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Breast milk is best for your baby

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

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Week 8 of pregnancy: Basic building blocks almost in place

Your little one has graduated from the size of a blueberry to a raspberry. Though growth occurs at about the rate of a millimetre a day, it isn't necessarily just in height. Growth spurts can happen in the arms, legs, back and other parts of your little one.

At week 8 of pregnancy, your little one has webbed hands and feet, and her fingers and toes are just starting to differentiate. You could also see an upper lip forming, the protruding tip of a nose, and very thin eyelids. Teeth are also growing under the gums, and your little one’s heart will be beating at about 150 to 170 times per minute now. 

The amniotic fluid volume is increasing, and your womb is expanding to accommodate your little one. The uterus continues to grow as your little one grows. At the start of week 8 of your pregnancy, the uterus is about the size of an orange. First pregnancies take longer to show. So, first-time moms can keep the pregnancy hidden for quite a while. If this is not your first pregnancy, a small mound may start forming by week 8.

Bodily changes and pregnancy symptoms 
You would experience some pregnancy symptoms such as skin changes, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and food cravings and aversions, and bloating, as highlighted in the articles for weeks prior to week 8. Now, let’s talk about other pregnancy symptoms – vaginal discharge, headaches, constipation, and varicose veins.

•    Increased vaginal discharge
When estrogen increases blood flow to your pelvic area, it stimulates your body’s mucous membranes. Leukorrhea protects the birth canal from infection by maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria. However, consult your doctor if you are uncertain or uncomfortable.

•    Headaches
You may experience new aches and pains above the neck. Your blood volume will increase by just under 50%, which along with those pregnancy hormones, may spur headaches. Do speak with your doctor about trading aspirin and ibuprofen for other safer options.

•    Constipation
Add some fiber to every meal. However, do not overdo it, as it might leave you gassier than before. For example, you can consume brown rice with roasted chicken and veggies. Do not overload your system with brown rice, tofu, and broccoli.

•    Varicose veins
Increased blood flow, pregnancy hormones, and a growing womb, could make you prone to varicose veins. These happen when blood collects in weak spots in your veins, and this causes the veins to bulge under your skin. This pregnancy symptom often start to appear in the first trimester. If you feel any discomfort, be sure to mention it to your doctor during the next appointment.

Quick guide for week 8 of pregnancy
•    Ease into exercise

If you haven't worked out in a while, start slow. Overdoing can lead to injury, nausea, overheating, and exhaustion. Begin with 10 minutes of gentle warm-up, followed by 5 minutes of moderate exercise, and a 5-minute cooldown. Then increase the moderate portion of your exercise by 5 minutes every week until you hit the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.

•    Start doing squats
Add squats to your exercise. Squats will strengthen and tone your thighs. This is helpful during labour, as stronger legs can help little one descend. 

•    Use sunblock
Hormone surges in pregnancy can cause dark spots on your skin and face. Freckles and moles may look darker, and there's probably a dark line down the center of your abdomen called the 'linea nigra'. In addition to sunblock, wear a wide hat! 

•    Go for healthy carbs
Choose healthy complex carbohydrates that nourish your little one and give you the energy you need. Some healthy carbs fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, dried fruits, whole-grain breads, crackers, baked potatoes, dried beans, and peas.

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