Your little one's development this pregnancy week
At this point in your first trimester of pregnancy, your little one has graduated from the size of a blueberry to a raspberry. They grow at a rate of about one millimetre a day, but it isn't necessarily just in height; growth spurts can happen in their arms and legs, back and other parts of their body. Your little one would also have webbed hands and feet, and their fingers and toes are just starting to differentiate. During a prenatal visit to your doctor or healthcare provider, you may start seeing an upper lip forming, the protruding tip of a nose, and very thin eyelids in an ultrasound. Teeth are also growing under the gums, and their heart will be beating at about 150 to 170 times per minute now.
Bodily changes and pregnancy symptoms
Along with your child's development, you would experience some pregnancy symptoms such as weight gain, skin changes, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting throughout the day, fatigue, food cravings and aversions, bloating and some other body changes as highlighted in the previous articles for weeks 1–7. Now, let’s talk about other pregnancy symptoms and body changes you may be experiencing this week.
Internal body changes
The amniotic fluid volume is increasing, and your womb is expanding to accommodate your developing child. At the start of week 8 of your pregnancy, the uterus is about the size of an orange. Don't forget, 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 belly start forming by week 8.
Increased vaginal discharge
When hormone levels change and oestrogen increases blood flow to your pelvic area, it stimulates your body’s mucous membranes, and you may start seeing more vaginal discharge known as leukorrhea. Not to worry, leukorrhea protects the birth canal from infection by maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria. However, consult your doctor or healthcare provider if you are uncertain or uncomfortable.
Since your blood volume will increase by just under 50% during pregnancy and pregnancy hormones are in full effect, blood pressure changes and headaches may occur. Do speak with your doctor or healthcare provider about trading aspirin and ibuprofen for other options that are safer for pregnancy.
If you've been feeling constipated during your pregnancy, add some fibre to every meal. However, do not overdo it as it might leave you gassier than before. One dish that's higher in fibre is brown rice with roasted chicken and veggies. Make sure not to overload your system with brown rice, tofu, and broccoli though!
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 starts to appear in the first trimester and is usually harmless. However, if you feel any discomfort, be sure to mention it to your healthcare provider 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—you still have many months of pregnancy ahead of you! Overdoing it 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. Doing squats during your pregnancy will strengthen and tone your thighs. This is helpful during labour, as stronger legs can help your little one descend.
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 centre of your abdomen called the 'linea nigra' which is common during pregnancy. In addition to sunblock, make sure to wear a wide hat for extra protection!
Go for healthy carbs
Choose healthy complex carbohydrates that nourish your child and give your body the energy it needs without taxing your digestive system. Some healthy carbs include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, dried fruits, whole-grain breads, crackers, baked potatoes, dried beans and peas.
You might be a little surprised at the way your body and child grow over the weeks of your pregnancy, but soon they will be here and you'll be counting all their fingers and toes with delight! Also, remember to always contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or doubts, or if you want any additional health information regarding this pregnancy week.