8 Weeks Pregnant

Jan 28, 2022 | 4 Minute Read

What a big week this is. Only 4 more weeks to go before the end of your first trimester, which somehow, may not seem all that far away. It's still important to be careful about limiting your exposure to any toxins, viruses, or chemicals which could potentially harm your baby as it's forming. You don’t need to live in a bubble, but be aware of risks and focus on staying well and healthy.

How am I looking?

You still won’t look like you’re pregnant when you’re 8 weeks, but you’re certainly feeling pregnant. Pregnancy hormones will be working overtime in supporting your baby to grow and implant even more firmly into your uterine wall. Your breasts are likely to have increased in size and weight, and your waistline is quickly disappearing. You may often feel slightly dizzy or lightheaded and not as decisive as usual. You can put all this down to the normal symptoms of early pregnancy.

What's in the fridge?

This week you are still likely to be feeling sick and turned off by the thought of eating certain foods. Some experts say this is nature's way of protecting the baby from potentially harmful foods. Give into food cravings if you're having them, no matter how odd they seem. Some women crave non-edible foods like chalk, detergent, or soil. Obviously, you don’t want to give into cravings for non-food items.

When you’re 8 weeks pregnant, you could also find your tolerance for exercise isn’t what it usually is. You may find yourself getting winded or just tiring more easily. This may be the time to think about changing your exercise program to something which is less strenuous and lower impact. It's still important to move every day and incorporate some exercise and activity into your daily routine. Women who gain excessive weight in pregnancy can have more difficult births and are at a greater risk for pregnancy complications.

Your physical changes this week

More food size comparisons this week: your uterus resembles the size of a grapefruit or a large orange. Normally it's around the size of a small plum.

Nausea may be your constant companion. It is estimated 70-80 percent of women in the 1st trimester of pregnancy will experience nausea to some degree. Try to avoid your blood sugar dropping too low. Don’t miss meals, snack between meals, and eat foods which are easy to digest. Don’t force yourself to eat what isn’t appealing just because you think it's healthy.

You may be more aware of a heaviness or full feeling in your pelvis this week. You may feel this more after you've eaten a full meal or when you need to pee. There is still no outward sign that you’re pregnant, and your tummy is as flat as it usually is.

You may be aware of your waistline getting a little thicker than usual. It's not quite time to start wearing maternity clothes, but you could be reaching for the elastic waist pants and skirts around week 8 of pregnancy.

You may be more tired and want to lie down and rest this week. Some days you may not feel as if you've slept at all, or for long enough. You may yearn for nighttime to come when you can climb back into bed. Afternoon naps can boost your energy, so try to plan to rest or sleep when you can.

You could become aware of some lower back pain from week 8 onwards. This may be something you've never experienced before your pregnancy. Back pain at this stage is usually a result of pressure from your enlarged uterus on your lower spine. Back pain comes and goes throughout pregnancy and is influenced by the elevated levels of hormones and extra weight.

Your emotional changes this week

You might seriously doubt if you’re pregnant this week, or if it's all in your imagination. You still may not have had your first prenatal appointment, so you’re relying on your symptoms to convince you. Be patient. Week 8 is as important as any of the others and your baby has developed so much in the 6 weeks since you conceived.

You could be feeling moody and irritable. It is also normal to have mood swings and not tolerate people or situations as well as you usually do. It can be hard feeling as if you need to explain why you aren’t your usual self to others. This is especially true if you've chosen to keep the news of your pregnancy quiet for a while longer.

You might find yourself thinking about the baby as a little person, what sex it will be, and even baby names. Thinking about the impact the baby will have on your life will occupy your quieter moments.

Your baby's changes this week:

This week your baby can almost be called a fetus. This label will continue for the rest of your pregnancy until after birth, when it is finally known as "The Baby" or by its name. Around this time, some make up a nickname for their fetus. Be careful though, it can be very hard to stop using those little terms of endearment once they stick!

Your baby is a little less than one-half inch long this week and is finally losing its little tail. But it still looks like it’s all head, with a big forehead and a little body. Don’t worry though, in the next few weeks, it will lengthen, and those limbs which look so tiny now will grow and take more shape.

This week your baby develops a tip on the end of its nose. Its fingers, toes, lips, eyelids, and legs are becoming more clearly defined. Its eyes look to be positioned very far apart and more to the side of the face than where they’ll eventually be.

In week 8, the valves in your baby's heart are present and the passages which will help air flow from their throat to their lungs have formed. There are small definitions on their paddle-like feet and hands where their toes and fingers will be.

This week your baby is making little involuntary movements, though these are so small you won’t be conscious of them. It is still in a C shape, like a kidney bean, but flickers and jumps around inside your uterus.

Your baby's bones are starting to form in week 8, and they can bend their tiny arms at their elbows and wrists.

Hints for the week

Consider being fitted for a comfortable bra which will support your enlarged breasts. It's too early for a maternity bra at this stage but take the time to be measured by an expert.

Avoid having marathon days when you keep going from morning to night. Make careful decisions about how much you take on and if possible, rest when you're feeling tired.

Consider buying a supportive pregnancy pillow which you can use until you deliver. Long, rectangular pillows can be great for supporting an enlarging tummy and alleviating early pregnancy back pain.

Do some research into who you want as your pregnancy care provider through your pregnancy. You may have the option of using a midwife or an obstetrician. Speak with friends who've had a baby, read what you can, and make mutual decisions with your partner to include their wishes. Week 9 is next!

For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.