Congratulations! You’re eight weeks pregnant. The gestational age of your baby is six weeks, and he or she is now graduating from embryo to fetus. There’s a lot happening with both you and your baby this week.
Changes in Your Body
You may start to notice that your clothes are fitting more snugly as you progress toward the end of your first trimester. Weight gain is typically only a couple of pounds, if any, at this point, but your uterus is slowly expanding to accommodate your baby’s rapid development. Your breasts may also feel full and tender, perhaps even tingly.
According to the United States Office on Women’s Health, blood volume increases tremendously during pregnancy. So, beyond what you see at the surface, all your systems are working on overdrive. Changes and discomforts, even at this early stage, are happening as your body adapts to its new demands.
Your little one might already be 1/2-inch long, or 11 to 14 millimeters. They grow up so fast, right?
By now, your baby looks more and more like the newborn you’ll bring home from the hospital. Its body has sprouted tiny arms and legs, fingers and toes, bones, and muscles. Its unique facial features continue to develop along with all the inner workings and organs.
Though you can’t feel it yet, your little one is also constantly moving and shaking.
Twin Development at Week 8
By the end of week eight, your babies will measure around 1/2 an inch long. They’re also starting to look more like real babies. Their arms are lengthening, their ears are forming, and even their upper lip and nose have sprouted out.
Fatigue will likely continue this week. If it hasn’t started already, your rising hormone levels, which peak soon (around week 10), may give you some morning sickness.
Eating small, frequent meals can help regulate blood sugar and alleviate nausea. Snacking on ginger and peppermint or consuming more protein may also help you feel better. You may even have heartburn, frequent urination, and difficulty sleeping. All of these experiences are normal.
There is a broad range of symptoms from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. If anything feels extreme or makes you unusually uncomfortable, call your doctor to get some reassurance or suggestions.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
If you haven’t already, make an appointment with an OB/GYN or midwife to get your first prenatal checkup.
At the appointment, you will likely give a urine sample to confirm pregnancy, provide your medical history, have your blood drawn to check hormone levels, and discuss your thoughts and concerns. You may even have an early ultrasound to measure your baby’s growth and heart rate to determine its due date.
It’s helpful to bring a list of questions to this appointment. There isn’t a right or wrong thing to ask. Here are some suggestions:
- Are the medicines or supplements I’m taking still OK?
- What types of exercises are safe during pregnancy?
- Are there any activities or foods I should avoid?
- Is my pregnancy considered high risk?
- What tests should I consider throughout my pregnancy?
- What should I do if I feel that something is wrong?
Exercise is another way you can take care of your body and baby during this stage. If you were active before conceiving, it is safe to continue most of your usual activities with clearance from your doctor. Walking is particularly effective since it’s a low-impact, total-body workout you can do virtually anywhere, for free.
When to Call the Doctor
Sudden loss of symptoms doesn’t always mean there’s something amiss with your pregnancy. In fact, sore breasts and nausea can come and go.
That said, if you feel different or have some other reason for concern, call your doctor. Signs of miscarriage can include anything from vaginal spotting or bleeding to cramping or passing tissue from the vagina.
There may also be no signs of miscarriage. Some couples discover their baby has passed at their first ultrasound appointment.
Researchers estimate that up to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. The situation can feel quite devastating, but if you experience this misfortune, you’re not alone. More often than not, miscarriages are caused by chromosomal anomalies and are in no way under the mother’s control.
The good news: Once you hear baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound at eight weeks, your miscarriage risk lowers to around 1.5 percent.
32 Weeks to Go
That just about sums up week eight. Now’s the time to start keeping a journal about your pregnancy. Snap a few photos and jot down notes to remember this special time in your life. It may not feel like it now, but the next 32 weeks will go by in a flash.