8 weeks pregnant
How is your baby growing at 8 weeks?
By week 8 of pregnancy the embryo is around 1.5cm long. The brain is growing rapidly during this stage, increasing by about one-third in size in about 3 or 4 days.
The facial features will continue to develop, especially the eyes, upper lip and nose, and the outer part of the baby's ears and the lower jaw will become established.
As the baby's torso starts to straighten, the legs and arms also get longer, and the fingers will begin to form. While you won't be able to see the specific parts of the legs, cartilage will be forming – it will eventually be the bones. Nerves will begin developing in the lower limbs, which by the end of the week will be forming into distinct sections - the thigh, lower leg, and foot.
The baby's internal organs continue to develop, with the intestines being supplied with blood and nerves. The placenta continues to develop but is not fully functioning yet.
How are you changing in week 8?
By now you will have missed your second period, so even if you had light bleeding the previous month that you mistook for a light period, a missed period this week may be the first time you think about the likelihood of being pregnant.
With changes in your hormones, you may notice your hair getting thicker. You may also notice your nipples looking darker and slightly swollen as your breasts begin to change in preparation for lactation. Don't be surprised if you seem to be visiting the toilet more often - your uterus should now be twice its normal size, so it may be putting pressure on your bladder.
What you need to know in week 8
If you have not done so already, you should make an appointment with your GP or midwife. During this first appointment, you will be given advice about dietary supplements such as folic acid and vitamin D, nutrition, diet, and food hygiene. You will also be given advice about lifestyle factors such as not smoking and avoiding all alcohol.
You should discuss with your doctor or midwife your general health, including any long-term conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, or mental health problems. Now is the best time to inform your doctor or midwife if there have been any relatives with a birth defect such as spina bifida or a family history of inherited disease such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia.
If you have been pregnant before, it is important that you discuss with your doctor or midwife any complications you had during a previous pregnancy such as an infection, pre- eclampsia, premature birth, or postnatal depression.
If you are concerned about aspects of your job affecting your baby's health, your employer is legally responsible for making any necessary changes to your work conditions to protect your and your baby's health. This will mean telling your employer that you are pregnant, but this should be kept in confidence.
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