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8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

For the past several weeks your little one has been called an embryo, but from this week onward your baby is called a foetus – offspring in Latin. While the embryo has been in a curled up tadpole shape, this week the foetus starts to uncurl.

The legs are getting longer but it will be a little while before there are distinct features like the knees and toes. Even though the legs are catching up, the foetus’s arms are still longer as the upper body grows faster than the lower half.

The foetus is getting nourishment from the yolk sac while the placenta develops and slowly attaches to the wall of the uterus. When the placenta is ready, it will take over the job of providing nutrients and oxygen to the foetus.

It's still too soon to know whether you're expecting a boy or a girl. You may be able to find out at your mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan, often held between 18 to 21 weeks. If you feel like taking a guess in the meantime, have some fun with our Baby Gender Quiz. Now is also a great time to start writing a list of favourite boy and girl baby names. Wondering where to begin? Our Baby Name Generator will help you get started!

How Big Is Your Baby at 8 Weeks?

Your little one is about the size of a raspberry — just 16 mm long, crown to rump.

Embryo development at 8 weeks pregnant

Mum's Body at 8 Weeks Pregnant

If you’re a first-time mum, you probably won’t really be showing until you’re about 12 weeks pregnant. You could already start to look pregnant at eight weeks if this isn’t your first pregnancy. This is because the uterus and abdominal muscles are already stretched out. This is just one way a second pregnancy might be different to your first.

As your body shape changes and your belly grows, start thinking about adding a few pieces of stretchy clothing to your wardrobe that will grow with you. Don’t forget to get fitted for the correct bra size throughout your pregnancy as your breasts grow.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Morning sickness. You may be dealing with nausea and even vomiting right about now. The good news is morning sickness symptoms usually subside during the second trimester, and you’ll be there before you know it! For now, try nibbling on something plain like toast before you get out of bed in the morning, and aim for six small meals a day, rather than three large ones.
  • Food and smell aversions. Certain tastes and odours that have never bothered you before may now seem overbearing or repugnant. Increased hormone levels amplify your sense of smell and make your stomach feel as if you’re on a wild roller coaster ride. It’s OK to avoid these foods and smells; the key is to stick to a healthy, balanced diet of lots of fruits, vegetables and protein.
  • Dark patches of skin. You might now notice brown patches of skin on your face. This pigmentation change is called chloasma or the ‘mask of pregnancy.’ Don’t worry, these patches will usually fade away after you give birth when your hormones return to normal. In the meantime, sun exposure can make this condition worse, so stay out of the sun or wear a hat when outdoors.
  • Frequent urination.  Yes, you may still be making lots of extra trips to the bathroom. This symptom will come and go throughout the rest of your pregnancy as your baby grows and your uterus expands, both of which put pressure on your bladder. What should you do? Aim to stick close by to a toilet. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, but do the drinking during the day so that you’re not making bathroom runs through the night.
  • Abdominal cramping. This symptom might be associated with the continued growth of your uterus. If the cramping is severe, call your midwife or doctor to rule out problems.
  • Back pain. Even at eight weeks pregnant, your muscles and ligaments are stretching as they prepare for when you give birth. This can place strain on your back and pelvic muscles, causing aches and pains during pregnancy. To help, avoid lifting heavy objects, wear flat and comfortable shoes, practice good posture, get good back support from cushions when you sit, and head to a back care class if you can. If the pain persists, see your doctor.
  • Light spotting. Spotting (a few drops of blood at a time) can be normal. However, be sure to talk to your midwife if you feel at all concerned and call right away if you notice heavier bleeding.
  • Fatigue. Hormonal changes can leave you feeling especially exhausted in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The best advice we can give is to go ahead and grab some extra snooze time whenever you can.
  • Bleeding or sore gums. You can blame those hormonal changes for some dental issues, too! During pregnancy you may be more susceptible to plaque build-up and this can lead to sore and bleeding gums. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristle brush and avoid sugary food and drinks. If you are vomiting due to morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with water after each time. Arrange a dental check-up early on in your pregnancy. You may be eligible for free dental care while pregnant, so ask your dentist about how to take advantage of this when you call to make an appointment.
  • No symptoms. That’s right you might be one of the lucky ones who have no symptoms of pregnancy at eight weeks. Every pregnancy is unique and some mums-to-be barely have any symptoms the whole nine months. Fun fact: Each year more than 300 women in the UK give birth without knowing they were pregnant.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Take care of yourself by exercising. If you were fairly active before your pregnancy, it’s usually safe to continue with your exercise routine while it still feels comfortable. (Just check with your midwife to be sure). If you’re new to exercise, it’s not too late to get moving. Take a look at our article on exercise during pregnancy and get the all-clear from your doctor before you get started. Regular exercise has lots of benefits, including helping you stay physically fit, helping to regulate your mood, and allowing you some ‘me time’. The key is not to exhaust yourself. Try half an hour of walking each day, doing a little prenatal yoga, or going for a swim.
  • Getting good care is important! It’s time for your first visit with your doctor or midwife, if you haven’t already been. In some cases, you may need an obstetrician, too. This is a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and childbirth. You can get help on where to find the right care from your GP or your nearest Children’s Centre. It’s important you feel comfortable with your choice. If this is your first pregnancy you can expect about 10 antenatal appoints over the course of your pregnancy, 7 if this isn’t your first pregnancy and everything is normal. These regular check-ups give you the perfect opportunity to ask questions and bring up concerns. You will also have at least two ultrasound scans, and several other screening tests over the coming months. Your doctor or midwife will give you the dates for all of these appointments, scans and tests.
  • Should you share the news? When to tell is the subject of much debate: Some couples tell close friends and family right away. Others choose to wait until they’re past the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is much lower. If you work, you’ll also need to think about when you will tell your employer. If you’re feeling rather unwell it may be worth telling your boss sooner as this might make them more understanding of your situation. Legally you don’t have to share the news until 15 weeks before your due date, which is months away. Of course, by that time your bump will show clearly so it might make sense to share the news sooner that that. This choice about all this is entirely yours, but you may want to seek advice from your midwife, too.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • What are some ways to get a better night’s sleep?
  • Is it safe to travel when pregnant, and when is the best time?
  • When and how to contact the doctor between appointments?
  • What types of antenatal tests are needed or recommended for you, and when will they be scheduled?
  • When will the first ultrasound scan be?

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

If you haven’t already, find a doctor and midwife you like and trust. It could be that you need to speak to a few before you settle on one you feel comfortable with. Download our Pregnancy Guide for question to ask the physician before selecting the right one. This guide also includes a handy antenatal visit calendar.

Make an appointment with the dentist.

Check if you will be eligible for free milk, fruit and vegetables, and infant formula under Healthy Start. To qualify you need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant and meet a few other criteria.

Although antenatal classes only start around 28 weeks, it’s a good idea to do your research and find the right one for you now. Book a spot soonish as places can fill up early.

With your partner, start to plan how and when you’ll share the big news with family and friends.

Take some time off this week! If you can, set aside half a day to do something you enjoy. Then make a habit of it. Set aside a few hours each week just for yourself.

Sign up for even more pregnancy tips here:

8 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Sign up for even more pregnancy tips here:

If you haven’t already, find a doctor and midwife you like and trust. It could be that you need to speak to a few before you settle on one you feel comfortable with. Download our Pregnancy Guide for question to ask the physician before selecting the right one. This guide also includes a handy antenatal visit calendar.

Make an appointment with the dentist.

Check if you will be eligible for free milk, fruit and vegetables, and infant formula under Healthy Start. To qualify you need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant and meet a few other criteria.

Although antenatal classes only start around 28 weeks, it’s a good idea to do your research and find the right one for you now. Book a spot soonish as places can fill up early.

With your partner, start to plan how and when you’ll share the big news with family and friends.

Take some time off this week! If you can, set aside half a day to do something you enjoy. Then make a habit of it. Set aside a few hours each week just for yourself.

Sign up for weekly pregnancy tips: