The first few weeks of pregnancy are the most difficult. Your hormones play havoc with your mood and senses. Your uterus is increasing in size to accommodate your growing baby. Your baby has grown to be the size of a kidney bean. Most women will meet their healthcare provider for the first time during this week during their first prenatal appointment. This week is also the first time when you will see your baby on the ultrasound. Read on to understand more about how your baby is developing during the eighth week of pregnancy.
8 weeks pregnant
At eight weeks, there still very few visible signs that you are pregnant. However, a lot is changing inside. Your baby is growing at the rate of one millimeter a day. Her organs are growing, and he has started to move. Your blood volume has increased, and you are pumping 50 percent more blood per minute that what you did before pregnancy.
Some women choose to announce their pregnancy to others after their first scan at eight weeks. Others prefer to wait till the end of the first trimester when the risk of having a miscarriage goes down. This decision is something very personal that only you and your partner can decide.
1. Breast changes
You will notice an increase in the size of your breasts. They may also feel itchy and develop stretch marks. Your areolas will get bigger and darker, and you may see veins under the skin of your breasts.
As your hormone levels increase, your body produces more blood, your blood pressure, and blood sugar levels are lowered. Your body is also using a lot of energy to grow your baby. All of these factors may lead to fatigue. Go to bed early and sneak in a nap whenever possible.
Rising pregnancy hormones can cause your blood vessels to expand, which can lead to dizziness. Some women feel light-headed at this time, while others feel cold clammy and nauseous. If you feel dizzy, you must lie down immediately or sit with your head between your knees.
4. Pregnancy cramps
Your uterus is getting bigger, and the ligaments in your abdomen are stretching. The levels of hCG in your body are also increasing. All these factors together can lead to cramps that may mimic period cramps.
5. Vivid dreams
Some women also get strange, lucid dreams during this time. Nervousness and anxiety may be the reason behind these dreams.
6. White discharge
You may also notice a thin, white, milky vaginal discharge. Known as leucorrhea, this discharge protects the birth canal from infection and protects its natural bacterial environment. Some of the other symptoms include –
- Morning sickness (1)
- A heightened sense of smell
- Excess saliva
- Frequent need to urinate
- Food aversions and cravings
- Vaginal spotting
- Bloating and gas
Your body at week 8 of pregnancy
Your uterus is expanding, and so is the size of your belly. For some women, the pregnancy bump may become visible now; for some others, it is still not showing. Both cases are normal.
The volume of your blood has now increased by 50 percent. Your heart rate is also slightly raised. The hormone progesterone relaxes the tissues in the heart and the blood vessels, which keeps the blood pressure down. This process also slows down digestion, which can result in constipation, bloating, and gas.
A rise in the levels of your pregnancy hormones and the increase in blood volume can cause headaches. However, you should not take any painkillers without consulting with your doctor.
Your baby at week 8 of pregnancy
Your baby is now over an inch in length. Though not everything is completely formed yet, your baby has all the organs and body parts now. (2)
- The eyes are now visible, and the eye folds are forming. The retina is also pigmented.
- The external ears are now completely formed.
- The upper lip and the nose are formed.
- The upper jaw and the roof of the mouth come together.
- The heart is beating at the rate of 140 to 170 beats per minute.
- The arms and legs become longer. Webbed fingers are taking shape.
- The head becomes erect and rounded.
- The trunk begins to straighten. The neural tube has wholly formed.
- The reproductive organs are developing, but it is still early to tell whether it is a boy or a girl.
- The intestines start moving from the umbilical cord to the body.
- The tail is getting smaller and will completely disappear soon.
Tips to be followed when you are 8 weeks pregnant
1. Handle headaches safely
An increase in blood volume and pregnancy hormones can cause headaches. Consult with your doctor before you take any medication. Acetaminophen is safer for the baby than aspirin and ibuprofen.
2. Use sunscreen
Hormonal surges during pregnancy can cause melasma. Your freckles or moles may look darker, and you may also have developed a dark line down the middle of your abdomen called the linea nigra. You can avoid melisma by using sunscreen with SPF 30 to 50 or wearing a hat when going outside.
Eat a diet rich in fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seed, cereals, and lean animal protein. Avoid high-mercury fish like king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish. Instead, eat fish like tuna, salmon, or shellfish once a week to get a healthy dose of omega-3 oils.
4. Eat foods you can stomach
Dealing with nausea and vomiting is not easy, especially when you are anxious to fill your baby’s nutritional needs. Eat smaller, more nutritious meals rather than large meals. Smaller meals are easy on the stomach. Eat foods that are easier to digest, even if it means having crackers. Have ginger to help soothe your stomach.
5. Ease into exercise
If you haven’t exercised in a while, don’t start with an intense exercise routine. Intense exercise can lead to nausea, over-exhaustion, and even injury. Start with a moderate exercise regimen and increase it by five minutes per week. (3)
6. Quit smoking
Avoid drinking alcohol, excessive amounts of caffeine, smoking cigarettes, or using illegal drugs. These can harm your baby.
Your week 8 pregnancy doctor’s visit
For most women, this will be their first prenatal visit. During this visit, you will share your complete medical, psychological, and menstrual history. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your past pregnancies, miscarriages, if any, and previous hospitalizations.
They will note the first day of your last period to determine your due date. Your family health history, including chronic illnesses, genetic and chromosomal congenital disabilities, will be noted. Your blood pressure, height, and weight will be measured. Your blood and urine samples will be taken to screen for UTI, anemia, rubella, syphilis, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis, and HIV.
Tips for the partner
Help your partner to eat healthily and reduce the risk of infection that she may get from unhealthy food. Lifting heavy stuff can put a strain on a pregnant women’s back. Help her with the heavy lifting. Your partner may be having terrible mood swings. Stay calm; this will pass soon.
A lot is happening for you and your baby during this week. Your uterus is expanding, and so is your belly. You may also notice a thin, white, milky vaginal discharge known as leucorrhea. Your baby is now over an inch in length. Though not everything is completely formed yet, your baby has all the organs and body parts now. Eat healthily and begin some moderate exercise to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy.