Your baby is growing…

At 8 weeks pregnant you baby is about half an inch in size, weighs about.04 oz.  At 8 weeks pregnant you are now officially pregnant and by this time you are definitely noticing changes in your body. This article will discuss what you can expect for you and your baby during your eighth week of pregnancy.

Your baby at 8 weeks pregnant

8 weeks pregnantAt 8 weeks of pregnancy your baby is about half an inch in size, weighs about.04 oz , is about the size of a raspberry and is growing at a rate of about 1 mm. per day. The amniotic fluid in your womb increases by about two tablespoons per week. Your baby is now able to move, shift and “swim” about in the amniotic fluid, although you might not be able to feel this moment for another few weeks.  Your baby is able to absorb oxygen, protein, sugar and fat necessary for cell development through the placental wall.

Tiny fingers and toes are now formed, but are still webbed at this point. Your baby’s head is now more rounded and erect and his/her trunk is beginning to straighten and elongate. The eyes and eyelids are now visible and the retina is now fully pigmented. The external ear is now completely formed and your baby now has a visible upper lip and nose. Taste buds are now formed as the palate bone has fused.

Your baby’s heart is beating at 160 beats per minute and the lungs are continuing to develop as the breathing tube now extends from the throat to the lungs. The nerve cells in the brain are now starting to branch out and connect to from neutral pathways.  The intestines have begun  to move toward the body from the umbilical cord. Your baby’s bones are beginning to harden as the elbow, wrists joints and other bones are beginning to take shape.

Your body at 8 weeks pregnant

Weeks pregnantIf you are noticing that your clothes are starting to feel a bit tighter in the tummy range, it has to do with the fact that your uterus, normally the size of a fist, is now roughly the size of an orange. This is what is causing you to make more frequent trips to the bathroom and will be a normal part of your pregnancy right up until the very end.

Your breasts are more tender and starting to feel larger and heavier as they are starting milk production. You will need to purchase more supportive maternity bras and definitely stay away from bras with underwire. By this time you may have even gone up a full cup size. They will feel more sensitive during this time and you may notice varicose veins start to develop on or around your breasts due to the increase in blood supply. The areola will dark and montgomery tubercles will start to form as your nipples grow larger. You may start to experience some thick yellowish discharge from the colostrum. This is normal during early pregnancy and no reason to be alarmed.

As your baby is now requiring more and more support from your body for survival, your blood volume is increasing so your heart is now pumping fifty percent more blood per minute than it did just eight weeks ago.

Other symptoms you may be experiencing at this time include

  • morning sickness: a lot of women state that week eight is the height of their morning sickness
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • heightened sense of smell (will trigger nausea)
  • early pregnancy cramps as your uterus is expanding
  • constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn
  • bizarre “pregnancy dreams”
  • excessive saliva
  • food cravings and/or aversions
  • increase in vaginal discharge
  • mild pelvic cramping
  • moodiness

Taking precautions

As your baby is growing and developing you are going to need to be extra careful and take the necessary precautions to protect the health of both you and your baby. This includes a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats, seafood  low in mercury and dairy. You need to avoid soft cheeses, under cooked and raw meat and seafood, fish that are high in mercury, processed meats (such as lunch meats) and unpasteurized foods. Alcohol, smoking, recreational drug use and caffeine should be completely avoided at all costs.

You should also avoid cleaning the litter box, or animal or bird cages and fish tanks to avoid contaminations that can be harmful to your pregnancy. You should also avoid activities that can cause you to sip and fall or put pressure on your belly. It is a very good idea to avoid saunas and hot tubs as they carry a high risk of infections and avoid exposure to chemicals, paint fumes, cleaning products and solvents.

Exercise and supplements

Light to moderate exercise is both allowed and encouraged, as this will help prepare you for the actual childbirth process. You should definitely avoid extreme and contact sports and activities such as skiing, surfing, biking and other high impact activities. Low to moderate aerobic activities such as yoga, swimming, water aerobic, pilates and walking are highly encouraged. Discuss your exercise routine with your doctor as well as any prescription, over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking. Your doctor will prescribe the right dosage of supplements such as iron, prenatal vitamins and folic acid that you should be taking during your pregnancy.

It’s time to make an appointment

By this time  you should have already had your first prenatal appointment, or at least you should be prepared to go. Most women have their first visit between six and twelve weeks. You will want to fully discuss your medical history including any illnesses, hospitalizations, surgical procedures, STD’s, mental illness,  history of abortion or miscarriage, etc with your physician.

Your doctor will ask for your partner’s medical history and a detailed medical history of both families.  You will receive a full medical exam, pap smear, blood and urine tests, ultrasound and  pelvic exam. Your doctor will discuss any additional testing that may be necessary if there is any history of genetic diseases or he feels that you may be a higher risk pregnancy. It is important that you discuss any and all issues with your doctor and keep all of your scheduled appointments. You need to contact your doctor immediately if you start to experience any extreme or unusual symptoms during your pregnancy.

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