Your pregnancy: 8 weeks

It may be hard to believe, but your developing baby's organs, such as her heart and liver, are already in place inside her tiny body.

Felt swedish berry used to show how big baby is at 8 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at week 8


Your baby is about the size of a swedish berry now and bean shaped. And as that little bean grows longer this week (the end of the embryonic period), it will begin to straighten out. Biology and the awesome superpowers of a pregnant woman’s body are pretty crazy: Your baby has grown from a single cell to nearly one billion cells. By the time you’re eight weeks pregnant, your baby’s outer and inner ears are developing and her eyelids are forming over her eyes as the tip of her nose, her fingers and her toes take on a much more distinct shape. It may be hard to believe, but her teeny-tiny heart and liver, as well as other major organs, are already in place, too.

8 weeks pregnant symptoms

Morning sickness
Maybe you didn’t feel truly pregnant for the first few weeks after that positive pregnancy test. It’s kind of hard to believe, especially if you haven’t seen your developing baby on an ultrasound scan or heard her heartbeat yet. But if you weren’t feeling queasy before, week 8 of pregnancy might be when morning sickness, which is caused by surging pregnancy hormones, will really kick in. (Sh*t’s getting real—sorry!) About 70 to 80 percent of women experience morning sickness during the first trimester and 50 percent experience vomiting (and, yes, it’s an unfortunate misnomer because some women suffer from it all day long and even at night). While recent studies have concluded that there’s no medical evidence that eating small meals and snacks throughout the day helps, many women swear by it. Other strategies to try include not taking your prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach or taking it at bedtime instead of in the morning. If this giant, all-in-one horse pill makes you gag, ask your doctor about taking a folic-acid-only supplement temporarily, and be sure to check out our five tips for coping with morning sickness here. If you’re really struggling to keep anything down, talk to your doctor about safe prescription options and the latest research.

Between nausea and pregnancy fatigue, it’s definitely a tough trimester. To keep your spirits up, remember that you’ve already got eight weeks under your belt (literally!) and that there’s actually an upside to morning sickness. There are also lots of longer-term health benefits and perks for women who’ve been pregnant. Science says so!

What’s on your mind this week

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Eight weeks pregnant is a tricky point. If you’re waiting for the traditional 12 weeks to share your news (not everyone does!), it’s still too early to tell everyone why you’re feeling icky. Try to think of it as a special secret that you’re sharing with only a few people: your partner, your mom and your best friend. You may want to wait until your first ultrasound to make a pregnancy announcement, the timing of which can vary depending on your healthcare provider and medical history. (Some doctors might send you for a dating ultrasound as early as week 6 to confirm or adjust your due date, while others might wait until you’re 12 weeks along for the first ultrasound.) Once you announce that you’re expecting and once your bump shows, you’ll be getting a lot of attention (from colleagues and strangers alike!) and fielding questions daily, so enjoy the relative peace and quiet while you can. For more pros and cons about sharing the news early versus keeping it under wraps, read this.

Miscarriage myths
It’s common during the early weeks of pregnancy to have nagging concerns about miscarriage, as well as misunderstandings about what causes miscarriage. Doing moderate exercise, having sex, dancing, eating junk food and moving heavy furniture will not cause miscarriage. So what does? It’s hard to know. Sometimes miscarriage is nature’s way of ending a pregnancy that isn’t going well for any number of reasons, such as chromosomal abnormalities or existing maternal health problems (like thyroid disease or hormonal issues). In fact, an estimated one in four confirmed pregnancies ends in miscarriage—it’s a lot more common than you think, even though many women don’t talk openly about it. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Usually, the first sign of miscarriage is bleeding (as if your period is starting), which may be followed by cramps. If you experience any bleeding, call your doctor immediately. Keep in mind that some worrisome symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you’re going to miscarry and there is no way to prevent miscarriage. Many women assume that it was caused by something they did the day before they started bleeding, but an actual miscarriage usually occurs a number of days before heavier bleeding starts. It’s a very tough topic, but if you’re going through this, it’s important to seek support.

Just for kicks

You probably don’t know if you’re having a boy or a girl yet (most women don’t find this out until the 18- to 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound), but you can try out this Chinese gender predictor calculator. There’s a 50 percent chance it’s accurate, right?

Baby names

It’s never too early to start familiarizing yourself with the latest baby naming trends. (Do you want to avoid the most popular names or join the pack?) Here are the most popular baby names for the last hundred years. 

Popular names

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 8

If you haven’t decided on your healthcare provider yet, now is the time to do your research, complete any intake forms that are needed and talk it through with your partner. Know that you can “double date” for a few weeks while you’re having your first OB-GYN appointment, as well as an initial midwife appointment. Meet them both, check out their offices and see which approach and type of care makes you feel most comfortable.

For all of you planners out there, here’s a rough trimester-by-trimester overview of the appointments and ultrasounds you’ll have. Share this with your partner or support person so that you both know what to expect from week to week.  

Read more:
CMV: This virus is more common than Zika, but no one talks about it
Natural cures for common pregnancy symptoms
Next up: 9 weeks pregnant

 

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