What is happening now?
At 8 weeks of pregnancy (or 42 days after conception) you are now at the beginning of week 9.
Your baby has grown to measure 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) and their head is now more rounded, making up about 25% of their entire body.
Your baby's face is becoming recognisably human. Their cheeks, mouth, lips and chin are more defined and they now have nasal passages creating the tip of their nose. Your baby develops eyelids this week, which remain fused (closed) until they reach 24 weeks of development.
The internal and external parts of your baby's ears begin to form, including their middle ear, which is responsible for their hearing and balance. However, your baby will not be able to hear sounds until sometime between 19 to 24 weeks. Your baby now has immature taste buds on their tongue and under their smooth translucent skin, many tiny blood vessels can be seen networking through their body.
Your baby's skeleton is starting to form and their arms and legs are longer, extending forwards and across their body, appearing slightly bent. Your baby's hands and feet now have 5 ridges on each, separated by narrow grooves, making them appear webbed.
Did you know? To form separate fingers and toes, the webbing between them undergoes degeneration, or the dying off of cells. This is part of your baby's normal programming that allows the sculpturing of their body parts. For a baby's normal development to unfold, both cell growth and cell death are necessary. A supreme adaptation of nature!
It is common for pregnant women to experience sudden nose bleeds. This is due to increased progesterone hormone, making the tiny blood vessels (called capillaries) in the nasal passages dilate and become fuller, as well as increased blood circulating the body (up to 50% more). Your nose may also produce more mucus and feel blocked or stuffy. You may also notice you suffer from allergy and/or sinus problems more readily and colds may be more difficult to recover from.
Find out more about these physical changes and what may help to relieve them here
An increase in blood volume and pregnancy hormones can also make your gums bleed at times, which is a normal. This should improve after your baby is born. It is important to look after your teeth and have a dental check-up, especially if your gums become sore and inflamed. You can read more about this here
Read about other early physical signs of early pregnancy here
. Have more questions? Ask our midwife here
Are you suffering from morning sickness? Did you know that morning sickness can vary quite a lot, even in the individual? See what our midwife has to say here
. If you do have morning sickness there are a number of things you can try. See what our midwife Melissa recommends here
Your emotions may still feel very up and down or perhaps they have begun to level out. If you find your emotions are still erratic, make sure you rest and nurture yourself to help support you at this time. Talking with your partner or someone you trust may also help you feel less isolated with your feelings.
You can read more about unpredictable mood swings here
Sometimes talking to another mum-to-be can help, or listening to their advice. Here
are some top pregnancy tips from mum's who've been there before.
Genetic testing and early ultrasounds
Genetic tests during pregnancy can be used to screen for, or detect, specific inherited disorders in unborn babies. Medical and technological advances have now made it possible for early ultrasounds (called Nuchal Translucency
or NT) combined with blood tests to estimate the chance (or possible risk) of an unborn baby having a chromosomal or genetic abnormality. You can find out more about genetic testing here
. The use of ultrasounds is explained here
More involved diagnostic tests such as chorionic villus sampling
(CVS) and amniocentesis
can diagnose specific genetic disorders by examining a sample of cells obtained from the placenta inside the woman's uterus to map the baby's chromosomes (or genes). However, these tests are more invasive and do carry small risks of miscarriage.
It is important to have genetic counselling before proceeding with genetic tests, ideally before 11 weeks of pregnancy. This allows parents to consider ALL their available options.
Homeopathy was first created by a German physician called Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800's. He reasoned that instead of suppressing symptoms he should seek to stimulate them, to assist the body's natural healing process. This 'magic of the minimal dose' formed the basis of his treatment's main underlying principles, often termed as 'like curing like'. You can read about using homeopathy during pregnancy here
Twins or more
If you are wondering about the possibility of carrying twins, triplets or more, read about this here
During the last 10 to 15 years, we have become more aware of the possibility of a woman experiencing listeriosis during her pregnancy from the foods she eats. Listeriosis is relatively rare, but can be caused by eating foods contaminated by a bacterium called listeria monocytogenes. You can read more here
Fish is a highly nutritious and an excellent source of nutrients such as Omega 3, protein, minerals, vitamin B12 and iodine, which provide important health benefits for you and your baby. Fish low in mercury that can be eaten 2 to 3 times per week include mackerel, silver warehou, Atlantic salmon, canned salmon and canned tuna, herring, sardines, snapper, trout, trevally, whiting, anchovies, bream, mullet and garfish. Other seafoods that can also be eaten regularly are prawns, lobsters, bugs, squid and octopus. You can read about this and the fish to avoid here
and about your diet in general during pregnancy here