Pregnancy week 8
(Sparx Media)
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How's the foetus during week 8?

No longer an embryo!

Your baby is the size of a small butter bean, about 30mm from crown to rump. Week 8 is the beginning of a very busy developmental stage. Your baby is no longer called an embryo but is now a foetus.

Congratulations! The blob is now a baby.

Your baby is developing the details:

  • Elbows begin to form and there are distinct fingers and feet with tiny notches for toes.
  • Intestines start to form in the umbilical cord.
  • The ears, eyes and tip of the nose appear.
  • Taste buds and fingernail beds appear.
  • Milk teeth develop under the gums and the palate is forming.
  • The skin is very thin so the baby's veins are clearly visible.
  • An ultrasound will show a fluttering heartbeat.

What's with my body: Morning sickness, mood swings and pimples

Your waistline is expanding, but you probably won't be showing yet and you won't gain much weight until later in your pregnancy.

Second and third pregnancies show quicker, though, since your muscles and ligaments might not be as strong as the first time around.

In week 8 your pregnancy symptoms really start to kick in - you might experience:

  • Nausea (morning sickness) any time of the day or if you're unlucky, the whole day.
  • You'll suffer from exhaustion and mood swings.
  • Food cravings and you may suddenly hate food that you used to love AND you might also get a funny taste in your mouth that seems kind of metallic.
  • To top all this off, you could have an outbreak of pimples or other skin problems.

Also read: "Hyperemesis gravidarum landed me in ICU"

Also read: Should you announce you're expecting?

Also read: Sleep well while pregnant

Also read: Vulnerable stages in foetal development

Also read: What you eat affects your foetus

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates

You may find yourself breathing faster and even experiencing breathlessness this week, each of which is perfectly normal. This is due to very high progesterone levels produced by the pregnancy. In a way you really are breathing for two.

Your growing baby

Your baby is now about the size of your thumbprint (roughly 1.5cm). Within six weeks of growth your foetus has developed limbs, tiny fingers and toes, the beginnings of external ear structures, eyelids, an upper lip, the tip of a nose, and intestines and resembles a miniature human being!

Your changing body

Your jeans might feel a bit tighter this week, as retained fluid in your bloodstream and tissues could cause your weight to begin to rise. To get an idea of what your pregnancy weight should be have a look at our BMI Calculator.

If you're over 35, have had multiple miscarriages or a history of pregnancy complications, it is especially important to have your gynae carefully monitoring your progress. An ultrasound at this stage will confirm viability, the number of foetuses and accurately predict baby's expected time of arrival.

Tip of the week: Get enough exercise

Exercise during pregnancy is essential for your own health and that of baby. Dedicate yourself to a fitness regime now, if you're not already exercising regularly - you'll make your pregnancy and labour much easier, and it'll be easier to shed those post-preggie kilo's too.

Pregnancy exercise guidelines:

  • Pregnant women are encouraged to engage in moderate exercise for 30 min on most days of the week.
  • During the second and 3rd trimesters avoid standing motionless for too long, and avoid exercising on your back.
  • Activities with a risk of falling or abdominal trauma need to be avoided
  • Scuba diving is not safe at any time during pregnancy

Don't exercise if:

  • You have heart or lung disease
  • You have an incompetent cervix or cerclage
  • You are carrying more than one baby or are at risk of premature labour
  • You have persistent 2nd or 3rd trimester bleeding
  • You have placenta praevia past 26 weeks
  • You have ruptured membranes
  • You have pre-eclampsia (hypertension)

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