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8 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

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.

Your baby’s head uncurls a little in the womb. 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 ‘chorionic 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.

Get weekly updates on your baby's development from our expert midwives straight to your inbox.

What to do in week 8

To tell or not to tell

Telling people 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 gone past 12 weeks. This is because after three months the risk of having a miscarriage goes down.

If you do have an early 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. You can read more about the symptoms of early miscarriage here.

“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.

Having a safer pregnancy

There are certain things you can do and avoid doing that can bring down your risk of pregnancy loss and complications. Read about the dos and don’ts of pregnancy here.

Are you at risk at work?

If you’re worried your job could be a risk to your health, tell your manager 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 enough 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 first midwife appointment

In the next few weeks, you will have your booking appointment. This is your first 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.


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

3. NHS Choices. You and your baby at 0–8 weeks pregnant (Page last reviewed: 28/02/2017 Next review due: 28/02/2020).

2. NHS Choices. Miscarriage overview, (Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018  Next review due: 01/06/2021)

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Last reviewed on June 25th, 2018. Next review date June 25th, 2021.

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  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Jun 2018 - 17:10

    Isn't is chorionic villi?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2018 - 15:01

    I am not sure what you are referring to. Chorionic villi are the blood vessels within the placenta.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Dinesh kumar (not verified) on 16 Apr 2018 - 10:52

    My wife is planning to travel by bus and train for 2 nights and 1 day. She will be in 7th week. Is it safe to travel

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Apr 2018 - 16:31

    Hi Dinesh
    As long as your wife has no pre-existing medical conditions which makes it unsafe for her to travel, then bus and train will be just fine for her. Remind her to wiggle her toes and ankles and to stand at regular intervals to help the blood flow around her legs. If you have any more questions, please call us on 0800 0147800
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Jun 2017 - 09:39

    Hi there.
    I can understand your concern about this. I would think that to err on the side of caution would be sensible with infections in pregnancy. E-coli is the leading cause of Urinary Tract Infections, and UTI's in pregnancy can cause premature labour. I would go back to your GP and ask for a course of antibiotics to be started regardless of the microbiologists opinion. Any UTI's in pregnancy are treated with antibiotics, so i don't see why you cannot be given a course "prophylactically". If your GP is still not keen to issue you with antibiotics, then you could go via a&e minors to get treated too as a Plan B at the hospital where you will have your maternity care. In the meantime, without sounding patronizing, to reduce your risk of E-coli, please ensure that you wipe front to back when using the bathroom and wash your hands thoroughly after too. Please take good care of yourself!

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