8 Weeks Pregnant
Pregnancy Week 8 & Stage of Fetal Development

This is the beginning of pregnancy week 8. At the end of this week, you will be a complete 8 weeks pregnant (see pregnancy chart).

Wow, two months pregnant already! And many of you likely only just found out. And all of you are probably still getting used to the idea that a new life is developing inside you.

If you haven't already, it's time to make your first prenatal visit. Many practitioners want to see you for the first time between 8 and 12 weeks pregnant, the earlier the better, just to make sure that everything is going well with your pregnancy and baby.

Have you thought about the type of prenatal care you prefer? There are many more choices now than there were a few years ago. Will you see a doctor (OB/GYN) or a midwife? How about a doula (pregnancy and labor coach)?

What happens at 8 weeks pregnant

Nope, you're probably still not showing yet during pregnancy week 8, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Though your belly may look rounder and your clothes fit a little tighter, it's most likely due to bowel distention rather than uterine growth.

What does bowel distention mean? Well, distention means enlarged or swollen from internal pressure. What is happening is during pregnancy the movement of your bowels slows down or becomes sluggish due to higher levels of hormones such as progesterone and relaxin. So more 'stuff' (food, gas, water, fecal matter) stays in your intestines longer than normal causing it to be distended. You get a little pouch around the 8th week of pregnancy and for some as early as 4 weeks pregnant (which is 2 weeks after conception).

This is also a likely cause for constipation, heartburn and indigestion that many women get during pregnancy (besides taking iron supplements which cause constipation in many pregnant women).

Your hormone levels are increasing, including progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin. And the corpus luteum is still producing most of these hormones until the placenta is mature enough to take over production.

Blood volume is increasing. You may be experiencing occasional dizzy or faint spells, especially if you stand up quickly or stand for long periods of time, as your heart tries to keep up. This is another cause of exhaustion and you may eventually have trouble going up a flight of stairs without being winded.

Your uterus is about the size of small orange now, and still is behind the pubic bone putting pressure on your bladder causing frequent urination.

Your kidneys are working over-time to filter the increase in blood in your body eliminating the waste products from you and your baby. Also causing extra urine.

Your liver is very busy breaking down proteins and fatty acids (which will be used to make hormones) and filtering toxins from the blood.

What you can do at 8 weeks pregnant

To help with bowel distention and constipation, it's good to drink lots of water (at least 8 cups per day) and eat lots of fiber rich foods to help get things moving along and ease some of the discomfort of gas and bloating.

High fiber foods include beans and lentils, fruits, such as berries and apples and pears with skins, vegetables such as artichoke, peas, and broccoli and whole grains.

In other words, if you eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods, and drink lots of water, AND stop (or cut back) eating low fiber foods like fruit juices, cakes, white bread and pasta, white rice, prepackaged and processed foods, you should be fine.

Also, eating a well-balanced diet will help keep you from gaining too much weight. It's OK to eat low fiber foods infrequently, just try not to overindulge when you do.

Fetal Development at 8 weeks pregnant
Fetal age: 6 weeks

In week 8, your baby will be about ¼ inch (2cm) long from crown to rump (head to bottom).

He is growing and changing rapidly.  This week, he looks a little more human and less shrimp-like as his body begins to straighten out a bit.

The arms continue to grow and his elbows are now formed. Fingers are starting to form, a little ahead of the toes at this time.

The aortic and pulmonary valves have formed inside of his heart. Eye creases are forming, which will form the eyelids, as the retina in his eyes are forming. Lungs are branching out as they continue to develop.

You are now 8 weeks pregnant. Only 7 months (32 weeks) to go!!

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