What to Expect in the 8th Week of Pregnancy

Updated on February 5, 2018
leahlefler profile image

After having obtained a degree in biochemistry, Leah works for a small biotechnology company and enjoys writing about science.

The Baby at 8 Weeks

The embryo's proportions begin to change in the 8th week of pregnancy, and webbed fingers and toes appear.
The embryo's proportions begin to change in the 8th week of pregnancy, and webbed fingers and toes appear. | Source

8 Weeks Pregnant

Most women have had their first appointment by (or during) the eighth week. Some physicians do not see women until they are more than 10 weeks along, though most will at least have a "paperwork" appointment to take a medical history and to obtain blood work by this point in the pregnancy.

The baby continues to develop at a rapid pace, with the knee joint and webbed fingers and toes making their debut. The "tail" has nearly disappeared as the baby has grown, and the neural network of the brain is forming very quickly. The baby is approximately 0.6" long, or the size of a raspberry.

Pregnancy symptoms are still very prominent at this week, but take heart! The second trimester is only a month away!

Heartburn in Pregnancy

Heartburn can plague pregnant mothers. Ask a physician before using any antacid medication, as some are not safe during pregnancy.
Heartburn can plague pregnant mothers. Ask a physician before using any antacid medication, as some are not safe during pregnancy. | Source

Pregnancy Symptoms at 8 Weeks

All of the symptoms of pregnancy are at their peak during week 8. Morning sickness, if present, can be present throughout the entire day. Some women merely feel nauseous, while others vomit. With a heightened sense of smell, even the scent of the workplace lunchroom can send many pregnant women running for a bucket (or toilet).

Heartburn often plagues pregnant women - it often begins in early pregnancy and may not let up until the baby is born. Progesterone, the same hormone that causes constipation, also causes acid reflux. This hormone relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract, including the sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When acid washes up the esophagus, the searing pain known as "heartburn" occurs.

Avoid carbonated drinks, citrus, and tomato-based products if heartburn is a problem. Cured meats, chocolate, and coffee are also contributors to acid reflux. Avoid snacking before going to sleep at night, and try to elevate your head by approximately 30° with a large pillow. Sleeping while slightly inclined may help reduce the amount of acid that washes up during the night.

Some antacids are safe in pregnancy (tablets made from calcium), but others are not safe and contain aluminum or salicylic acid (aspirin). Ask your obstetrician for recommendations for safe heartburn relief if this symptom is particularly troublesome!

Breast enlargement starts to occur at this stage of pregnancy, and some women will find they go up an entire bra size. The soreness that accompanies this change is generally not welcome - find a good support bra or maternity bra. It is well worth the expense!

Weird dreams may also occur during pregnancy. Extremely vivid colors and unusual situations may present themselves during the nighttime hours. These strange dreams (and nightmares) may continue throughout the rest of the pregnancy.

Ultrasound at 8 Weeks of Pregnancy

The Baby at 8 Weeks

The size of a kidney or lima bean, the baby is over half an inch long and develops many organ systems this week. While the baby's gender has already been genetically determined, ultrasound examination cannot reveal whether the baby is a boy or a girl at this stage.

The baby's trachea is extending toward the lungs, and the arms and legs grow longer. When seen on ultrasound, small hands and feet may be seen waving - the fingers and toes are still webbed, but they are there! The baby is quite active, but don't expect to feel the movement yet. The baby is still too small to be felt through the uterine wall.

The baby's eyelids continue to grow and nearly cover the eyes, while the nose begins to take shape. Teeth are forming under those baby gums at this stage in the pregnancy, though you won't see a sign of them until baby is about six months old!

Twins on Ultrasound

A twin pregnancy at 8 weeks gestation.
A twin pregnancy at 8 weeks gestation. | Source

Ultrasound Surprise: Twins!

Many women receive a first ultrasound scan between 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. This scan allows doctors to accurately date the pregnancy, verify fetal heart tones, and determine if the pregnancy appears healthy. The ultrasound also allows doctors to determine how many embryos are present in the womb!

For the vast majority of pregnancies, only one baby is present. For others, two (or more) gestational sacs may be visualized. If twins are seen on ultrasound, expect more frequent monitoring. Doctors are able to determine if the twins are fraternal(arising from two separate eggs) or identical, arising from one egg that split after fertilization.

Some women have higher odds for having fraternal twins:

  • Older moms are more likely to have multiples (35 years of age or older).
  • Taller and heavier women are more likely to bear twins.
  • Women who have several other children are more likely to conceive twins.
  • The use of Clomid or other drugs that assist ovulation increase the likelihood of multiples.
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) increases the chance for twins.

The current rate of twinning for fraternal twins is 1/32 in the United States. This rate has increased substantially since the 1980s, in large part to fertility treatments.

The rate for identical twins has remained the same over time: 1/250 births result in identical twins.

First Trimester Screen Poll

Did you have the first trimester screen?

See results

Prenatal Testing: The First Trimester Screen

Many expectant mothers are offered the opportunity to have testing known as the "first trimester screen" performed in early pregnancy. This screening method combines a blood test with an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound is performed at 11-13 weeks gestational age and measures the thickness of the embryo's neck - the nuchal translucency (NT). A thicker nuchal translucency is associated with a higher rate of chromosomal problems or cardiac abnormalities. The ultrasound screen is not diagnostic, but simply allows a mother to pursue more testing for those in the higher risk categories.

The blood work is often performed at the same time as the NT scan, but sometimes it is drawn at an earlier date. The blood test determines the amount of hCG and PAPP-A in the mother's blood. hCG is the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and PAPP-A is pregnancy associated plasma protein A. The levels of these hormones, in combination with the NT ultrasound scan and maternal risk factors (including maternal age) are calculated into a risk factor for the mother. The information can be useful for the decision to pursue further testing via amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Like all screening tests, this test can have false positives and cause anxiety.

The first trimester screen may be brought up at this appointment, and mothers may opt to have it performed (or opt out of the screening process, if desired).

First Trimester Screening Tests

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      7 years ago from Western New York

      I wasn't able to see my boys until approximately 18 weeks of pregnancy, so I would definitely take the chance to see the little one earlier on in pregnancy! The nuchal screening used to be offered only to mothers of advanced maternal age or high-risk pregnancies, but it is now available to all mothers regardless of age or risk factor.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I only wish the screening had been invented when I had my child. What a nice option for parents to enjoy. The joy of seeing your child for the first time inside the womb. A good post, once again.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)