Mother and Baby

8 weeks pregnant: Symptoms, belly and advice

Section: Week by Week
8 weeks pregnant

 

 Medically reviewed by Dr Helena Watson on 6th June 2020

 

At 8 weeks pregnant, you're around two months pregnant. Your baby is growing and growing and there's plenty going on inside your belly. This week, they'll even get their eye colour!

In this article: 

Here’s everything you can expect from symptoms, changes to your body and baby in your eighth week of pregnancy.

How big is my baby at eight weeks pregnant?

Midwife Kate Bennett says: "At 8 weeks your baby is about 1.6cm long from head to bottom - the size of a raspberry - and weights about 1g."

Baby size of a raspberry

8 week pregnancy symptoms  

Kate says that at around 8 weeks pregnant you might start noticing the first symptoms of pregnancy.

"Due to the surges of hormones, you may experience sore breasts, bloating to your belly and fatigue, which can also take you on an emotional rollercoaster and leave you feeling anxious, made worse by the fact that you don’t want to tell anyone just yet. You may experience uterine cramping which is totally normal, the ligaments in your belly are stretching as your uterus expands, ready for your bump.

"Around 50 per cent of women experience constipation in pregnancy, drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fibre rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can help"

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1) Morning sickness

Morning sickness is extremely common in pregnancy, but sometimes you can experience these symptoms all day! Although we’re not exactly sure what causes that queasy feeling, it’s thought to be down to those pregnancy hormones you’re learning to live with.

Remember to try and eat little and often, and rest assured even if you are being sick, your baby feels just fine.

Also, it does tend to ease off around weeks 12-14, so not too long to go! That said, if you’re in the unlucky 1% of women who suffer from extreme vomiting and sickness, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (the condition Kate Middleton suffered within both her pregnancies) it’s not something to ignore.

If you’re unable to eat or drink anything, your lips and mouth are dry and your urine is dark, contact your GP immediately.
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2) Fatigue

Yep, it’s been on this list for the past few weeks, but it’s still a super common symptom. Remember, to cut your body some slack and listen to it – after all, it is growing a baby!
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3) Discharge

Another one caused by the pregnancy hormone estrogen, this white milky discharge (medically referred to as leukorrhea) protects that important part of your body from infection, by maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria, so don’t worry about it.
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4) Bloating, gas and constipation

You might begin to feel changes in your tummy at this stage, with many women experiencing bloating, gas and the dreaded constipation. To help your food digest quicker, make sure you're eating plenty of fibre and be sure to relax when you eat. 
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5) Cravings 

You'll have probably heard of the different food cravings women can experience during pregnancy, but if you're finding you're craving strange substances such as clay, this could be a sign of iron deficiency and you should speak to your GP. 

What’s my baby doing?

Woman holding bump

Your little embryo has made a lot of progress during the last week, growing at a rate of 1mm per day. There’s definitely been a growth spurt in your baby’s arms and legs and there’s now more definition where the knees, elbows, wrists, and ankle will be.

"Your baby's arms will be longer than their legs because their head and upper body is growing faster than the rest of them," says Kate Bennett, "the external parts of their ears are also forming."

Kate also added: "your placenta is getting ready to start looking after your baby; forming ‘chorionic villi’ or little branches which help it attach to the wall of the womb, to enable your blood supply can feed your baby over the coming months, as well as taking away any waste products."

On a cuter note, your little baby now has a little upper lip, a nose and tiny eyelids too, so they are looking a lot more baby-like this week. Their legs are getting longer this week and their tiny fingers and toes are also starting to form. 

What's happening in my body?

At 8 weeks pregnant, your blood volume increases by almost 50 per cent, as it's pumped around your body, particularly to your womb. Your heart rate might also be slightly raised.  The increased blood volume, mixed with those pregnancy hormones can cause headaches, so remember to stay hydrated and rest when you can.

A hormone called progesterone helps this process by relaxing the tissues in the heart and blood vessels, which helps keep your blood pressure down. 

It's also very normal to feel constipated, as your digestive system relaxes, which could lead to piles. If you're suffering, it's important to talk to your doctor about any health problems you have. 

Your uterus has also grown by now, and your bump might show a little when your belly is bloated. If your clothes are feeling a little tight around the tummy, it’s because your uterus, which is normally about the size of your fist, has stretched to the size of a grapefruit.

You should spend some time in the fruit aisle. We already know fruit is a good thing but it’s your best friend now you’re growing a baby. With all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs, it also helps keep you regular.

What to do this week...

Mum holding bump

  • Invest in a supportive bra: your boobs are going to feel a lot heavier from now on, so invest in a well-fitted bra that will support you properly. 
  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important, especially if you don't fancy eating. Try adding a bit of lemon or mint flavouring to your water, or try sparkling water.
  • Take a trip to the supermarket: Find out more about eating away your pregnancy aches and pains and stock up on all the healthy foods you need for pregnancy plus any prenatal vitamins to give yourself a healthy start to your pregnancy journey.
  • Start doing your squats. Another example of something we know we should be doing anyway but not only do squats help tone your thighs, but they can also help during labour! What are you waiting for?
  • 8-week ultrasound - if you experience any bleeding or if you've previously had a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, you may be offered an early pregnancy scan at 8 weeks ahead of the usual first scan at 12 weeks. Alternatively, if you feel like something isn't quite right and it's causing anxiety, you can request one. You can find out more about 8-week scans here. 

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  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!