Week 8 of pregnancy: Your baby is connected to your bloodstream

In week 8 of your pregnancy, you’re coming towards the end of the second month, and you’re still in the first trimester.

Size of your baby in week 8

The embryo is around 1.5-1.6 cm in size, making it roughly as big as a blackberry (and the bulges which will go on to form their fingers and toes even look a bit like the bulges of a blackberry). Your baby is still in the jelly baby stage, as their hands and feet are similar in appearance to those of a jelly baby. An ultrasound every week would show that they’re steadily getting bigger, and although it’s still far too early to weigh them, doctors estimate that the average baby weighs around 0,25 grams at this stage.

Your baby’s development

Week 8 is when your baby lifts their head and stretches for the first time. Their limbs continue to develop, with their hands, feet, fingers and toes slowly taking shape. 

There’s a bit of skin between each of their fingers and toes that looks like webbing: this will disappear very soon and, before too long, your baby will be able to move their individual fingers and toes.

A small fold of skin is visible above their eyes, which will later form their eyelid, although it will still take some time before their eyes have their full structure and begin to work.

What will go on to form their brain can now also be seen in an ultrasound as a clump of bubbles, as their head begins to take shape in anticipation of birth.

Their stomach and kidneys are the first internal organs to begin to form, as these are the organs that need the most time to develop their anatomical structure and physiological function. All the remaining vital organs will follow in the next few weeks.

From week 8, your baby slowly begins to develop from an embryo into a foetus.

Their little heart is beating twice as fast as an adult heart, constantly pumping oxygen-rich blood around their body to help all their organs develop healthily. Oxygen is crucial for your baby’s development and should always be supplied in sufficient quantities – that’s the placenta’s job.

What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 8

You might have noticed by now that the typical symptoms of pregnancy are gradually easing as your body increasingly gets used to the changing hormone levels. By the end of the third month of your pregnancy, the nausea, vomiting and pulling pains in your abdomen should have disappeared. Your breasts will continue to get bigger in preparation for feeding your child once they’re born, but the soreness and the hypersensitivity of your nipples will decrease for now.

Keep doing everything you can to look after your baby and avoid all unnecessary risks. Be sensible when it comes to stimulants such as coffee and other drinks containing caffeine (like many fizzy drinks), and you should completely avoid alcohol and nicotine so as not to harm your baby’s health.

Common signs and symptoms

Emotional ups and downs

There’s no sign of a bump just yet, so there are no visible clues for your friends and family that you’re pregnant. Only close family members or friends might notice changes in your emotional state as you ride this emotional rollercoaster: one minute you’re over the moon, the next you’re close to tears. There will be times when you feel like crying, and it can be hard to keep your emotions under control and hide them from the people around you, whether it’s your work colleagues or your friends. This whirlwind of emotions may well remind you of puberty, another time in your life when hormonal changes caused all sorts of different emotions and feelings.

Top tips

Decide with your partner who you want to tell this wonderful news to and when.

Regular walks will help you sleep and ensure you get plenty of fresh air and oxygen.

Eat plenty of vegetables (cooked or raw) to meet your body’s increased demand for vitamins and other vital substances.

If you feel nauseous, keep drinking light teas throughout the day, which will help restore your fluid levels.

Buy or borrow one of the many books on pregnancy, which will help you and your partner understand what’s happening inside you.


Questions you may want to ask your doctor or midwife

Folic acid, vitamin B and iodine

Remember to keep eating fresh food containing lots of folic acid, and you should now also make sure that you get enough vitamin B from your diet, and/or from supplements if necessary. You will also need more iodine during your pregnancy in order for your baby’s thyroid gland to develop properly.

Ask your doctor to recommend a suitable supplement which will give you the folic acid, vitamin B and iodine that you need.

After you give birth, you won’t need quite as much folic acid as during your pregnancy, but women who breastfeed still need more than other adult women.

Preventing damage to your natural tooth enamel

If you have been vomiting regularly over the last few weeks, you should go to see your dentist. The aggressive acid in your stomach which you throw up when vomiting goes through your mouth and washes over your teeth, which can cause long-term damage to your teeth and enamel (even if you wash your mouth out and brush your teeth after vomiting).

Your dentist can tell you whether the protective enamel has already been damaged and will explain what you can do to help protect your teeth.

Information about the author:

Juliane Jacke-Gerlitz is a registered nurse. She has been working in the field of mother and breastfeeding counselling for more than ten years. Currently she is working as a medical writer and psychological consultant. Juliane Jacke-Gerlitz has been married for 22 years, is a mother of eight children and lives with her family in Halle.