Your 8th Week

You’re probably beginning to feel different, even though you don’t look pregnant. You may feel a bit low and irritable at times; this is largely due to the changing levels of hormones in your body. You may sometimes have mixed feelings about being pregnant, however much you long for a baby. If the idea of going on vacation appeals to you, opt for short trips and a safe climate, and take extra care of yourself.


Your mood may swing from high to low as hormones and emotions take hold

Embryo at 8 weeks

You are 7 Weeks and 1 Day 230 days to go…

As your body begins to change shape, you may begin to worry about gaining too much weight.

Your baby today

The fronds that will form the early placenta can be clearly seen on the right here. At the bottom and separate from the embryo is the yolk sac, which is becoming ever smaller as its role is taken over by the placenta.

You’re supposed to put on weight during pregnancy and while this is not a time to overeat, neither is it a time for fad or restrictive diets. By eating sensibly and exercising moderately, you should gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy.

How much weight you should gain depends on your starting weight. If you are underweight when you become pregnant, you should put on more weight than someone who’s overweight. This starting weight is calculated by working out your BMI, which is a measure of weight in relation to height. It’s a useful tool to figure out approximately how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.

If your BMI falls within the normal range, then your recommended pregnancy weight gain is 25–35 lb (11–14.5 kg). If your BMI is in the underweight category, you should gain 28–40 lb (12.5–18 kg). If you’re overweight, your pregnancy weight gain should be 15–25 lb (7–11 kg). Women in the obese category should gain at least 15 lb (7 kg). Women carrying twins should plan to gain about 35–45 lb (16–20 kg).

As a rough guide, an ideal weight gain is no more than 5 lb (2.2 kg) in the first trimester; no more than 12–19 lb (5.5–9 kg) in the second trimester; and no more than 8–11 lb (3.5–5 kg) in the third trimester. Remember not all of this weight gain is fat (see How much weight will you gain?).

How much weight will you gain?

Over the 40 weeks of pregnancy, you are likely to gain very little weight in the first trimester and then experience a steady weight gain of around 11/2–2 lb a week. In the final few weeks of pregnancy, it’s normal to gain a few more pounds. Remember that all figures given are averages and the amount you gain will depend on many individual factors; where weight is gained can also differ from woman to woman. Always consult your doctor if you’re concerned about any aspect of your weight gain or diet.

Weight gain chart

The weight you’ll gain during pregnancy is a combination of your baby and her support system, the increased size of your breasts and uterus, essential fat reserves, and additional bodily fluids and blood.

You are 7 Weeks and 2 Days 229 days to go…

Although your baby’s brain is still very simply formed, it’s undergoing some remarkable changes.

Your baby today

Your baby won’t look recognizably human yet, but the lower lip and jaw are formed; the upper lip is not yet complete, and the mouth appears very wide. The external ears are developing low down at the jaw line and the eyes are wide apart.

This is a really important stage of development for your baby. At this time, her brain is a hollow structure, which is joined to the spinal cord, but it’s now starting to fold and form five distinct areas.

The lowest part, or hindbrain, is the first part to grow rapidly and will become structures known as the pons, medulla, and cerebellum. These structures are the most primitive areas of the brain and determine many basic actions that we do without conscious effort, such as breathing and keeping our balance.

Above this is the midbrain that conveys signals from the hindbrain, peripheral nerves, and spinal cord to the forebrain. This part of the brain consists of the thalamus—involved with emotions and sensory perception—and the two cerebral hemispheres, both quite smooth at this point. Each hemisphere contains a fluid-filled chamber and within that the cerebrospinal fluid is produced.

At the 11–14 week scan (see You are 11 Weeks and 2 Days), brain development checkups will be done to confirm that the baby has normal early cerebral development.

The dots that will form the eyes are clearly visible now. At the side of the head, the deep cleft can be seen between the front and back of the brain; this is normal at this stage.

Fish really is brain food!

Research found that six-month-olds whose mothers had consumed high amounts of fish during pregnancy scored better in mental development tests. But only varieties low in mercury should be eaten (see Know your fish).

… Doctor
Q: I’m eight weeks pregnant and have had some bleeding. Should I be concerned?
A: Bleeding in early pregnancy is common. If the bleeding is light, and not accompanied by abdominal cramping or pain, then it’s unlikely that there is anything wrong. However, always consult your doctor if you have bleeding at any stage of pregnancy to rule out any complications.

Bleeding in early pregnancy can sometimes be due to a cervical ectropian, which is when the surface of the cervix becomes “raw.” This results from hormonal changes and is not harmful to the baby. Sexual intercourse can aggravate a cervical ectropian, causing bleeding.

Bleeding in early pregnancy can sometimes be due to a cervical ectropian, which is when the surface of the cervix becomes “raw.” This results from hormonal changes and is not harmful to the baby. Sexual intercourse can aggravate a cervical ectropian, causing bleeding.

Bleeding in late pregnancy may be more serious since it can be due to the placenta partially, or totally, detaching from the wall of the uterus, known as placental abruption, or to a low-lying placenta. If you have a mucus discharge tinged with blood in late pregnancy, this may be a “bloody show” .

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