8 Weeks Pregnant

8 Weeks Pregnant : What to Expect

Many things are happening for women that are 8 weeks pregnant and because it is still early in the pregnancy many are not sure what to expect. Although many women schedule their first doctor appointments during the 6th and 7th weeks, lots of practitioners tend to wait until after the 8th week, or two missed periods before scheduling an appointment. By doing this, they reduce the number of false pregnancies, as well as miscarriages, since for most women the chance of miscarriage reduces at this stage. The first doctor appointment tends to take a little longer than the rest as the doctor and you are filling out lots of paperwork, you’re answering lots of questions, etc. At eight weeks pregnant, various symptoms may start to progress and women may also get their first ultrasounds done, seeing their baby for the first time and checking to see how many heartbeats there are. This is also the stage when you begin all the paperwork required by the government to record your baby officially with the registrar. This will get your baby a birth certificate after the birth. You’re more than half way through the first trimester, so get ready!

Symptoms and Body Changes at 8 Weeks

Women may start seeing numerous symptoms and various changes taking place within their bodies, and as week 8 comes and goes, many changes also begin to start happening on the outside of their bodies. 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 are dark veins that develop around the breasts due to the increase in blood supply. It doesn’t always happen to all women, but most experience them. Because of the hormone changes within your body, the areolas (skin around the nipples) begin to darken. Montgomery tubercles (small glands on surface of areolas) develop and the nipples grow in size. A yellowish, thick substance called colostrums is another symptom and begins to discharge from the nipples. You may experience cramping or pain in the abdomen, however this is usually due to the fact that the uterus is growing. These are some of the symptoms at 8 weeks of pregnancy and because each woman has a unique experience there can be others.

Baby’s Development

During the 8th week of pregnancy many significant changes occur in the baby’s development. First, the embryo is at the end of the embryonic period and is ready to start the fetal period. It also begins to lose the embryonic tail as the periods change. The little bean is approximately an inch long and weighs close to 3 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 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 really coming into focus. Webbed feet and hands begin to grow longer and separate, and if you look closely you can almost count all 20! The facial features are also really coming into focus. The nose is easily seen and the ears are not only growing and shaping internally, but externally too. The jaw line and mouth are also easily seen, and the teeth are where they’re 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.

[Page updated July 2013]