his eyes, and his ears are beginning to take shape on the sides of his head. His genitals are forming, but your doctor won't yet be able to discern his sex by sonogram. Give it a few more months; an ultrasound performed in the second trimester should tell you -- if you want to know ahead of time, that is.

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Your Body

You may no longer feel as nauseated and fatigued as you've been the past two months, and your sex drive may even be revving up. Thanks to a surge in estrogen and progesterone, there's more blood flow to the breasts, vagina, labia, and clitoris, making them more sensitive. Your breasts continue to get fuller, too, which means it's a good time to purchase a real maternity bra with good support.

Your Pregnant Body:

Do's and Don'ts

Cheese is a great source for calcium, but avoid soft or mold-ripened varieties like Brie, Camembert, and Stilton. They may contain listeria, a bacteria that can cause a rare but serious infection in pregnant women called listeriosis. Cream and cottage cheeses are fine, as are hard and American cheeses. Listeria can also live in hot dogs and deli meats, so steer clear of them completely or heat them until they're steaming hot before you take a bite. 

Health

It's time to delegate any paint jobs to your partner or hire a professional. Getting a whiff of polyurethane won't hurt the fetus, but staying in a room filled with paint fumes is not recommended. Removing old paint applied before 1978 can harm neurological development.

Health Watch:

Mom to Mom

Videotape or take a photo of your belly's progress every month so you can show it to your child when she's older. "It was astonishing to see the changes years later, and our daughter loved seeing how excited we were to be having her."--Tracy Heffernan, San Francisco

Your Time:

Shopping

Soon you'll be saying goodbye to button flies and hip-hugging slacks. But you can get a little more mileage out of them by expanding your waistbands with a button extender, which you can find at most sewing-supply stores.

Making Room:

Exercise

Nosh on carb-filled foods like whole grain breads and cereal an hour or two before you hit the gym so you're not hungry, and include water before, during, and after so you're properly hydrated. 

Relationships

Now that you may be feeling much better physically, take advantage of your returning libido. Don't worry: The fetus is so well protected in his amniotic sac that no matter how enthusiastic you two might get, intercourse won't hurt the baby. 

 

Siblings

Thinking often of your own siblings? Many pregnant women say they do. If your parents and siblings live far away, e-mail pictures of yourself so they can see how your pregnancy is progressing. 

Twins

Double up on baby paraphernalia and you'll wind up with a lot of stuff you don't need--as well as a house that looks like a baby supply showroom. You will need doubles of a few crucial items like a car seat, the hallowed bouncy seat and other "entertainers."

Family Bonds:

 

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