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8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

This week, hands and feet are forming tiny webbed fingers and toes. The tail your little one has been sporting starts to disappear. Right now the embryo's shape is more cubical than round.

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 move out of the cord and back into the abdomen.

If you could give your little one’s body a nudge with your finger, you’d see it react with a reflexive jerk. The developing nervous system is already communicating with the muscles.

How Big is Your Baby at Eight Weeks?

Your baby has come a long way – and soon, growth will start to happen even faster. The average fetus this week is about the size of a raspberry – just 0.5 to 0.6” long. The average weight is about 0.05 ounces.

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Mom’s Body at 8 Weeks Pregnant

By the time you reach week 8, pregnancy symptoms will probably be in full swing. Odors that never bothered you before may seem overbearing, thanks to increased hormones that amplify your sense of smell and make your stomach feel like you’re in the middle of a wild roller-coaster ride. You may get to hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time - finally something to make-up for some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms you've been experiencing.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Morning Sickness – The hormones that cause morning sickness are in full force right now. The good news is these hormones should start to level off around week 10 and even more so during the second trimester, if not before. For now, try keeping crackers at your beside to eat before you get up and aim for five or six small meals a day, rather than three large ones.

  • Diarrhea – Your digestive system is probably far more sensitive than you're used to. Make sure you're practicing healthy eating habits, as diarrhea can stem from eating unhealthy foods. Be sure to stay hydrated and contact your healthcare provider if it lasts longer than 24 hours, or is accompanied by any other symptoms. Do not take a anti-diarrheal remedy before checking with your doctor.

  • Frequent Urination – Yes, you’re still making lots of extra trips to the restroom. This symptom will come and go as your baby changes position during pregnancy.

  • Is that a small bump? – Starting to show at 8 weeks can be normal, especially in the evening! You may also notice a small weight gain.

  • Abdominal Cramping – Cramping can be associated with the continued growth of your uterus. If the cramping is severe or if you feel pain other than cramping, call your doctor to rule out problems.

  • Back Pain – By the time you are 8 weeks pregnant, back pain may become a problem, particularly around the lower back. The reason for this is that the muscles in your back are working a bit harder than usual as your weight is redistributed to accommodate your growing uterus.

  • Light Spotting – Spotting (a few drops of blood at a time) can be normal, however be sure to talk to your doctor if you feel at all concerned, and call right away if you notice heavier bleeding.

  • Tiredness – Go ahead and grab some extra winks whenever you can. If you’re feeling exhausted, listen to your body.

  • Trouble Sleeping – Changing hormone levels, discomfort, and extra trips to the restroom often add up to disturbed sleep. Try listening to peaceful music or reading a book if you’re feeling wide awake. Whatever you do, don’t reach for your smartphone or tablet. According to recent studies, the light that comes from electronic devices may trick your brain into feeling even more wakeful, derailing your efforts to fall back to sleep.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Time to shop for maternity clothes if you haven’t already done so! Your clothing probably feels tight by now and it’s important to allow your body to have room to grow comfortably.

  • Take care of yourself by exercising. If you were fairly active before your pregnancy, it’s usually considered safe to continue the activities you enjoyed (just check with your doctor to be sure.)

  • Getting good care is important! It’s time for your first visit with your healthcare provider, so if you haven’t chosen a provider, do this 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’re comfortable with his or her philosophy and practices.

  • Should I share the news? When to tell is the 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 is much lower. Some women prefer to wait until they’re showing.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Call your doctor right away if you suspect that something is wrong. Significant bleeding, pain other than mild cramping, and severe dizziness are often cause for concern.

  • Pregnancy symptoms can come and go. If you’re concerned about anything that’s happening to you, be sure to check in with your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with sound advice.

  • How’s my baby? If you’re scheduled for an ultrasound this week, you’re probably curious about the average fetal heart rate. This is a great question to ask your doctor; in general though, the heartbeat should be strong and detectable, with a rate of 140 to 170 beats per minute by the end of week 9.

  • Your visits are usually scheduled once a month until the last two months of your pregnancy when they will become more frequent until birth. These regular check-ups give you the perfect opportunity to ask questions and bring up concerns.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Find a physician, nurse-practitioner, or midwife you like and trust

Once you've chosen a provider, schedule your monthly prenatal care appointments

With your partner, plan how you’ll share the big news with family and friends

Sign up for weekly pregnancy tips

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Find a physician, nurse-practitioner, or midwife you like and trust

Once you've chosen a provider, schedule your monthly prenatal care appointments

With your partner, plan how you’ll share the big news with family and friends

Sign up to get weekly pregnancy tips

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