8 Weeks Pregnant
Many things are happening during the eighth week of pregnancy. Although many women schedule their first doctor appointments during the sixth and seventh weeks, many practitioners prefer to wait until after the eighth week, or two missed periods, before scheduling an appointment.
The first doctor appointment tends to take a little longer than the rest, as you and your doctor are filling out lots of paperwork, you are answering lots of questions, etc. You also get your first ultrasound done, so you will see your baby for the first time. The ultrasound will also tell you how many heartbeats are there — you may have twins! This is also the stage at which you begin all the paperwork required by the government to officially record your baby with the registrar. This will get your baby a birth certificate after the birth. You are more than halfway through the first trimester, so get ready!
Symptoms and Body Changes at 8 Weeks
Many changes have taken place in your body, and as week 8 comes and goes, many changes begin to happen on the outside of your body. Your uterus is growing as the baby grows, and is about the size of a grapefruit at this point. Your breasts will be growing more sensitive as they begin to prepare for lactation. Varicose veins — dark veins that develop around the breasts due to the increase in blood supply — may appear. These veins do not appear on all women, but most experience them. Because of the hormone changes within your body, the areolae (the skin around the nipples) begin to darken. Montgomery tubercles (small glands on surface of the areolae) develop, and the nipples grow larger. A thick, yellowish substance called colostrum begins to discharge from the nipples. You may experience cramping or pain in your abdomen due to the growth of the uterus.
The eighth week of the pregnancy calendar signifies many special things. First, the embryo is at the end of the embryonic stage and is ready to start the fetal stage. It also begins to lose the embryonic tail. The little bean is approximately an inch long and weighs close to three grams. As the intestines grow longer, they run out of room within the abdomen, causing them to protrude into the umbilical cord until week 12. Although they are hard to see, the gonads are forming into either testicles or ovaries. Ossification, or the hardening of the bones, begins to occur, and the elbows, wrists, and other bones and joints are taking shape. Webbed feet and hands begin to grow longer and separate, and if you look closely you can almost count all twenty fingers and toes! The facial features are also coming into focus. The nose is clearly visible, and the ears are growing and shaping internally and externally. The jawline and mouth are also clearly visible, and the teeth are where they are supposed to be.
Pregnancy Week 8 Tips
One of the first things women 8 weeks into their pregnancy can do, before buying baby clothes or maternity clothes, is to purchase one or two maternity bras. When you do buy a supportive maternity bra, consider buying it one or two sizes larger than normal to accommodate the growth of your breasts. Although each woman’s growth rate will differ, they can expect some enlargement. Another purchase you can make during this 8th week, if you haven’t done so is to buy pregnancy books. Spending your down time reading these books can lift your self esteem, as well as help you understand changes you are experiencing. Include your partner and your other children (if you have them) in this reading session to help them feel closer to the baby. This too, can help them understand some of the internal and external changes you will be going through over the course of the next 32 weeks. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins to maintain pregnancy health. This may sound silly since you’re past the ‘pre’ part of the natal, however, these vitamins have essential nutrients you and your baby need as the hours, days and weeks continue. Next is pregnancy at 9 weeks.