8 Weeks Pregnant: Pregnancy Symptoms & Baby Development
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8 weeks pregnant is how many months?
Month 2 (Trimester 1)
Baby development at 8 weeks
What does my baby look like? And, what size is my baby?
By the time you’re 8 weeks pregnant, your baby is roughly 1.6cm long1. At this stage, their newly formed jawbone gives more definition to their tiny mouth, and the tip of their nose is now visible, featuring two distinct nostrils2.
Internally, cartilage is being replaced by bone cells and joints2, and their legs are growing longer, although it’s too early to see knees and upper or lower legs yet3.
At 8 weeks, your baby is medically called a foetus, which is Latin for young one or offspring.
Incredibly, they are already starting to make small, jerky movements as their muscles begin to function. It will be several weeks before these are strong enough for you to notice2.
Brighter futures start here
Discover more about infant development to help shape your baby's future
Pregnancy at 8 weeks (first trimester)
At 8 weeks pregnant, you may start to notice the first signs of your pregnancy bump showing, but this isn’t the case for everyone. At this stage your womb is still within the pelvis and below the pubic bone, so you can’t feel it when pressing your tummy. However if you have had a baby before, your tummy may look pregnant even at this stage as the muscles and ligaments have been stretched before.
Pregnancy symptoms at 8 weeks3
Early pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person. At 8 weeks, you may experience any of the following signs of pregnancy, or no symptoms at all:
Your breasts may become larger and feel sore. You may also find your nipples stick out more than usual and darken in colour as your body begins to prepare for breastfeeding.
Tiredness and fatigue
During the first 12 weeks, hormonal and physical changes can leave you feeling tired or exhausted.
Nausea and vomiting
Morning sickness affects up to 80% of mums-to-be in the first trimester4. It can strike at any time of the day or night and varies from mild nausea to sickness throughout the day.
Bloating and gas
The pregnancy hormone progesterone slows down your digestion which can lead to bloating and constipation as well as excess gas5.
Cramping or bleeding
Light cramping and spotting are common in the early stages of pregnancy6,7. If the pain becomes severe (stronger than period cramps) or if bleeding becomes heavy, you should talk to your GP.
Frequent trips to the bathroom are one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, as your growing uterus begins to put pressure on your bladder and your circulating blood volume increases.
Pregnancy hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, soar during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy8, affecting how you’re feeling emotionally. Get plenty of rest and light exercise to keep you feeling yourself.
Morning sickness affects two out of three pregnant women during early pregnancy. It can occur at any time, day or night and is usually at its worst around week 8. By 16 to 209 weeks most mums are relieved to feel the symptoms fade.
Some mums-to-be experience morning sickness beyond the first trimester, and queasiness may come and go throughout pregnancy.
It’s worth remembering that nausea is usually a sign of a healthy pregnancy.
Try these suggestions to ease your symptoms9:
Get a good night’s sleep and plenty of rest during the day.
Eat a dry cracker, toast or plain biscuit before getting out of bed.
Eat little and often to keep something in your stomach.
Drink plenty of fluids.
If drinking is proving difficult, ice lollies, ice cubes or simply sips of whatever you can stomach will keep you hydrated.
Include ginger in your diet, either as a freshly infused tea or non-alcoholic ginger beer.
Try motion sickness bands. They are worn on the wrist and positioned to press on an acupuncture point.
Some women find acupuncture helpful.
If you are taking anti-sickness medication, take the first dose 30miniutes before you get out of bed in the morning.
Bear in mind that your body may respond differently on different days. Keep experimenting and if you’re concerned that you’re not eating or drinking enough because of your nausea, let your midwife or GP know.
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Zinc supports the body on a cellular level, playing a role in constructing, dividing and protecting cells, as well as normal immune function and vision. It also contributes to normal cognitive development, reproduction, fertility and bone health10. A healthy, balanced diet is likely to provide all the zinc you need11. While most prenatal multivitamins contain high levels of zinc, it’s wise to eat food sources too. The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of zinc for women of childbearing age is 7mg per day12.
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight, and varies a great deal from mother to mother. Most women gain between 10kg and 12.5kg (22–28lb) while pregnant, some of which is the weight of the growing baby13. Learn everything you need to know about weight gain in pregnancy.
If you haven’t been to see your GP yet, you should make an appointment so they can start planning your antenatal care, including your first ultrasound scan.
Dr Shazia Malik
1. Papaioannou GI et al. Normal ranges of embryonic length, embryonic heart rate, gestational sac diameter and yolk sac diameter at 6-10 weeks. Fetal Diagn Ther 2010;28(4):207-19.
2. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 32.
3. NHS UK. You and your baby at 0-8 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2018. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/8-weeks-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018. Next review due: 17 July 2021.
4. NCIB. Noel M. Lee, M.D., Gastroenterology Fellow and Sumona Saha, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine; Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. 2011. Pub. 2013. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/
5. NHS UK. Week 9 – Your first trimester. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/1st-trimester/week-nine/
6. NHS UK. Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-bleeding-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 26 January 2018. Next review due: 26 January 2021
7. NHS UK. Stomach pain in pregnancy [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/stomach-pain-abdominal-cramp-pregnant/ Page last reviewed: 1 May 2018. Next review due: 1 May 2021.
8. NCIB. Claudio N. Soares and Brook Zitek; Reproductive hormone sensitivity and risk for depression across the female life cycle: A continuum of vulnerability? Pub. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2008 Jul; 33(4): 331–343 [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440795/
9. NHS UK. Nausea and morning sickness [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/morning-sickness-nausea.aspx Page last reviewed: 5 March 2018. Next review due: 5 March 2021.
10. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health Text with EEA relevance. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.
11. NHS UK. Vitamins and minerals – others [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-minerals/pages/other-vitamins-minerals.aspx#zinc Page last reviewed: 3 March 2017. Next review due: 3 March 2020
12. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
13. NHS choices. How much weight will I put on during my pregnancy? [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2311.aspx?CategoryID=54 Page last reviewed: 18 October 2018. Next review due: 18 October 2021.
Last reviewed: 27th July 2021
Reviewed by: Dr Shazia Malik
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