Pregnancy calendar

weeks pregnant

8 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Here comes a growth spurt: Your little one will double in size this week.

Week 8 infographic

What does my baby look like?

They will start to look more like a little person (and less like a creature from another planet).

Your baby’s head uncurls a little. They have longer arms than legs because their head and upper body is growing faster than the rest of them.

Your baby is snug and protected in their amniotic sac. The placenta is getting ready to take on the job of looking after your baby, forming ‘chronic villi’ which will help it attach to the wall of the womb. At this stage of development your baby is still getting nutrients from the yolk sac.

By eight weeks, your baby is called a 'fetus' rather than an embryo.

Actions to take

To tell or not to tell

Telling people about your pregnancy is such a personal thing for you and your partner to decide. Many people decide not to go public with their pregnancy until they have their dating scan. Do what’s best for you.

Other than telling work if you think your job poses a risk, many women wait until they’re three months pregnant to tell people. This is because after three months the risk of having a miscarriage goes down.

“I told my parents at six weeks, mainly because if anything had gone wrong at that point I would have wanted their support without having to explain that I was pregnant in the first place. We told everyone else after the 12-week scan.”
Abby, mum of one

If you do have a miscarriage, though, you are likely to need the support of close family and friends, so you could consider telling just a few people before the end of the first three months.

Are you at risk at work?

If you’re worried your job could be a risk to your health, tell your boss you’re pregnant. Your work will need to remove these risks, or perhaps offer you different work.

Things that could cause a risk might include:

  • Heavy lifting or carrying
  • Standing or sitting for long periods without adequate breaks
  • Being exposed to toxic substances
  • Long working hours

If your employer can't remove any risks, they should suspend you on full pay. You can read more about your rights at work as a pregnant woman on this government website.

Find out more about having a working pregnancy.

Your upcoming booking appointment

In the next 2 to 4 weeks, you will have your booking appointment. This is your first official antenatal appointment with a midwife. You’ll be asked for lots of information about your physical and emotional health, your family’s health, any medical conditions you have and your lifestyle. This first visit may take up to an hour, so allow plenty of time.

Your answers can help make sure the antenatal team offers the right support for you. After all, their job is to ensure you have the best possible care during your pregnancy!

Your booking appointment is also a great chance for you to ask any questions you may have about your pregnancy and birth. For example, you might want to know about the screening and diagnostic tests you’d like to have or to discuss where you’d like to give birth.

It is also a chance to ask your midwife for your free prescriptions form (FW8) which enables you to apply for an NHS 'maternity exemption' certificate. Your midwife will need to sign it so you can get your prescriptions free of charge.

Read more about your booking appointment.

Sources

1. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Johnathan Cape, p.205

2. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Johnathan Cape, pp. 205-6

3. You and your baby at 0–8 weeks pregnant, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-4-5-6-7-8.aspx [accessed 28 February 2015] (last reviewed: 9 February 2015; next review due: 9 February 2017).

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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