Week-by-week guide to pregnancy

happy couple looking at pregnancy test results
When you're pregnant, you have lots of questions. Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is packed with lots of useful information. From what's happening inside your body, to how your baby is developing, and tips and advice on having a healthy pregnancy – this is your one-stop pregnancy guide!

1st trimester

Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From early pregnancy symptoms to how your baby is growing and developing, you'll find it all here.

Week 9 – your 1st trimester

Your breasts will be bigger now and your waist may be thickening a little. Your pregnancy hormones are flooding your body, which may still be causing you to feel unwell. Thankfully this will not last forever. In a month, you'll be entering the second trimester when many people start to feel lots better.

What's happening in my body?

Over the past few weeks, the levels of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, have been doubling in your body every 2 or 3 days. When you are 9 weeks pregnant, this hormone is at its peak.

You will also have higher levels of the other hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone. This powerful combo will help to increase the blood supply to your womb. Some women describe this time as being like an “emotional rollercoaster”, so get lots of rest and accept any offers of help.

Super snacks

It's tempting to reach for the biscuits when you're feeling tired and low, but try sticking to healthy snacks instead. If you eat little and often throughout the day, it keeps your blood sugar stable, which can reduce morning sickness. Here are a few snack ideas:

Early pregnancy symptoms (at 9 weeks)

This is a tough time, but week by week you should start feeling better. Your signs of pregnancy could include:

  • extreme tiredness
  • feeling sick
  • mood swings
  • a metallic taste in your mouth
  • sore breasts
  • headaches
  • new likes and dislikes for food and drink
  • a heightened sense of smell
  • a milky white pregnancy discharge from your vagina
  • light spotting (see your doctor if you get bleeding in pregnancy)
  • cramping, a bit like period pains
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma faciei or the “mask of pregnancy”
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • bloating and the feeling of being bloated (read some ways to deal with bloating on week 10's page)

Tommy's, the baby charity, has a list of 10 common pregnancy complaints and advice on how to manage them.

Read Tommy's guide to common pregnancy symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Eye eye!

Your baby's eyes are getting bigger and will have a bit of colour in them now. It's a myth that all babies are born with blue eyes – they could be anything from slate grey to inky black depending on the parents' genetics. Eye colour often changes after birth.

Your baby, or foetus, is now around 22mm long from head to bottom, which is about the size of a strawberry.

The face is looking more recognisable, with eyes protected by eyelids, a little mouth and even a tongue with tiny taste buds. The hands and feet are developing, but there are no fingers or toes yet, just grooves where they will be.

All the major internal organs – the heart, brain, lung, kidneys and gut – are developing. Bones are starting to form. Your baby's genitals are also starting to take shape – but you probably won't find out if it's a boy or a girl until your anomaly scan at around 18 to 21 weeks.

Action stations

Share the news with your GP or ask for an appointment with a midwife at your doctors' surgery. Alternatively you can refer yourself to your local hospital – look for contact details on their website.

You'll need to arrange a booking appointment. This usually takes place between weeks 8 and 12, and takes around an hour. You can talk about the options for your pregnancy and the birth. You'll also be offered screening tests for infectious diseases, and conditions such as Down's syndrome. You could ask about the Maternity Transformation Programme and how it could benefit you.

You will be offered your first dating scan at 8 to 14 weeks.

If it's your first pregnancy, you will probably have around 10 appointments and 2 scans in total.

Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Antenatal classes will give you the chance to meet other people and prepare you for parenthood. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine. Ask your midwife or GP for support if you need it.

Take prenatal vitamins. You're advised to take 400mcg of folic acid, every day, until at least week 12. This helps to form your baby's nervous system offers some protection from conditions such as spina bifida.

To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D. From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.

Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website. You just need 10 micrograms (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.

Do you think you or your partner could have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? If so, get checked out, as this could affect your baby's development. Talk to your midwife or GP, or visit a sexual health clinic.

It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise – perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

There's no need to eat for 2. If you pile on the pounds, you could put yourself and your baby at risk of health problems such as high blood pressure. Eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

If you have a long-term health condition, then let your specialist or GP know that you're pregnant as soon as possible. Don't stop taking any regular medication without discussing it with your doctor first.

How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor. They can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.

You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't keep it to yourself. It's important to ask for help if you need it.

You and your family should follow the government and NHS guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • read government guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19
  • get NHS advice about COVID-19
  • use the NHS COVID-19 app for England and Wales – it's the fastest way of knowing when you've been exposed to COVID-19
  • To find out about about COVID-19 and pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, have a look at advice on the:

  • NHS website
  • Breastfeeding Network
  • World Health Organization
  • Want to know when the baby's due?

    Use the NHS's pregnancy due date calculator. You'll get a more accurate date from your doctor or midwife when you have a dating scan (usually at 8 to 14 weeks).

    Go back to week 8

    Go to week 10

    Sign up now for our pregnancy, baby and toddler guide

    Get personalised emails for trusted NHS advice, videos and tips on your pregnancy week by week, birth and parenthood.

    Get weekly emails