Welcome to Week 8! Now that you’re at the two-month mark—almost two months into your pregnancy—your abdomen will likely finally start showing your pregnancy. This isn’t because of the size of your uterus or baby (they are still tiny and well under your pubic bone), but rather from bloating, which can make you look much farther along than you are! As for your baby, he or she is developing even more visible and familiar features, and you may or may not have already seen or heard a heartbeat at a prenatal visit.
Heading into your eighth week, it’s not uncommon to start feeling symptoms related to your growing uterus. You might have mild cramping in your sides or feel like you’re experiencing mild menstrual cramps. This is normal and called round ligament pain—your uterus and the ligaments that hold it up are stretching and growing to accommodate your growing baby.
Some women also experience a type of pain known as sciatica, or pain resulting from pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs down your back and into your legs. This can be felt as a sharp, sometimes excruciating pain that shoots down your back and legs. If you experience this, try lying on the opposite side to relieve pressure on the nerve or sit on a hard surface with your weight shifted away from the pain.
One thing that’s usually not normal at this stage is vaginal bleeding. If you experience vaginal bleeding, your first thought might be, “Am I having a miscarriage?” If you’ve just had sex or had an internal exam, some light spotting is normal and not dangerous. However, if it is heavy or associated with severe cramps or pain, you should call your healthcare provider right away so they can tell you what to do next..
As scary as bleeding can be, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having a miscarriage. Many women experience bleeding at some point in pregnancy and go on to deliver healthy babies. However, with miscarriages affecting about 20 percent of pregnancies (and this number is likely higher, but most happen so early that many women didn’t know they were pregnant), any bleeding can be frightening. The good news is that the odds of miscarrying go down as the pregnancy progresses. Symptoms of possible miscarriage include vaginal bleeding, pain, cramping, and passing tissue from your vagina. The presence of any of these should warrant a call to your obstetrics provider.
This isn’t meant to frighten you. Remember that some cramping and discomfort is normal around this time and doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your pregnancy. Stay in close contact with your obstetrics provider and make sure to ask any questions you might have.
You might also be experiencing headaches or migraines during this period. An estimated 20 percent of pregnant women experience migraines. If you are suffering from bad headaches, ask your healthcare provider what medications you can take to help or if there are any other methods you can use.
If you haven’t already had your first prenatal visit and are just now finding out you’re pregnant, you will likely be heading into the doctor’s office soon. When you do, you should be prepared to give a full medical history and expect a number of tests, including blood tests. Among other things, your healthcare provider will be checking your blood type, looking at your Rh factor to see if you are Rh-negative and will require RhoGAM, and screening for STDs including AIDS.
Your baby’s fetal age is 6 weeks now. After last week’s growth spurt, your baby’s growth slows a little bit in this week—by the end of the week, the baby will measure about ¾ of an inch, or roughly the size of a kidney bean.
At this time, the features that were just beginning to appear last week are getting more complicated and “moving into place.” The eyes that were little more than dimples are slowly moving toward the middle of the face, and the optic nerve is continuing to get more sophisticated. Eyelids are even beginning to appear. Also on the face, there is a slight bump now where your baby’s nose will grow, and the structures that make up the ears are forming.
Your baby’s torso is also stretching out and assuming a more recognizable shape. The long “tail” is beginning to shrink in relation to the body even as the arms and legs stretch in length and begin to form elbows, fingers, and toes.
“Instead of eating three big meals a day, try to eat 5-6 smaller ones.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018