8 Weeks Pregnant

8 Weeks Pregnant

Can you believe you're at week 8 already? Well done!

This week, your womb will have reached around double its normal size. You won't be showing yet but you may find that your expanding uterus presses on your bladder leading to yet more frequent toilet visits! You may also be experiencing some abdominal cramping and mild twinges as your uterus grows, but don't panic, this is just your body preparing for the next few months.

Changes to you and your body

You are still likely to be suffering from varying emotions as well as possible sickness, indigestion and heartburn. Morning sickness in particular is likely to subside after the first trimester. For now, try eating little and often to help you feel better.

Mood swings can result in you feeling delighted to be pregnant one minute and then in tears the next, this is perfectly normal and will settle down soon so try not to worry. Your surging hormones combined with concerns about your pregnancy and the impending changes to your life can also result in vivid dreams or keep you awake at night. Make sure that you try to find time to relax and remember that these feelings and emotions are very common in early pregnancy.

Changes to your baby

Your baby, meanwhile, is now about a centimetre long and the size of a small grape. Body parts are continuing to form and your baby's hands and feet are developing webbed finger and toes. The heart and brain are becoming more complex, the appendix and pancreas are in place and the ears, eyes and eyelids are developing. The nose, upper lip, teeth, palate and tongue are also starting to form.

For now, the liver is producing red blood cells until such time as the bone marrow develops, ready to take over this job. If you could see your baby, you would be able to see veins through his or her paper-thin skin. The remains of a small tail are still visible, but only for a few more weeks. Although the sex of your baby was determined at conception, it is not yet possible to tell from an ultrasound scan whether you are expecting a boy or a girl.

Tips for a happy pregnancy

Now is a good time to contact your GP to arrange a booking-in appointment with your midwife, if you have not done so already. The first booking-in appointment usually takes place between 8 and 10 weeks, but will vary depending on each area.

This week you might also start to think about how and when you will tell your employer that you are pregnant. Read our guide on your legal rights at work during pregnancy for more information. There is no requirement to inform your employer about your pregnancy at an early stage, but you may feel that it is beneficial to do so if you have any safety or health concerns related to your job. If you are suffering badly with morning sickness or extreme tiredness that is affecting your performance, it might also help if your employer is aware of the reason why.

Check your contract of employment so that you are aware of your company's policy on pregnancy, maternity rights and what you are entitled to. However, remember that you are protected by law in many areas and cannot be legally discriminated against for being pregnant.

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