Your eighth week of pregnancy is a major milestone; you may have your first or second prenatal appointment at the end of this week. Week eight also marks the end of your second month of pregnancy.
Your Baby's Development
Your baby has once again doubled in size since last week, and by the end of this week, he or she will be about half an inch in length. According to the National Institute of Health, your little one is growing and changing in some big ways this week:
- He or she is growing arms and legs from the limb buds. Primitive webbed hands and feet are just beginning to form as well.
- Your baby's brain is still growing very fast, adding new cells every minute.
- Although they won't be breathing air for several more months, his or her lungs are starting to form.
- Your baby's genitalia are starting to develop, although their gender was decided at conception. It's still too early to tell your baby's gender by ultrasound, however.
- Your little one is starting to lose his or her tail.
- He or she moves and "swims" about all the time, but the movements are still too small for you to notice.
- Your baby's heart is beating at around 150 beats per minute.
Your Changing Body
Your body is changing too. Your breasts, which have probably been tender and swollen throughout the pregnancy, may have grown by a full cup size. To help support your larger bust, it's a good idea to invest in a few new bras.
In addition to all the other early pregnancy symptoms you're experiencing, such as breast tenderness, fatigue, and nausea, you may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this discharge is called "leukorrhea." It should be milky white, thin, and nearly odorless. This discharge is a result of increased estrogen, and it actually serves an important purpose: it keeps vaginal bacteria levels in check to prevent infection. Don't douche or use tampons during this time, but if you are uncomfortable with the amount of discharge, a panty liner or sanitary pad can help. It's important to mention any changes in this discharge to your doctor.
If you notice bleeding or severe cramping during this week, contact your doctor immediately. You can also call your doctor or midwife with any other concerns you might have.
More to Know About Week Eight of Your Pregnancy
If you have not scheduled your prenatal appointment, you should by the eighth week of your pregnancy. Prenatal care is instrumental in ensuring your pregnancy is healthy and lasts to full term. Many problems during pregnancy can be avoided with good prenatal care.
During Your First Appointment
During your first prenatal visit, which often happens at the eight-week point, you can expect the following to happen:
- Your doctor or midwife will take a complete family history. This will help predict potential pregnancy complications.
- Your health practitioner will draw blood and check your blood type and Rh factor. They will also test your blood for indications of anemia or infections, and to see if you are immune or have been exposed to some specific diseases such as Rubella and Hepatitis.
- You may receive a pelvic exam at the first visit, or it may be postponed until later. During the exam, your caregiver will take note of the size of the uterus and any abnormalities. You will usually be offered a PAP test and a cervical culture.
- Your weight will be taken. This weight will act as the baseline for ensuring you gain the recommended amount during your pregnancy.
- A urine sample will checked for glucose, a possible sign of diabetes, and a sample will be sent to be cultured for bacteria.
- Your blood pressure will be taken.
Questions for the Doctor
When you go to your first prenatal exam, it is a good idea to go in with a list of pertinent questions, especially if this is your first visit with this health care provider. Consider asking some of these questions:
- When is my due date?
- Do you foresee any problems with my pregnancy?
- What are your qualifications?
- Do you anticipate being in town when I deliver?
- How often should you schedule prenatal visits?
- What hospitals are you associated with?
- What tests do you routinely run on pregnant women?
- Do you have any concerns about my weight, diet, exercise regimen, or symptoms?
Bring Dad Along
Things are changing for your significant other as well, and accompanying you on this first doctor's visit can help him feel involved. He may have questions of his own to ask the doctor, and it's good to have a little extra support for this first appointment.
If you need help downloading the pregnancy calendar, check out these helpful tips.
When you went to your first prenatal appointment, whether it was this week or earlier in your pregnancy, you began a relationship that is essential to the health of you and your baby. Be sure you feel comfortable with your doctor or midwife and that you ask about any questions or concerns you may have.