You’ve made it to week eight, and are likely feeling more and more physical symptoms of all of the changes happening in your body. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in week 8 pregnancy!
Week 8 Pregnancy: Baby’s Development
In week 8 pregnancy, your baby is six weeks from conception and still changing at a rapid pace. His or her crown-to-rump length is 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, approximately the size of a kidney bean.
Your little bean is looking much more like a human now as:
- Eyes are moving toward the middle of the face
- Tip of the nose is present
- Internal and external ears are assuming their final forms
- Trunk is getting longer and straightening out
Week 8 Pregnancy: Baby Belly Bump
By now, you likely can tell a difference in how your clothes fit. Your obstetrician or midwife will be able to feel that your uterus is enlarged. You’ll still be able to wear your regular clothes for a while, and your belly isn’t announcing your pregnancy to others. But you may find it exciting to see just a bit of a bump. Some women enjoy documenting their pregnant bellies, and you might want to start taking pictures if you want to have a record of how your body changes throughout this journey. A week 8 pregnancy photo may be the very first sign of a visible change!
Week 8 Pregnancy: Symptoms
It’s common for acne to either improve or worsen during pregnancy. In the first trimester, rapid hormone changes may lead to flare-ups. The best way to treat acne is simply with a mild cleanser followed by a non-clogging moisturizer if desired. Products that are specifically for acne usually contain salicylic acid and its safety during pregnancy is not known. So, talk to your doctor before using any over-the-counter treatments. Also, don’t take any pre-pregnancy prescription skin products until you talk to your provider. For example, Accutane is commonly prescribed to treat acne, but should not be taken during pregnancy. (1)
Cramping or Abdominal Pain
It is totally normal to feel cramping or even pain. While it’s more common later, some women also feel their uterus tightening throughout pregnancy. If your pain is severe or accompanied by bleeding, call your healthcare provider. Otherwise, you can try to ease the discomfort with rest or a hot water bottle. (Some women worry about the safety of a hot water bottle because of the warning against things like hot tubs, but a hot water bottle is too small to raise your core temperature.)
Week 8 Pregnancy: Twins
Births of multiples have been increasing over the past few decades, and now around 3% of births are twins. If you have a week 8 pregnancy ultrasound, you may discover an unexpected extra baby. If your provider thinks he or she hears more than one heartbeat or that your uterus seems to be growing faster than usual, a twin pregnancy may be suspected. This can be confirmed by ultrasound.
The How and Why of Twins
Twins happen when either more than one egg is fertilized or when a single fertilized egg divides. 65% of twins are fraternal, also called dizygotic. Fraternal twins come from separate fertilized eggs, and each twin has his or her own placenta and amniotic sac. Because they come from separate eggs, they can be the same gender or opposite.
The other 35% of twins are identical, or monozygotic. They come from a single fertilized egg that has split, share an amniotic sac, and usually share a placenta. Because they started as a single egg, identical twins are always the same gender as each other and have the same genetic makeup.
Twin Pregnancy Early Symptoms
In the early stages of a twin pregnancy, you will be feeling the same symptoms as other pregnant women, but likely an exaggerated version of those symptoms. Hormones are responsible for many pregnancy symptoms. Twin pregnancies mean even bigger hormone changes, so you have an extra helping of what others are experiencing. Your morning sickness may be more extreme, your fatigue may be more pronounced, and your baby bump may be more noticeable. You will manage these symptoms in the same way as with a singleton pregnancy, but you may need to be even more willing to give your body the rest it needs.
Differences in Twin Pregnancies
There are some increased risks in carrying twins, the biggest risk being premature delivery. Throughout your pregnancy, your provider may monitor you more closely than if you were carrying one baby. You may even need to choose a different provider than you had initially planned. Depending on your risk factors and provider’s comfort level, you may need to change from a midwife to an obstetrician. Or, you might change from an obstetrician to a perinatologist–an obstetrician who specializes in higher risk pregnancies. You may be advised to gain more than the normal recommended amount of weight; the amount will vary based on factors like your pre-pregnancy weight. You will likely also need more rest as your body is working hard to grow two little ones.
You will need to do a little extra planning for the end of your pregnancy, so start now! Average length of twin pregnancy is 37 weeks. You hope to get as close as possible to your due date, but should know it’s likely you’ll deliver earlier. There is also an increased chance of needing to go on bed rest to keep from delivering early, so it will be helpful to plan how your household will run if that happens.
Also, you will need to plan extra recovery time. It is absolutely possible to deliver twins vaginally, but the chance of needing a cesarean delivery is higher with twins, as their presentation (the way they’re situated in your uterus) may prohibit vaginal delivery.
Finally, you will likely want to take advantage of any help you can get after delivery. This can include your partner’s parental leave, a friend or relative coming to stay with you for a while, and help with meals or housework, etc. Two babies mean that you’ll get even less rest than other new moms, and planning ahead to have support can help tremendously with the transition. (1, 2)
Kopa Birth’s online childbirth classes allow you to prepare for a natural childbirth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for a natural hospital birth.
(1) Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press
(2) Simkin, P. (2010). Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, 4th edition. Meadowbrook Press