During the eighth week of pregnancy, you may not look like you’ve been pregnant for 8 weeks. But on the inside, you’re experiencing a dramatic transformation, and you may feel very much pregnant. According to the American Pregnancy Center, your uterus has grown from the size of your fist to the size of a grapefruit over the last 8 weeks. Your baby is developing rapidly, growing 1 millimeter every day, and is now the size of a kidney bean. Soon, you may even “look” pregnant.
Nausea and vomiting are normal – though dreaded – symptoms of pregnancy. What you may not know is that morning sickness is actually protecting you and your baby.
According to researchers at Cornell University, “As unpleasant as it is, the nausea and vomiting of ‘morning sickness’ experienced by two-thirds of pregnant women is Mother Nature's way of protecting mothers and fetuses from food-borne illness and also shielding the fetus from chemicals that can deform fetal organs at the most critical time in development.”
Permission to Snack!
You can help keep morning sickness at bay by avoiding hunger. That’s right – the key is to graze on light snacks or nibble on toast or bland crackers before your stomach is upset. Some crackers in your purse can help keep your stomach happy. For pregnancy nausea at night, stock your nightstand with a carbonated beverage, crackers, and a pack of peppermint gum.
Wait, what? Does peppermint help with nausea?
It sure does. For centuries, peppermint has been used to help people suffering from IBS, headaches, nausea, indigestion, and muscle pain.
Besides peppermint, people have been taking ginger for nausea since ancient times. In 2016, researchers in Spain found that “ginger is an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting, and is safe.”
Not a fan of this prized root’s distinctive taste? You can say goodbye to nausea with high-quality supplements formulated for pregnancy. Share your favorite morning sickness remedies in the comments below!
Increased Vaginal Discharge
If you’ve noticed a milky white or clear fluid in your panties, it’s because your body is producing more estrogen. The discharge is called leucorrhea, and it sticks around throughout pregnancy, shielding the birth canal from unhealthy bacteria.
Generally, leucorrhea is nothing to worry about unless there’s an unpleasant odor or discomfort. According to Lamaze International, “The general rule of thumb with pregnancy discharge is that if it smells bad, if it is any other color other than clear or white, or if it causes pain, burning, or itching, there could be a problem and you should call your midwife or doctor.”
If you’re worried about the fluids of pregnancy – like discharge, urine leaks, spotting, and sweat – check out our Leakproof Underwear.
Headaches and Heart Rate
During pregnancy, the amount of blood circulating throughout your body increases by 50% to support your little one’s growth, and your heart has to work harder to pump more blood. Due to the increase in blood volume during pregnancy, it’s common to have more headaches, a faster heart rate, and higher blood pressure.
Before you reach into the medicine cabinet for relief, be sure to check with your health care provider for treatment options that are safe during pregnancy.
For a natural approach, pregnancy yoga is a great way to get centered, relieve stress, and relax. You can also search for 20 minute prenatal yoga on YouTube. With 1.5 million subscribers and more than 555K views, Sarah Beth Yoga has a great prenatal yoga class.
Bloating and Gas
Is it normal to have gas during pregnancy? It most certainly is. Most people experience gas or bloating during pregnancy. You can thank progesterone and another hormone, relaxin. Together, they relax your muscles, joints, and ligaments. They also relax your digestive tract so much that it becomes sluggish, slowly moving food to your stomach and through your intestines before it’s eliminated.
Since it’s a natural acid neutralizer, coconut water during pregnancy can provide fast yet gentle relief. Another natural remedy for indigestion is delicious papaya. Papaya is bursting with papain, a natural enzyme that breaks down food so it’s easier to digest. You might also want to avoid rich or spicy foods.
Constipated and pregnant? Many women start feeling like their digestive tract is getting a little backed up around week 8. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 16-39% of women experience constipation while pregnant. Contributing factors include increased hormones, iron from prenatal vitamins, and your baby’s weight, which can put pressure on your small intestine and colon. In fact, “Most people who are pregnant are not eating enough fiber, drinking enough water, or getting enough exercise to help their digestive system move waste out of the body.”
To relieve constipation in pregnancy, the Cleveland Clinic recommends:
- 25 - 30 grams of fiber-rich foods each day
- 8 - 12 cups of water each day
- 20 - 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week
- Talking with your health care provider about a prenatal vitamin with less iron
Baby on Board
Week 8 is pretty exciting. Your baby is still tiny but taking shape as bones develop, and ears, lips, nose, and eyelids begin to form. Your little embryo is starting to look more like a tiny human baby! That’s not all. Their vital organs and systems – the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, etc. – are developing.
Under Construction: The Brain and Neural Network
As your baby’s brain continues to develop and increase in size, the nerve cells have joined the party, multiplying and attaching to each other. These nerve cells are the precursors to the neural network that will relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Already, the wee trunk and limb buds are beginning to twitch as your baby develops.
Under Construction: Eyes
This week, the retinas at the back of the eyes begin to form. Eventually, the retinas will process light and send images to the brain. Super-small and thin eyelids begin to show, but you’ll have to wait a while longer to see whether baby blues, beautiful browns, gorgeous greens, or heavenly hazels are under those lids!
Under Construction: Joints
As the arms and legs continue to grow in spurts, your baby’s joints begin to form this week. Before you know it, shoulders, elbows, and knees will be on their way.
Heartbeats aka Love Beats
If thoughts of your little bundle of joy make your heart race, you’re not alone. With newly formed left and right chambers, your baby’s heart is racing too – at a rate of 150-170 beats per minute. Although your heart rate will increase due to your increased blood volume, it shouldn’t be as fast as your baby’s. According to researchers at Oxford University, during pregnancy, expectant mothers’ heart rates increase an average of 10% or 7-8 beats per minute.
What to Wear This Week
At 8 weeks, you’re well into your first trimester. You’ll need a nursing bra when your little one comes into the world, but in the meantime, a great maternity bra offers all the support you need, with or without the nursing clips. We love the Seamless Classic Maternity Bra, which disappears under your clothes and converts to a racerback bra.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please reach out to your health care team with any questions.