40 Wonderful Weeks: 8 Weeks Pregnant
Congratulations! You’ve hit another milestone moment! At 8 weeks pregnant, you’ve made it to the two-month mark. While you are likely anxiously counting down the days until you meet your baby, you’ve still got plenty of time to relax and enjoy your pregnancy. Go ahead and take that nap if you’re still feeling that early pregnancy fatigue, or indulge one of your cravings by planning a healthy treat. After all, ice cream or frozen yogurt is a great way to sneak in some extra calcium.
You may also be starting to feel like you really are pregnant. Your hormones are reaching a peak that brings on more pregnancy symptoms, and your growing uterus is finally starting to make its appearance by rounding out your belly. If you haven’t scheduled a doctor’s appointment yet, then now is the time to do so. Your baby is big enough now that you might catch a glimpse of them on the ultrasound or at least hear that precious little heartbeat. You’ll never forget these special moments, so remember to soak them up. You only see and hear your baby for the first time once, and seeing them on the ultrasound screen makes your pregnancy feel more real.
What Is Happening: To Your Body and Baby!
Are your clothes starting to feel a little tight around your waist? This is when many women need to upgrade to looser maternity clothes. You might also opt for more flowy tops and dresses if you are still waiting to announce your pregnancy. Going a size up can extend your pregnancy wardrobe, and look around for pants with elastic waistbands versus zippers and buttons. They’ll expand as you grow, and they’re so comfortable that it’ll be hard to give them up once you have your baby.
Mentally, you might be feeling a little early pregnancy anxiety. This is when you are likely to be going for your first prenatal appointment, and it is normal to worry about you and your baby’s health. If you feel like anxiety is taking over your life, then let your doctor know. They can help you find some ways to relieve stress and feel more confident about your pregnancy.
Before your appointment, it might help to make a list of any concerns that you have. Asking if it is normal to have as much morning sickness as you do or if your lifestyle habits are safe makes it easier to relax about your pregnancy.
Your body already knows what to do, and it is doing it right now! All you have to do is eat well, rest and hydrate while staying away from anything that you should avoid during pregnancy. During your first prenatal appointment, your doctor should also give you a list of things that aren’t safe for pregnant women along with a plan for what to do to stay healthy.
Turning 8 weeks pregnant means that you now have only 32 more weeks to go, and you and your baby are about to round the corner to even more changes in your bodies. Right now, your baby is 1/2” to 3/4” long or 1.5 to 2 cm.
They’re also about the size and shape of a kidney bean. If you see your baby on an early ultrasound, then you’ll know right away why you hear parents refer to their babies as a little bean or gummy bear. They really do look a lot like one at this stage, but that adorable little body will start stretching out before long.
Your Baby Is Looking More Human!
There are several key changes in your baby this week that makes them look a lot like the newborn you expect to see on your delivery day. Once you are 8 weeks pregnant, your baby loses its embryonic tail and begins to straighten out. Their little arm and leg buds are getting longer, and their hands and feet look a little paddle-like for now but inside are growing fingers and toes that they’ll soon be wiggling around.
Your baby’s digestive system is also in a rapid stage of development. There isn’t room for their intestines in the abdominal cavity yet, so they are forming in the umbilical cord. Once your baby gets bigger, they’ll naturally move into the right place in their abdomen.
That cute little face is still getting more precious every day! The nose and lips are becoming more noticeable, and tiny nostrils are starting to form. The eyelid folds are starting to develop. Your baby’s eyes won’t open until much later in your pregnancy, but they are already undergoing a huge part of their development when you are 8 weeks pregnant.
Your baby’s internal ear structures have been developing for a couple of weeks, but they’ll now start having more of their outer ear form on the sides of their head.
If you’ve been eager to find out your baby’s sex, it is exciting to know that their genitals are currently turning into ovaries or testes at this very moment. They won’t be fully visible on the ultrasound until around 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, you might be able to arrange for prenatal testing to determine the sex of your baby in a couple of weeks. A simple blood test can give you more accurate results so that you can start planning your big gender reveal.
Oh, Those Pregnancy Symptoms!
Take a moment to check in with yourself. Are you feeling better or worse than you did last week? Its pretty common to find that your symptoms fluctuate from day to day or even that they happen one day and never come back.
As a general rule, your pregnancy symptoms shouldn’t be completely interfering with your ability to carry out your normal daily routine. If they are, then it is a good idea to check with your doctor. Certain conditions such as anemia or excessive morning sickness could cause your symptoms to be more extreme, and your doctor can help you treat these issues so that they don’t affect your health or your baby’s development.
Continue Watching Out for the Main Three!
For the most part, you’re likely to experience the unfortunate trio of symptoms that most women deal with when they are 8 weeks pregnant.
- Morning sickness may still be happening. If it is, then try to take heart! You’ve now made it two-thirds of the way through your first trimester, and many women find that the nausea and vomiting ease up once they enter the second trimester.
- Fatigue is also common at this stage, which makes a lot of sense considering that your body is working hard to grow a tiny human. Give yourself permission to kick your feet up more or take a nap when your schedule permits. You’ll feel more refreshed, and your body needs that energy for helping your baby grow.
- Frequent urination is the final symptom in the trio. Once again, your uterus is rapidly expanding and placing pressure on your bladder. Keep drinking your water, and remember to leave a little time in your schedule for making an extra bathroom trip or two.
Your familiar pregnancy symptoms might be joined by a few new ones at 8 weeks pregnant. In fact, these new symptoms can sometimes be a little scary if you don’t know that they are normal.
- Cramps - It can be a little disconcerting to suddenly feel a few twinges of pain in your abdomen. However, some light cramping is normal right now. Like your baby, your uterus is growing. This can result in a few odd twinges here and there as the ligaments stretch. Keep in mind that this cramping should be mild and short-lived. Call your doctor or head straight to the emergency room if you experience sharp or strong pains that happen frequently or are constant. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and making sure that everything is okay helps you to avoid feeling too much stress.
Dizziness - Feeling a little woozy may also make you worry that something is wrong. The hormones floating around your body at 8 weeks pregnant cause your blood vessels to relax. This can generate low blood pressure, dizziness and light headedness. On top of all of that, the hormones can also affect your inner ear. This can impact your sense of balance and hearing, and you might even feel a little nausea with your dizziness.
Dizziness can also be caused by other health factors such as dehydration, low blood sugar or even getting up or down too fast. Anemia also causes dizziness. If you feel dizzy, then sit or lie down to rest. You can also try eating a light snack or drinking some water. If it doesn’t go away or seems excessive, then reach out to a health care professional to make sure everything is fine.
- Breast Changes - If your breasts feel bigger or sore, then you know what to blame. Yep, its those pregnancy hormones at it again! Your breasts are preparing for your baby’s arrival. As more milk-making tissue grows, you’ll notice your breasts swelling. You may even need to change to a new bra size or style. The increased blood flow to your breasts may make the blue veins beneath your skin more visible. General soreness and tingling sensations in your nipples might happen as well as your body begins to get ready for making milk.
If you’ve been following your pregnancy week by week, then you may already know what you’re about to hear right now. Go on and take your prenatal vitamins. If you’ve been accidentally forgetting them, then try to take them at the same time each day. Just before bedtime might be best if they tend to aggravate your morning sickness. You can also set an alarm to remind you when its time or take them with meals. Tying taking them to something that you do every day can make it easier to remember to swallow that essential pill.
Plan Healthy Meals
Is your appetite revving up at 8 weeks pregnant? Or, are you still feeling a lot of that familiar queasiness? Either way, you want to increase your focus on eating healthy meals that provide fuel for your body and growing baby.
Your suddenly growing belly might leave you feeling a little worried about weight gain, but try not to stress too much about it. If you focus on eating wholesome, nutritious meals most of the time, then an occasional treat won’t hurt anyone. It’s generally expected for a mama-to-be to gain around two to four pounds during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Keep in mind that some of that extra tummy that you see could just be some normal pregnancy bloating. You could even lose some weight if you experience a lot of morning sickness.
If you find it hard to keep any food down right now, then you might want to try nibbling on small snacks throughout the day that help to supplement any food that you lose after a meal. Staying hydrated right now is important, and you might try making smoothies that can sometimes be easier to keep down than solid food. Taking your prenatal vitamins is especially important for helping you to get nutrients when you’re dealing with constant queasiness.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day has several benefits for your pregnancy. Keeping something on your stomach prevents acids from building up like they do when you are hungry. Snacks help to regulate your blood sugar so that you are less likely to feel dizzy, and you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
Make sure to choose nutritious snacks that fulfill your daily dietary needs. Often, pairing a protein with a carb works the best for giving you energy. Apples and peanut butter is a great go-to snack. Or, you can try some cheese and soda crackers to calm an irritated stomach. A handful of blueberries or walnuts is another great snack that you can eat without feeling overly full.
Your Focus for the Week
Now that you’re 8 weeks pregnant, you want to keep doing the many good things you’ve been working into your lifestyle since you got that positive test. You can kick off this week by doing a little grocery shopping and filling up your ever-present water bottle.
- Stock Your Pantry - It’s way easier to eat healthy when you’ve got the right food right there in your house. In addition to your regular meals, make sure to stock up on supplies for snacks. Once you’ve filled your fridge, you might even want to do some meal prepping. Being able to grab a prepared lunch means that you can eat on the run without having to fill up on junk.
- Take Your Prenatals and Eat Some Fiber - We promise we’re not trying to sound like a broken record. Doing both of these things has so many benefits for mama and baby that it is always worth repeating.
- Water, Water, Water! - Here’s a fun one! Try turning staying hydrated into a challenge. Find a water bottle with goal lines for drinking at specific times of the day, or make your own. You’ll start looking forward to taking frequent sips.