Understanding your pregnancy: Week 8

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 8

A quick snapshot

You still won't look pregnant at 8 weeks but you’ll certainly be feeling it. Pregnancy hormones will be working overtime to help your baby 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 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.

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 in to food cravings if you're having them, no matter how odd they seem. Some women actually crave non-edible foodstuffs like chalk, sand and even mud. Obviously, don’t give in to those cravings.

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 regime to something 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.

What’s changing in your body

  • This week, 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% of women will experience nausea to some degree during the first trimester.
  • Don’t let your blood sugar drop too low. Try not to miss meals, snack between meals and eat foods that are easy to digest but don't force yourself to eat what repels you just because you think it's healthy.
  • You may be more aware of heaviness or a full feeling in your pelvis. It may feel worse after you've eaten a full meal or when you need to pee. 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. It's not quite time to start wearing maternity clothes but you could just be reaching for the elastic waist pants and skirts.
  • You’ll feel more tiredness and will want to lie down and rest. Some days you may not feel as if you've slept at all or for long enough. Afternoon lie downs can be very restorative, so try to plan for a nap 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 now 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.

How your emotions are affected

  • 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 gender it will be and even baby names. Thinking about the impact the baby will have on your life will occupy your quieter moments.

How your baby is growing

First Trimester: Week 88

  • This week your baby can officially be called a foetus.
  • Your baby is around 1cm long and they are finally losing their little tail. But they have a big forehead and a little body.
  • This week your baby develops a tip on the end of their nose. Their fingers, toes and lips, eyelids and legs are becoming more clearly defined. Their eyes look to be positioned very far apart and more to the side of their face than where they will eventually be.
  • 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.
  • Your baby is making little involuntary movements, though these are so small you won't be conscious of them. They are still in a C shape, similar to a kidney bean but flicker and jump around inside your uterus.
  • Your baby's bones are starting to form and they can bend their tiny arms at their elbows and wrists.

Tips for the week

  • Consider being fitted for a comfortable bra that 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 where 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 that you can use until you deliver. Long, rectangular pillows can be great for supporting an enlarging tummy and alleviating early pregnancy back pain.