What a big week this is. Only 4 more weeks to go before the end of your first trimester which somehow, may not seem all that far away. It’s still really important to be careful about limiting your exposure to any toxins, viruses or chemicals which could potentially harm your baby as it’s forming. You don’t need to live in a bubble, but just be aware and focus on staying well and healthy.
How am I looking?
You still won’t look like you are pregnant when you are 8 weeks pregnant, but you are certainly feeling like it. Pregnancy hormones will be working overtime in supporting your baby to grow and establish itself even more firmly into your uterine wall. Your breasts are likely to have increased in size and weight and your waistline is quickly disappearing. You may often feel slightly dizzy or lightheaded, not as decisive as you usually are, or just a little vague. You can put all this down to the normal symptoms of early pregnancy.
What’s in the fridge?
This week you are still likely to be feeling sick and turned off by the thought of eating particular foods. Some experts say this is nature’s way of protecting the baby from potentially harmful foods. Give into food cravings if you’re having them, no matter how odd they seem. Some women actually crave non-edible foodstuffs like chalk, detergent, sand and even mud. Obviously, it’s worth putting some boundaries around your cravings if some things start to look too tempting to resist.
When you are 8 weeks pregnant you could also find your tolerance for exercise isn’t what it usually is. You may find yourself getting breathless or just tiring more easily. This may be the time to think about changing your exercise programme to something which is less strenuous and with a lower impact. It’s still important to move every day and incorporate some exercise and activity into your daily routine. Women who gain excessive pregnancy weight can have more difficult deliveries and are at a greater risk of obstetric complications.
Your physical changes this week
- More food size comparisons this week, when your uterus resembles the size of a grapefruit or a large orange. Normally it’s around the size of a small plum.
- Nausea may be your constant companion. It is estimated 70-80 percent or women in the 1st trimester of pregnancy will experience nausea to some degree. Try to avoid your blood sugar dropping too low by not missing meals, snacking between meals and eating foods which are easy to digest. Don’t force yourself to eat what repels you just because you think it’s healthy.
- You may be more aware of heaviness or full feeling in your pelvis this week.You may feel this more after you’ve eaten a full meal or when you need to wee. There is still no outward sign that you are pregnant and your tummy is as flat as it usually is.
- You may be aware of your waistline getting a little thicker than it usually is. It’s not quite time to start wearing maternity clothes, but you could just be reaching for the elastic waist pants and skirts around week 8 of pregnancy.
- More tiredness and wanting to lie down and rest this week. Some days you may not feel as if you’ve slept at all, or for long enough. You may yearn for night time to come when you can climb back into bed. Afternoon lie downs can be very restorative, so try to plan for a rest or day time sleep when you can.
- You could become aware of some lower back pain from week 8 onwards. This may be something you’ve never experienced before your pregnancy. Back pain at this stage is usually a result of pressure from your enlarged uterus on your lower spine. Back pain comes and goes throughout pregnancy and is influenced by the elevated levels of hormones and extra weight.
Your emotional changes this week
- You might seriously doubt if you are pregnant this week, or if it’s all in your imagination. You still may not have had your first ante-natal appointment so you are relying on your symptoms to convince you. Be patient. Week 8 is as important as any of the others and your baby has developed so much in just 6 weeks since you conceived.
- You could be feeling moody and irritable. It is also normal to have mood swings and not tolerate people or situations as well as you usually do. It can be hard feeling as if you need to explain why you aren’t your usual self to others. This is especially true if you’ve chosen to keep the news of your pregnancy quiet for a while longer.
- You might find yourself thinking about the baby as a little person, what sex it will be and even baby names. Thinking about the impact the baby will have on your life will occupy your quieter moments.
Your baby’s changes this week:
- This week your baby can almost be called a foetus. This particular label will continue for the rest of your pregnancy until after birth, when is finally known as "The Baby" or by its name. Around this time, some couples makeup a nickname for their foetus. Be careful though, it can be very hard to stop using those little terms of endearment once they stick!
- Your baby is around 1 centimetre long this week and it is finally losing its little tail. But it still looks like it is all head, with a big forehead and a little body. Don’t worry though, in the next few weeks it will lengthen and those limbs which look so tiny now will only grow and take more shape.
- This week your baby develops a tip on the end of its nose. Its fingers, toes and lips, eyelids and legs are becoming more clearly defined. Its eyes look to be positioned very far apart and more to the side of their face than where they will eventually be.
- In week 8 the valves in your baby’s heart are present and the passages which will help air flow from their throat to their lungs have formed. There are small definitions on their paddle like feet and hands where their toes and fingers will be.
- This week your baby is making little involuntary movements, though these are so small you won’t be conscious of them. It is still in a C shape, similar to a kidney bean but flickers and jumps around inside your uterus.
- Your baby’s bones are starting to form in week 8 and they can bend their tiny arms at their elbows and wrists.
Hints for the week
- Consider being fitted for a comfortable bra which will support your enlarged breasts. It’s too early for a maternity/feeding bra at this stage, but take the time to be measured by an expert.
- Avoid having marathon days when you keep going from morning to night. Make careful decisions about how much you take on and if possible, rest when you’re feeling tired.
- Consider buying a supportive pregnancy pillow which you can use until you deliver. Long, rectangular pillows can be great for supporting an enlarging tummy and alleviating early pregnancy back pain.
- Do some research into who you want as your maternity care provider through your pregnancy. You have the option of using a midwife based scheme at a public hospital or an obstetrician if you have private health insurance. Speak with friends who’ve had a baby, read what you can and make mutual decisions with your partner to include their wishes.
Week 9 is next!
For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain yourself during exercise. If you feel pain, stop and seek medical attention if necessary.
If you are in week 8 of your pregnancy...
Your baby’s due date: January 18 - January 30, 2022
Baby’s star sign: Aquarius
Chinese year: Ox
Famous people born around your baby's birth date:
- Lewis Carroll
- Virginia Woolf
- Mischa Barton