The eighth week of your pregnancy will usually be the first time you hear your baby’s heart beating, but it’s also the start of a lot of changes to your body.
How big is the Baby?
At this stage of the pregnancy, your baby will be around 0.6 inches in size, and will weigh under 0.05 ounces. That’s around the size of your average raspberry, although the weight and size might vary very slightly. At this size, you’ll be much more likely to hear it’s heartbeat with an ultrasound, but it’s still far too small to make any major impact on the way your body looks.
How Has The Baby Developed?
Eight weeks is more than enough time for your baby to develop into a recognizable shape, meaning that it’ll start to look like an actual human – the tadpole tail is completely gone, and you’ll be able to make out hands, fingers, toes (although they’ll be webbed for now) and the beginnings of their facial structure. In particular, the eyelids, nose, and lips are the most visible parts of its face now.
You’ll be able to pick up a heartbeat on the ultrasound checks now, beating at roughly twice the rate that yours will be (between 170 and 150 beats per minute). This is fast, but don’t worry: it’s normal. However, despite all these changes, you won’t be able to tell the baby’s sex quite yet, and there won’t be any developing sex organs that can help you identify them. If you aren’t getting a NIPT test in the next two or three weeks, you’ll have to wait until you’re around 20 weeks in before you can figure out its sex.
This is also the point where you’ll be able to find out if you’re having twins or triplets, since the heartbeats will be picked up separately. While it’s possible to find out earlier if you’re getting constant checks, most people will only find out around the eighth week of their pregnancy.
How Will My Body Change?
Most of the side-effects from previous stages of your pregnancy will still apply here, but there’s always a chance that new changes will occur as your baby keeps developing. For example:
- Morning sickness can still be recurring problems, and 8 weeks is usually the time that most women will encounter it at its full strength. This is entirely due to the extra hormones in your body, so it’s not like regular nausea – the best way to deal with it is to take things slowly and make sure there’s a bathroom nearby, just in case.
- Your sense of smell will get better. Like the food aversions that you might have had previously, this can make things that you normally enjoy much less pleasant, and might turn you off from particular scents, perfumes or food tastes. On the other hand, this can also make it easier to rely on subtle smells, since a simple flower will smell much clearer. The specific of this will change from person to person, so try to experiment and find out what might be causing you discomfort.
- Cramps are much more likely at this point, since your body is undergoing changes as part of the pregnancy. The most notable cause is the expansion of your uterus, which can cause certain muscles to stretch and feel cramped if you’re unlucky. As with normal cramps, you can try to deal with them by stretching, massaging the sore areas or taking a warm bath – just be ready to visit a doctor if it’s not going away.
- These cramps can also be caused by constipation, another issue that’s sometimes caused by pregnancy hormones. You can use many of the usual fixes, such as a higher amount of fiber in your diet or more regular hydration, but certain medication-based treatments might be dangerous to use while pregnant.
- There’s also a chance that you can also develop constipation or gas-related problems, which can feel like cramps even if they’re not actually affecting your muscles. These are much more minor, but you might still have to get medically checked if they’re not going away easily.
- Acne can also turn up in random breakouts, which are usually caused by changes in your hormones thanks to the pregnancy. Unfortunately, due to the way that pregnancy affects your body, you won’t be able to use most of the standard treatments and creams that are meant to deal with acne, and you’ll want to get your doctor’s approval before you use any. You might also notice naturally-clogged pores, thanks to the extra sebum oil being made by your skin.
- Many pregnant women will notice their mucus plug at some point. It’s part of an entirely natural process: your cervix contains some mucus that’ll form a protective plug to block bacteria. The dilation caused by your pregnancy will open up your cervix slowly, which can cause the plug to drop out at some point. It’s not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable if it happens at an awkward time.
- Like with earlier stages of the pregnancy, spotting will still happen. A few drops of blood is nothing to worry about, but make sure you contact a doctor if it becomes a more serious case of bleeding. You might not even notice it’s happening, and many women only see a tiny amount of blood in their underwear occasionally. It might even only happen once or twice during your entire pregnancy, so don’t worry about it too much unless it’s clearly something more than just normal spotting.
- Strange dreams are also likely to continue. It’s impossible to predict what it’ll be, since it’s specific to each pregnant woman, but it’s rarely a sign of anything bad. Some people might want to look up these dreams for hidden meanings, but they’re usually just caused by emotional changes or mood swings.
- It’s also sometimes possible that you’ll show no symptoms at all. It’s not that common, but you’re lucky if it happens, since it makes a large part of your pregnancy much easier to get through. Just be prepared ahead of time, since you never know when you’ll suddenly have to deal with one of these problems at a later stage of the pregnancy.
What will life be like?
The 8-week milestone will feel quite similar to 6 weeks, but you’ll need to make sure you’re taking better care of yourself in your day-to-day routine. As your baby gets larger, it’ll sap more of your energy, so keeping yourself well-rested and healthy is extremely important.
Remember that hormones play a large part in every pregnancy, and they can also alter your emotional and mental states in certain situations. This means that you’ll probably be feeling a lot of different things by this point in your pregnancy, and mood swings are incredibly common. You never know when your mood can change, and you can’t rely on any special treatments to correct it. Relaxing and letting your body naturally balance its emotions makes a huge difference.
You’ll also find yourself drained of energy much faster, especially during days where you can’t just relax and follow your own schedule. Napping is a great way to restore energy, but if you can’t, then it’s a good idea to sleep early instead. Take whatever chance you can get to get some extra rest – it’s important to the health of both you and your future baby.
You probably still won’t show any signs of obvious pregnancy, but now that you’re suffering from some major exhaustion and a list of other potential side-effects, you’ll need to try and follow your body’s schedule. Make sure that you avoid strenuous activities or stressful events, and avoid drinking alcohol under any circumstances. These might seem like big changes depending on your normal lifestyle, but it’s not going to be for long – just until the pregnancy is over.
Your pregnant belly isn’t going to look very large, especially if you already have a decent amount of body fat, but you’ll still want to keep your clothing comfortable and loose. You’ll need to wear baggier clothes further through the pregnancy anyway, so get some new outfits prepared just in case – 8 weeks pregnant can sometimes be the tipping point between an invisible or visible pregnancy.