Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

8 Weeks Pregnant

In This Article

Pregnant Belly Changes

You are definitely starting to grow by 8 weeks pregnant. Most women's uterus expands to roughly the size of a large orange or small grapefruit now. That's quite a leap considering your uterus started out smaller than the size of an avocado seed! Keep in mind if you are carrying twins your uterus will grow much faster than that of a mom carrying one baby. Because of this you may start showing sooner.

Women who have had more than one pregnancy will also generally start showing sooner because their stomach muscles have had time to relax. Regardless, most women will still look pretty small compared to what their tummies will look like later during pregnancy.

Mom's Belly at 8 Weeks

Your waistline may seem larger to you, but onlookers won't be able to tell that you're pregnant. If you're a first-time mother, you won't be showing until your second trimester. Although women who have given birth before, or pregnant women carrying twins or multiples, might be showing a little.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Breast Changes at 8 Weeks Pregnant

Breast Changes

By now you may be anxious to share your precious miracle with the world around you. You are probably feeling very pregnant now. One symptom many women start noticing at 8 weeks pregnant is increasing breast growth. It is not uncommon for women's breasts to increase in sizes between one and several cup sizes during pregnancy. This happens particularly toward the end of pregnancy when your body starts preparing to nurture your baby with breast milk. Many women consider breast growth one of the most positive side effects of pregnancy. If your breasts are growing considerably you might consider buying a new bra a size or two bigger than your normal bras, to accommodate your expanding chest and ensure extra room for growth throughout your pregnancy.

Your husband or partner may be very happy with this new growth, but touching may be off-limits as your breasts will continue to be very tender to the touch. Breast tenderness is often described as similar to how your breasts may feel before you have your period, only more swollen, tingly, and sensitive.

Some women worry that breastfeeding will ruin their breasts. Stop worrying. Most of the changes that occur in your breasts occur while you are pregnant. That said if your breasts are going to change you might as well consider breastfeeding for all the wonderful benefits it offers your baby. Breastfeeding also provides new moms a host of health benefits and helps create a strong bond between mother and newborn. Now is a good time to start looking into your baby's feeding options after delivery. Your healthcare provider an refer you to a qualified lactation consultant if you have questions or concerns about feeding your baby after delivery.

Another Breast Change: Montgomery's Tubercles
Pregnancy doesn't just affect your breast size. Your nipples and areola (the darker skin around the nipple) will also change. Both your nipples and areolas may get bigger and darker. Pretty soon, you may start to notice little bumps on your areolas becoming more prominent. These are called "Montgomery's tubercles," and they become very noticeable during pregnancy. You may also begin to notice that you can see blue veins underneath the skin of your breasts.

Pregnancy hormones are to blame for these pregnancy breast changes. During pregnancy, your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding. The fatty layer of your breasts is thickening as the number of your milk glands increases.

Sleep Problems

At 8 weeks pregnant, you are halfway through your first trimester. Though your pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness and fatigue, continue in full swing, it won't be long until you start to feel better. Along with your first trimester symptoms, you might find that it's getting increasingly difficult for you to fall asleep at night.

Insomnia and sleep problems can be contributed to the many discomforts of the first trimester - such as queasiness, heartburn and indigestion, leg cramps, and frequent urination. Emotional changes can also lead to insomnia and sleep problems, especially if you're worried about your pregnancy.

Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do about insomnia or sleep problems during pregnancy. Tossing and turning is often just part of the experience of having a baby. You can, however, get some comfort by investing in a pregnancy pillow. These special pillows are usually designed to conform to the unique shape of a pregnant woman's body, and they may give you a good night's sleep.

If you are constantly waking up to run to urinate, it may help if you empty your bladder immediately before you go to bed. You should also avoid drinking any water right before you go to sleep. This may help cut down on those midnight runs to the restroom, and you can sleep at night.

Mild Abdominal Cramping
Mild abdominal cramping is a normal pregnancy symptom at 8 weeks pregnant. Although cramping is always concerning, especially for women who have never been pregnant before, mild abdominal cramps isn't anything to worry about.

In general, if you have unusual abdominal pain or cramping that is painful or persistent, or is accompanied with bleeding, contact your doctor right away. This may be a sign of a miscarriage or another serious pregnancy problem.

Lower Backaches
Lower backaches are another common pregnancy symptom. You can blame the pressure of your growing uterus on the low part of the spine for your backache. You may also experience a sharp pain in your buttocks and along the side of your thigh as well. This is due to the uterus placing pressure on the sciatic nerve that innervates the buttocks and side of your leg. All of these discomforts are common, and just a side effect of carrying a baby.

Backache at 8 Weeks Pregnant

Food Aversions
Food aversions are also a normal symptom. Food aversions often accompany morning sickness. If you're finding that you're quite nauseous, you may find that the smells of certain foods make you gag. Even the thought of eating specific foods might make you want to throw up.

Food Cravings
On the other hand, if you are one of the lucky ones and you're not struggling with morning sickness, you may start to experience food cravings. You may find that you're starving all the time, and you can't wait to dig into that tub of ice cream. Food cravings are a fun part of pregnancy, so enjoy this pregnancy symptom if it strikes you!

Pregnancy Weight Gain at 8 Weeks

Your weight gain at 8 weeks pregnant is roughly one to three pounds. Some women will gain more, and others less. Remember that just like each individual baby is different, each pregnancy is different.

Your morning sickness might make it hard for you to gain the weight you desire. Don’t fret - once you reach the second trimester, this nausea and vomiting will go away and you will start to steadily gain a pound with each passing week.

Baby Section

Baby at 8 Weeks Pregnant

Your Baby at 8 Weeks of Pregnancy

While you may be feeling ill your little bean is thriving! The small tail your baby developed in early pregnancy slowly evaporates. In the upcoming weeks your baby will develop eyelids. Now your baby’s legs and arms grow longer and longer, helping your baby look more proportional inside your womb. During this time your baby's brain also continues to mature and grow, as nerve cells start connecting or talking to one another.

Your baby's lungs are also working diligently to mature. It will take a minimum of 37 weeks however for your baby's lungs to develop well enough to allow your baby to breathe comfortably on his own. One of the more serious complications premature infants face is immature lungs. Fortunately modern medicine has afforded doctors many treatments that can help stimulate lung development if mothers experience premature labor.

At 8 weeks pregnant, your baby is now 0.63 inches from crown to rump. This is comparable in size to a boysenberry. His or her head is huge relative to the rest of the body, due to rapid brain development.

Your waist and tummy continue to pooch slightly this week, as your baby grows larger in utero. The baby's yolk sac is shrinking, and the placenta is starting to take over support functions.

The umbilical cord now is beginning to transport nutrients to the baby and removing wastes.

Your baby's nose and the ears are developing. The tip of your baby's nose is already formed by now! If you were to peek inside your uterus, you'd see a few small bulges on the side of the head, and these will eventually form your baby's outer ear.

Your baby's eyes are becoming larger and pigmenting. The eyelids are in their beginning stages this week, but it won't be long before they cover his or her beautiful eyes.

Pregnancy Health Section

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is a very common symptom of pregnancy affecting the majority of pregnant women, although not every woman will experience it in the same way and to the same degree. Some women may feel it in the morning and some more at night, while a majority of women experience it throughout the day. Others might find their morning sickness triggered by certain things, such as when they position their body a certain way or smell a particular scent. Others may have only fleeting, passing moments of it.

Morning sickness at 8 Weeks Pregnant

If there's any positive aspect to dealing with nausea and vomiting, it may be the fact that research shows that women who have these symptoms, appear to experience fewer pregnancy complications. Why is that? Researchers are not certain, just as they are not quite sure of the underlying causes of morning sickness, it is believed that the body's adjustment to changes in hormone levels may be one of the factors contributing to morning sickness.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
For a smaller percentage of women, morning sickness comes in a more severe, chronic form, which makes pregnancy a less than glamorous journey. They may experience frequent and severe cases of vomiting, which results in losing weight. This severe morning sickness is termed Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Women who suffer from this will need to be careful not to become dehydrated..

You should check in with their OB/GYN if you have cramping or abdominal/pelvic pain, cannot keep food or liquids down for 12 hours or more, chronically vomiting or if blood is spotted in your vomit, and if you are showing any signs that you are suffering from dehydration (which may include: feeling lightheaded, golden or brown colored urine, and an inability to urinate).

Tips to Lessen Morning Sickness Symptoms
For women who are eager to alleviate their symptoms, it's important to note that there is no way to totally eradicate the symptoms of morning sickness, but there are ways to minimize their effects. Here are a few tips:

eat small meals to avoid nausea in pregnancy.

Eat and drink frequently, but in small amounts as soon as you are hungry or thirsty. An empty stomach is more likely to get "upset" than one that is full. Eating small mini-meals during the day, instead of three full meals. Eat six smaller meals throughout the day.

Avoid Spicy Foods in pregnancy and avoid heartburn.

Avoid food triggers. If certain smells make you sick to your stomach, try to avoid them. Avoid foods that are spicy. Stick to eating bland foods.

Drink clear, cold liquids for indegestion relief.

Drink clear cold liquids (such as lemonade, ginger ale). Drink plenty of fluids. Consume more fluids during the hours that you are least nauseous. Seltzer and sparkling water may help calm your stomach.

Take prenatal vitamins at bedtime to avoid heartburn.

Take your prenatal vitamins at bedtime rather than at the start of the day if they trigger your nausea.

Cook with Ginger for nausea relief.

Cook with ginger (which has been found to alleviate nausea and vomiting). You may want to snack on ginger cookies or ginger tea. If you are up for it, you can even nibble on fresh ginger.

Pregnancy Accunpuncture does help with nausea in pregnancy.

Try acupuncture, hypnosis, or acupressure. This may help before you try medications.

If you are really struggling through your pregnancy because of your bouts with nausea and vomiting, medications are indeed an alternative. There are certain medications that may alleviate all or some of these symptoms, and they are considered relatively safe to both you and your baby during your pregnancy.

Take a supplement of vitamin B6, but no more than 100mg daily. Vitamin B6 has been linked to decreasing nausea in early pregnancy. Speak to your physician about the various medications available and their potential side effects and risks.

Some of these medications include: Doxylamine, Promethazine, Metoclopramide, and Ondansetron. For those women who develop heartburn during pregnancy, there are also antacids to help curb reflux symptoms, which may trigger morning sickness symptoms.

Pregnancy is a wonderful journey although it may present you with various challenges along the way. Be sure to see your OB/GYN during your pregnancy and to keep him or her up-to-date as to how you are feeling. Especially if you are feeling miserable, it's important to let your doctor know how you are doing as there are various strategies that can be employed to help make your pregnancy less taxing until you are ready to deliver your little bundle of joy.

Doctor's Corner

Bleeding and/or cramping at 8 Weeks

What is a Blighted Ovum?

Experiencing a miscarriage or pregnancy loss can be devastating, especially for women who desperately want a baby. Over 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks of gestation, and 50 percent of all pregnancy losses in the first trimester are due to a blighted ovum – a pregnancy complication that occurs very early in the conception process.

With a blighted ovum, the fertilized egg implants into the lining of a woman's uterus, but the embryo either doesn't develop or it stops forming early on. Cells from the fertilized egg attach to the uterus, and they form the gestational sac but the embryo is missing.

Your body naturally stops the progression this pregnancy, since a healthy baby can't grow. As a result, you will miscarry. You may experience an early miscarriage, even before you realize you're pregnant. Some women discover they have this complication when an ultrasound confirms an absence of an embryo within the gestational sac.

Even after you know you have a blighted ovum, you may have to wait weeks before your body discharges the gestational sac and related tissues. This can be emotionally draining, and it may even be painful (especially for women who experience cramping during this time).

What Causes a Blighted Ovum?

Pregnancy week 8 bleeding possible blighted ovum.

In most cases, early pregnancy miscarriages caused by a blighted ovum are due to chromosomal problems. Abnormal cell division following conception can also lead to a blighted ovum.

Although it is heartbreaking to lose a pregnancy so early, the fertilized egg would not have been able to develop into a healthy, normal baby.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Blighted Ovum?

When you have a blighted ovum, a home pregnancy test will give you a positive result. Even though the gestational sac doesn't contain an embryo, the placenta is secreting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – the special hormone that home pregnancy tests measure.

As a result of this increase in hCG, you might begin to notice common signs of pregnancy, like sore breasts, nausea, and fatigue or excessive tiredness. In a few weeks, when your hormonal levels begin to decrease, you will start to feel better.

Common signs of a blighted ovum include spotting and bleeding. Since spotting can also be normal in early pregnancy, you cannot diagnose this pregnancy complication without the help of a doctor and an ultrasound exam.

If you have a miscarriage due to a blighted ovum, you might also have uncomfortable abdominal cramps and vaginal bleeding.

What Are the Chances of Another Blighted Ovum?

Try not to worry about having another blighted ovum. For a majority of women, a blighted ovum only occurs once. Their next pregnancy goes on to be normal, and they have a good chance of carrying a healthy baby.

Experiencing this complication does not mean that anything is wrong with you. You should probably only be worried if you suffer two or three consecutive miscarriages. If you have multiple miscarriages, your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend genetic testing or special blood tests to figure out what's causing your miscarriages.

After a blighted ovum, it's advisable to wait four to six weeks (when you'll have your next period) before trying to conceive again. Because it is possible for you to ovulate two weeks after you miscarry, you'll want to use birth control to avoid another pregnancy so soon.

Since losing a pregnancy can be emotionally difficult, make sure that you don't rush into conceiving right away. You may need some extra time – whether this is weeks or months – before you start thinking of getting pregnant again. Take your time and make sure you are 100 percent ready before trying for pregnancy again.


Miscarriage at 8 Weeks Pregnant

Many women worry about miscarriage during the early weeks of their pregnancy. Unfortunately, miscarriage is actually somewhat common. About 8 to 20% of pregnant women will have a miscarriage before 20 weeks of pregnancy; 80 percent of these occur in the first 12 weeks.

Some common causes of miscarriage include chromosomal abnormalities (genetic problems). With genetic causes of miscarriage the fetus begins to develop but then stops growing. Miscarriage is also seen if the mother has certain medical problems, such as poorly controlled diabetes. Abnormally shaped uterus can also give rise to a miscarriage.

The most common symptoms of a miscarriage are vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal pain or cramping.

Not all bleeding is a sign of miscarriage. In fact, bleeding early in pregnancy may simply be the result of strenuous physical activity or irritation of the cervix after sexual intercourse. Resting and abstaining from intercourse may be all that is needed to stop the bleeding. In some cases bloody discharge may indicate a threatened rather than a true miscarriage.

The more cramping you are having along with vaginal bleeding the more worrisome the possibility of a miscarriage. Your healthcare provider will perform an ultrasound to evaluate the well-being of your baby if you have bleeding accompanied with cramping. If your baby's heart is beating and no sign of bleeding behind the afterbirth is noted, your physician will likely try to reassure you that everything is going to be alright. Your healthcare provider may recommend bed rest until the bleeding stops.

Unfortunately the ultrasound can also reveal that there is no fetal heart beat, and when this happens it can be devastating. In some cases you may go on to have a spontaneous miscarriage that is complete, meaning you will pass the pregnancy with no intervention. However, in some circumstances it is necessary for your healthcare provider to perform a procedure referred to as a dilation and curettage or D&C because your body may not have expelled the fetus entirely (referred to as an incomplete miscarriage). A D&C is necessary in this case to preserve your fertility and health.

A miscarriage can be devastating. It is important that you know that most women will go on to have a normal pregnancy after a miscarriage. If you have a history of repeated miscarriages be sure you consult with your healthcare provider who can work with you to attempt to determine a cause.

Remember that a miscarriage is not your fault. If you have shared your pregnancy with friends and loved ones, lean on them for support and encouragement. While it is hard not to worry about potential problems, keep in mind that most pregnancies go off without a hitch, and you have just as much chance for a lovely and safe pregnancy as the next person. (next week)