8 weeks pregnant: what to expectShare on Pinterest

Congratulations! You’re 8 weeks pregnant. Things are really revving up now. The gestational age of your baby is 6 weeks, and they are now graduating from embryo to fetus.

But there’s a lot more happening with both you and your baby this week. Keep reading to learn more about all the changes in your body and baby, and find out when you need to call your doctor.

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.

Blood volume increases 45 percent 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. But it’s amazingly up to the challenge.

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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

Your little one might already be half an 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. Their body has sprouted tiny arms and legs, fingers and toes, bones, and muscles. Their unique facial features continue to develop along with all of their inner workings and organs.

Though you can’t feel it yet, your little one is also constantly moving.

You may have found out that you’re carrying twins (or more!). By the end of week 8, your babies will measure around half 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.

You’ll need even more nutrients than someone carrying one baby. These include:

Some women carrying multiples have more intense symptoms and a higher likelihood of complications. Talk to your doctor if you feel anything is awry or have questions.

At 8 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

Fatigue will likely continue this week. If it hasn’t started already, your rising hormone levels, which will peak soon (around week 10), may give you some morning sickness.

Morning sickness is poorly named. It really can happen at any time of the day. Eat crackers slowly to calm the nausea. This will usually resolve itself in 3 to 4 weeks.

All of these experiences are normal, though if it feels more intense than you expected, tell your doctor. It can be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum which causes severe nausea and vomiting.

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.

There is a broad range of symptoms from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy. If anything feels extreme or makes you unusually uncomfortable, call your doctor to get some reassurance or suggestions.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your first prenatal checkup. Schedule an appointment with an OB-GYN or midwife.

At the appointment, you’ll likely give a urine sample to confirm pregnancy, provide your medical history, have your blood drawn to check hormone levels, get a pelvic exam, and discuss your thoughts and concerns.

You may even have an early ultrasound to measure your baby’s growth and heart rate and determine their 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’s 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.

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 a miscarriage at their first ultrasound appointment.

Researchers estimate that 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester.

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 parent’s control.

The good news: Once your baby reaches 8 weeks, your miscarriage risk lowers to around 1.5 percent, according to one 2008 study.

That just about sums up week 8. Continue eating well, abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol, and safely being active.

Consider 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.