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8 Weeks Pregnant

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Your Baby

From head to toes. Last week, the brain started to develop into three distinct structures. This week, other body parts are beginning: Hands and feet are forming tiny webbed fingers and toes. And the tail your little one has been sporting starts to disappear.

Tummy works. The extremities aren't the only things developing—the middle is making strides too. As the intestines form, a middle loop moves into the umbilical cord because there's not enough room for it in the abdomen. Even at this early stage, the intestines are working to carry waste away from the body. A month from now, when there's more room in your little one's belly, the intestines will have moved back into the abdomen and out of the cord.

Live wire. If you could poke your little one's body, you'd see it react with a jerk. This is because the developing nervous system is already communicating with the muscles.

Measuring up. Your tiny resident is about the size of a gum ball, weighing in at about 0.25 gram and measuring anywhere from 7 to 17 millimeters (roughly 0.5 inch). But the embryo's shape is more cubical than round.

Your Pregnancy

Getting good care. It's time for your first prenatal visit, so if you haven't chosen a health care provider, get one now. Women who start receiving prenatal care in the first three months have smoother pregnancies and healthier babies than those who don't receive early care. Whether you pick an ob-gyn, a family physician, a nurse practitioner, or a midwife, it's important that you be comfortable with his or her philosophy and practices. Your visits are usually scheduled once a month until the last two months, then more frequently until birth. These checkups offer the perfect opportunity to ask questions, so don't hesitate to bring up any concerns, large or small. Write them down between visits so you won't forget. For more information, read Choosing a Prenatal Health Care Provider.

When to tell. It's a subject of much debate: When should you share your exciting news with the rest of the world? Some couples tell close friends and family right away. Others choose to wait until they're past the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage has diminished. Some women prefer to wait until they're showing. When it comes to telling your boss, only you can make that decision. If you have a high-risk pregnancy (or if morning sickness is keeping you tethered to the bathroom), you may need to share the information sooner rather than later so you can discuss a flexible work schedule. Whatever the case, know that you can't be fired from your job for being pregnant if you work for a company of 15 or more employees, under the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. And most states have additional legislation to protect those who work for smaller businesses.

From the experts. Feeling fatigued? "It's a common symptom in early pregnancy," says Elaine Zwelling, R.N., Ph.D. "A good diet, plenty of sleep, and exercise can go a long way to heading off exhaustion." Get tips on how to boost your energy from Dr. Zwelling.


Member comments

Is or has anyone else had nightmares? I wake up with some strange and scary dreams about the baby. ..

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