You and Your Baby at Week 8 of Your Pregnancy

Your baby is the size of a kidney bean!

(10 minute read)

8 Weeks Pregnant

Week 8 (1)

At 8 weeks, your baby is now called a foetus, which means "offspring" in Latin. The foetus is still inside the amniotic sac and is not getting nourishment from the placenta yet, which is continuing to form. This is why you might feel tired: your body is working overtime to support your growing baby before your placenta is fully formed. All of this is normal, and your body is built to nourish your baby during this time.

As you enter the 8th week of your pregnancy, your baby has grown significantly from the tiny cluster of cells it started as. At this point, the baby is about the size of a kidney bean, measuring about 1.6 cm in length. Despite being so small, your baby is undergoing rapid and complex development. The major organs, such as the brain, lungs, and heart, are forming, and facial features begin to take shape with the formation of tiny eyelids, a nose, and lips.

Your baby's legs are growing longer, although the individual parts of the leg, such as the knees and ankles, are not distinct yet. By the time your reach 12 weeks of your pregnancy, your baby will look like a tiny version of a fully developed baby with their arms, legs, fingers, toes and basic facial features all in place. How amazing is that?

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Your Body's Changes

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Pregnancy is a time of profound changes, and by week 8, you'll likely start noticing several physical and emotional shifts. One of the most significant changes is the increase in hormone levels, particularly human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone, which play a crucial role in maintaining pregnancy. A small amount of vaginal bleeding is perfectly normal but speak to your GP or midwife if it continues and is accompanied by abdominal pain.

Physical Changes

You might not be showing much on the outside yet, but inside, your uterus is expanding to accommodate your growing baby. This can lead to a feeling of fullness or mild cramping. Additionally, you may experience:

  • Increased breast tenderness and size as your body prepares for eventual breastfeeding. By weeks 12-16 your breasts will start producing colostrum - your first milk.
  • Fatigue, as your body works harder to support the developing fetus.
  • Nausea or morning sickness, which is common in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
  • Changes in appetite or food aversions often accompanied by a heightened sense of smell.

Emotional Changes

Alongside physical changes, many women experience emotional fluctuations. These can include:

  • Mood swings, often attributed to hormonal changes.
  • Increased anxiety or worry about the baby's health and the upcoming changes in life.
  • Possible increase in libido, due to hormonal changes.


Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 8

Every woman's pregnancy journey is unique, and the symptoms can vary widely. However, some common symptoms experienced during the 8th week of pregnancy include:

  1. Morning Sickness: Nausea and vomiting are common and can occur at any time of the day.
  2. Fatigue: The increased progesterone levels can make you feel unusually tired.
  3. Breast Changes: Your breasts may feel tender, swollen, and heavier due to hormonal changes.
  4. Frequent Urination: The growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder, causing you to urinate more often.
  5. Bloating and Constipation: Hormonal changes can slow down your digestive system, leading to bloating and constipation.
  6. Cravings or Food Aversions: You might find yourself craving certain foods or being repulsed by foods you previously enjoyed.
  7. Heightened Sense of Smell: Many women report a heightened sense of smell during early pregnancy, which can contribute to nausea.
  8. Emotional Changes: Fluctuations in emotions are common and can be attributed to changes in hormones.

Some women experience no symptoms, and some experience a number of symptoms. However you're feeling, be sure to look after yourself. Rest, stay hydrated and listen to what your body needs.

Tips for Managing Symptoms

The most important thing to remember is to tune into your own body, listen to your instincts and give yourself what you need. That might be particular foods, an earlier bedtime or sharing your news with friends and family for extra emotional support. Here are some tips on how to cope during week 8:

  • Eat small, frequent meals to help with nausea and maintain energy levels.
  • Try eating ginger biscuits to combat nausea.
  • Stay hydrated, especially if you're experiencing sickness.
  • Get plenty of rest and listen to your body's need for sleep.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and a supportive bra to ease breast tenderness.
  • Engage in gentle exercise like walking, swimming or prenatal yoga to boost mood and energy levels.
  • Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider or GP.

Week 8 of pregnancy is a time of rapid growth and development for your baby and significant changes for you. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, so it's important to consult with your GP or midwife for personalised advice and care.

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