Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 8

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The baby begins to develop fingers and toes and some tiny facial features as well during pregnancy week 8. The pregnant mother may have food cravings but needs only 300 calories a day extra for one baby. Week 8 is the last week of embryonic stage.

Baby during Pregnancy Week 8

Primitive neural pathways form during week 8 as branching of nerve cells. Spinal cord continues to develop and taste buds also begin forming.

Facial features including eyes, nose and lips begin to develop. Eyebrows start forming and pigment begins to form within the eyes.

Arms and legs get longer during this week, hands fold at wrists and elbows. The body begins to get straightened. The tiny tail disappears. Thin webbing of fingers and toes is gone too.

Heart divides into right and left chambers. It beats at about the rate of 150-160 times per minute. Aortic and pulmonary valves develop. Lungs start growing branches connecting with breathing tubes from baby’s throat.

Stomach is forming by this time, first as a bulge in the tube that develops into digestive system. Intestines are growing as well.

Liver, kidneys and pituitary gland start developing along with bones, cartilage and muscle fibers. The liver takes over the task of producing blood cells from yolk sac.

The baby starts moving during this week but is not felt by the mother.

Pregnancy week 8

Approximately 6 weeks from conception, i.e. 8 weeks from LMP by lunar caustic at Embryo under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Size and Weight

The baby is about 1.6 cm in length, nearly the size of a medium raspberry. The weight is not more than 3 g.

Mother during Pregnancy Week 8

The mother feels changes in her body during this week, particularly abdomen. This stage of pregnancy is associated with the maximum chance of miscarriage. Abdominal pain may occur because growing uterus stretches the ligaments connecting uterus to abdominal wall. Bleeding gums may be a problem in pregnancy. The pregnant woman needs to clean teeth carefully and floss her teeth gently.

Signs and Symptoms

  • All symptoms of early pregnancy and morning sickness are present in eighth week including nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache.
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent urination
  • Breast tenderness
  • Increased appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Food cravings/aversions
  • Excessive hunger and thirst
  • Backache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Joint pains and itchy legs, hands and belly

Feelings

Anxiety and excessive irritability may occur during this week. Emotional instability is common.

Belly

The belly may begin to expand a little, but the pregnant woman does not start showing as yet.

Breasts

Breasts enlarge in size preparing for breast feeding. Breast tenderness and swelling is common. Breasts become sore, fuller, tingly and darker in areola (around nipple). Little glands appear on the areolas (Montgomery’s tubercles).

Uterus

Uterus is about the size of softball by this time about 7-8 cm, nearly twice the size it is normally.

Ultrasound during Pregnancy Week 8

Tip of nose, eyelids and upper lip may be seen on ultrasound. Tiny ears may be visible. The beating heart can be seen as well.

When to consult doctor?

  • Symptoms indicating conditions like ectopic pregnancy, high blood pressure, yeast infection, loss of pregnancy including
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Severe abdominal or lower back pain or  cramping
  • Passing blood clots
  • High grade persistent fever
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Vaginal discharge with or without odd smell, pain while urinating
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Severe headache

Tips and Recommendations for Pregnancy Week 8

  • Schedule an appointment with the doctor for a prenatal visit if not already done
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamin C and folic acid
  • Multiple small meals help fight indigestion
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take lots of rest
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise
  • Always consult your doctor before taking any medications
  • Do not lift heavy weights

Further Reading

Pregnancy Week by Week

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The writer enjoys medical education and has special interest in community medicine.