If you’re eight weeks pregnant, congratulations! You’re well on your way towards the end of the first trimester.
Things are moving fast, so you probably want to know what to expect to better prepare for the coming weeks when it will rev up even more.
Here’s everything to expect once you hit eight weeks pregnant, some tips for managing symptoms and preparing for the future, and general information to help you make the most of this exciting time.
Symptoms at Eight Weeks
You’re now nearing the end of your first trimester, so you’re still early in the process.
With that said, you’ll start noticing more symptoms of childbearing as you get nearer and nearer your due date.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms.
Morning sickness is one of the most frustrating signs of pregnancy that you’re likely to start experiencing.
Despite its name, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day or night.
Morning sickness is most common during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are the most common signs, especially when triggered by foul odors, certain foods, or heat.
Morning sickness isn’t very fun, but the good news is that it starts to get better as you move further into the second trimester.
Your doctor can prescribe you medications to cope with the symptoms, but they’ll also likely direct you to continue to drink lots of fluids and electrolytes to lessen the risk of dehydration.
If you experience severe symptoms, cannot keep down liquids, or feel dizzy upon standing, you’ll want to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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Sore, Tender Breasts
Breast pain is common during pregnancy and is one of the earliest symptoms you’re likely to experience.
This symptom occurs because hormone levels increase in the pregnant body, increasing blood flow and fluid retention.
The hormone increase can make the breasts feel tender and sensitive to the touch.
While this can be uncomfortable, it’s a good sign, as it means the breast changes are preparing for the arrival of the little one. If pain is severe or you start noticing discharge, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll likely start having trouble sleeping.
Sleep disturbances are mostly a secondary symptom of the general discomfort you might feel as a direct result of the pregnancy.
You might notice that you wake up more often in the middle of the night due to needing to frequent urination, heartburn, or nausea.
You might also have trouble falling asleep, which could be due to stress, general physical discomfort, or nausea.
Some pregnant individuals also notice that they are sleepier during the day due to disturbed sleep, affecting their mood and behavior.
Setting up the right sleeping environment can be a game-changer in getting enough sleep during pregnancy, so spend extra time making sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable.
Regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and proper nutrition can help regulate your sleep cycle.
Another common symptom of pregnancy that you’ll likely experience around the eight-week mark is more frequent urination.
As the uterus grows to make room for your baby, it puts pressure on the bladder making it more difficult to control your bladder.
You need to drink more water while pregnant to ensure the fetus continues to receive vital nutrients.
Frequent urination is an unavoidable pregnancy symptom but is mostly a good sign. It means that you’re staying hydrated and that the uterus is expanding as it should be.
If you feel the urge to urinate but can’t or go to the bathroom frequently yet urinate very little, it might be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). In this case, speak with your doctor or OB-GYN (obstetrician or gynecologist).
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can have lots of physical effects on your body, but they can also affect your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Mood shifts, angry outbursts, and feelings of sadness are common during pregnancy.
While mood shifts are typical, some individuals may experience co-occurring depression or anxiety, which can become serious mental health problems. If mood swings become frequent or intense, it is important to speak with a doctor.
Cramping and Spotting
With your uterus growing and expanding to accommodate your baby, it’s normal to feel some growing pains.
And while you still have a while to go before delivery, you’ll probably start feeling some discomfort at the eight-week mark. These cramps often feel similar to menstrual cramps, though they’re often not as severe.
Often, spotting occurs at the time of the month when your period would have been due. It’s usually not anything to worry about, but if you notice a large amount of blood, contact a doctor immediately.
The hormone progesterone, which causes your muscles to relax in preparation for delivery, can cause a slowing of your digestion.
It is common to experience constipation, bloating, and heartburn. Increasing pregnancy hormones can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to combat digestive upset.
Try to eat healthy and bland foods like rice cakes, toast, and oatmeal. You might be craving pickles and ice cream, but giving into cravings may further mess with your digestion.
You can also try peppermint tea to settle your stomach.
As your baby begins to grow, you’ll be putting on a few extra pounds. And at eight weeks, you might notice a little bit of a baby bump.
Your pants might fit a bit tighter, and wearing some of your favorite shirts might feel a little snug.
While some weight gain will be naturally unavoidable, you can take some steps to manage unnecessary weight gain by exercising frequently and eating a healthy diet.
Prenatal yoga is a great example of a workout to shed some pounds while also managing associated stress. Talk to your doctor about any new exercise you introduce during pregnancy.
What Does the Baby Look Like at Eight Weeks?
Your baby is now about the size of a raspberry (16mm in length). But at this same time next week, they’ll be twice that size!
Your baby’s head is starting to uncurl, and their arms are growing longer as the upper body continues to grow.
While none of the lower extremities are developing yet (knees, ankles, and toes), your baby’s legs are growing a little bit longer every day.
Their internal organs are also starting to form, and even though you can’t quite feel it yet, your baby is constantly moving and shifting inside the womb as they begin to take life.
And changes aren’t just physical – brain and nerve cells are also starting to form neural pathways, and your baby’s sense of smell is starting to come through.
They are starting to look more like the beautiful newborn you’ll bring home from the hospital. And this is also the time when you’ll want to keep a watchful eye on certain symptoms to ensure the most successful delivery later on.
When Should I Be Concerned?
Symptoms during pregnancy can come and go, but if symptoms change drastically or completely disappear, it might be worth visiting a healthcare professional for medical advice.
Morning sickness and other early pregnancy symptoms will likely disappear or change towards the end of the first trimester.
While this is normal, there is a chance that sudden changes signal a miscarriage. Other symptoms of miscarriage include heavy bleeding, pain and cramping in the lower back, or fluid passing from the vagina.
The general rule of thumb is that you should see a doctor immediately if you are concerned about a symptom during your pregnancy.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, and getting treatment for problems early on can enhance the success rate of your delivery.
How Can I Prepare?
In the eighth week, you might wonder what you should be doing to prepare for the coming weeks ahead.
First Prenatal Checkup
If you haven’t already gone, now is the time to get your first prenatal checkup.
At this first checkup, you’ll likely give a urine sample to confirm pregnancy and have a pelvic exam to ensure that things are running smoothly.
Some doctors might even run an ultrasound, ensuring the baby’s growth and development are up to snuff.
Your doctor will ask you a few questions, and it might be helpful to come prepared.
You’ll want to be able to give any medications or supplements you’re currently taking, exercises you are taking part in, and any general concerns you might have. Your doctor is there to help you, so take advantage of this time and ask as many questions as possible.
Exercise and Eat Right
Exercising is a great way to take care of your body during pregnancy, but it can also help the baby during this stage.
At this point, it’s usually safe to continue most of your pre-conception activities. Of course, check with your healthcare provider before doing anything too strenuous.
You might want to start incorporating more exercises for your pelvic floor, such as Kegels. Pelvic floor work can help you reduce discomfort from round ligament pain down the line.
In addition to being active, you’ll also want to ensure you’re eating right. Diets high in fruits, lean proteins, and vegetables are a good starting point. However, as much as possible, you should avoid raw fish, deli meats, and caffeine.
You’ll also want to continue taking prenatal vitamins, which support a baby’s development.
Prenatal vitamins, in general, should be high in folic acid, vitamin C, and calcium.
At this point, you also want to make sure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Pregnant women need to drink more water than the average person, so be sure you always have a water bottle in hand.
Being eight weeks pregnant is a big milestone, but you still have 32 weeks to go.
At this stage, you’ll start noticing minor pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, cramping and spotting, sore breasts, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and frequent urination.
Most of these symptoms are normal and expected, but if any of them become severe or disappear completely, you’ll want to contact a doctor.
At this point, you’ll also want to continue to eat right and exercise. And if you haven’t already, schedule your first prenatal checkup to ensure everything is running smoothly.
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Bridget Reed is a Tampa-based content development manager, writer, and editor at GR0; specializing in content related to varying fields including medicine, health, and small businesses. Bridget went to St. Petersburg College and majored in Management and Organizational Leadership.
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