Pregnancy Tracker: Week 8

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 8




Development Of Baby At 8 Weeks Pregnant

Your foetus is still inside its amniotic sac, and the placenta is forming structures that aid in attaching it to the uterus wall. The yolk sac continues to nourish the foetus.

Your baby is really growing rapidly now and is about the size of a kidney bean. The tiny skeleton is almost fully formed. The hands and feet are growing webbed digits and even knees and wrists are starting to take shape and will soon be able to flex.

Even at this early stage, baby’s taste buds are forming. The foetus has lost its ‘tail’ and is less curled than even a week or so ago. The tiny little nose, upper lip and ears are more easily identifiable. Pigment in the retina is developing, making the eyes look more real. Genital buds that will be the sexual organs appear but are still too immature to be identified as boy or girl.

Although you cannot feel it yet, your baby is constantly moving - spontaneously stretching and twitching. Baby’s little heart is beating twice as fast as yours, about 150 to 170 beats a minute. Your uterus is expanding and is now about the size of an orange to accommodate the growing baby and increasing amniotic fluid.

Baby’s respiratory system is developing as tubes extend from the throat area to the developing lungs. At the same time, the nervous system continues to mature.

How you may be feeling at 8 weeks pregnant

No doubt you are feeling exhausted, nauseous, and irritable and trying to manage wild mood swings. You may be feeling despondent and miserable at the thought that this is only the beginning of pregnancy; perhaps you are wondering how you will cope in the months ahead. These are normal emotions, and the good news is that after the magical 12-week mark, things are likely to improve. Your body is trying to adjust to the onslaught of hormones and to cope with a rapidly growing baby.

Pregnancy Symptoms In Week 8

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms during early pregnancy (and again in the third trimester) and more than 60% of women are affected by it. This constant lack of energy can be very debilitating, especially for working mums-to-be who have to get up and drag themselves off to the workplace every day.

It may help you to understand the reasons for the sluggish feelings of fatigue:

  • During the first trimester your body is hard at work developing the all-important placenta. This huge task depletes your body of energy.
  • The influx of hormones, particularly progesterone, causes mood swings, which can be emotionally draining.
  • The necessity of creating increased supplies of blood to nourish baby is exhausting for a mother-to-be.

Morning sickness is considered by some pregnant women to be the worst symptom of all, as it can strike first thing in the morning and last into the night. As your sense of smell is more sensitive, strong aversions to certain foods, and the smell of these foods, can trigger a bout of vomiting. Take comfort in knowing that it is likely the nausea will subside in the second trimester.

Some factors are responsible for causing morning sickness:

  • Hormones - of course! Increasing levels of progesterone and oestrogen, as well as hCG.
  • The metallic taste that some women experience can result in feelings of nausea.
  • Heartburn. This has nothing to do with the heart! It happens when the muscle that separates the oesophagus from the stomach relaxes, and food and acids back up, causing a burning sensation.
  • Excess saliva. Not much is known about the cause of this symptom, but experts feel it may be the body’s way of protecting the mouth and teeth from stomach acid. As unpleasant as it is, there is no cure, but certain strategies may help, like chewing on ice, chewing gum, eating or drinking something sour and cleaning your teeth frequently with a mint flavoured toothpaste.
  • Stress and fatigue have been shown to exacerbate the severity of morning sickness. Try to rest whenever possible, develop de-stressing, calming tactics like meditating and exercising.
  • You are more likely to suffer from effects if close women in your family also experienced symptoms, although there is no fixed rule about this.
  • Hot weather has been reported to bring on nausea in some women. Dress in cool cottons, wear a sun hat when outdoors, and remain indoors during the hottest part of the day.

Vaginal discharge. Oestrogen increases blood flow to the pelvic area, resulting a thin, milky fluid discharge. Leukorrhea is produced, which protects the birth canal by keeping a healthy bacterial balance.

Constipation may also become evident at this stage. Progesterone causes muscles in the bowels to relax, slowing down the progress of food in the digestive tract. Boost your fibre intake to help combat this annoying symptom and cut out or reduce refined food. Drink about 8 glasses of fluids and eat small, frequent meals.

Pica is a craving for strange substances and could be a sign of nutritional deficiency, in particular, iron or zinc. If what you are craving is healthy and provides an abundance of the vitamins and minerals that you require at this time of creating a new life, continue eating! But if your cravings are for odd non-food substances like ashes, dirt, clay, or ice, it is best to chat to your healthcare provider.

Tips and advice on looking after yourself at 8 weeks pregnant

  • Try resting whenever possible. This may reduce fatigue as well as ward off headaches and nausea.
  • Ensure you stay well hydrated by drinking enough water.
  • If you are suffering from nausea and morning sickness, try eating smaller meals more frequently.
  • Taking a 30-minute walk daily is an excellent way of getting exercise and boosting your mood. Remember to put on sunscreen and wear a hat, especially if you are experiencing pregnancy-related skin changes.
  • Ensure you are getting enough iron in your diet. Lack of iron can cause tiredness, weakness, and headaches. Eat foods rich in iron: red meat, fortified breakfast cereals, bread, pulses, eggs, and green vegetables.

 If you have not already done so, now is the time to book your 12-week prenatal visit!

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