Welcome to Week 8! You are now two months into your pregnancy and your baby is around 1.5cm in size: similar to that of a large grape.
Your baby is busy growing at a rate of about a millimetre a day, but is growing all over, so one day her legs may increase and the next she may get a whole millimetre longer! She is starting to look less reptilian and more human, though it will be a while yet before she looks like a ‘proper’ baby. Her fingers and toes are still quite webbed but are beginning to separate, and her arms and legs are protruding more, starting to look less fin-like and can now bend as elbows and wrists develop.
Her facial features are developing: her nose is starting to protrude, her eyes are more distinguishable, with eyelids starting to cover them, though they will not open until week 26. An upper lip is forming and taste-buds are developing on her tongue. She already has twenty tooth buds lurking under the gums, ready for a year’s time when they can begin to erupt and cause everyone grief! Occasionally babies are born with teeth already emerged, but this is quite unusual.
Intestines are developing in the umbilical cord, and genitals are beginning to emerge: although your baby’s sex is already determined, you will not know what it is for a while yet, hopefully at the anomaly scan you will have around 20 weeks. Still, a lot of women have a feeling either way as to what they’re having (and are right 50% of the time!) and if nothing else, it’s fun to guess. Nerve cells in baby’s brain are now stretching out to connect with one another and her heart is racing along at around 150 bpm: about twice the speed of yours.
Your womb has doubled in size to around the size of a grapefruit, and while it’s still a little early for you to show, you might notice your jeans are starting to get a little tight as your uterus expands to accommodate the amniotic fluid needed to house your little one. In this isn’t your pregnancy a tiny baby bump may be noticeable to you, but probably not to anyone else, as your ligaments and muscles are looser than those of a first time Mum. You might have noticed that you are looking rather more voluptuous as your breasts are already starting to get ready to feed your baby when she is born.
As your hormones go crazy, you may notice changes in mood and in skin texture: it may be drier than usual or you may even develop acne. This should revert to normal once the baby arrives.
You may experience some slight cramping and round ligament pain as your body changes to accommodate your baby. This can be very worrying, especially if you have previously suffered a miscarriage, but try to relax: as long as it is not too painful and isn’t accompanied by bleeding you should be fine. Even some light spotting is normal. Call your midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit if you are worried, though at this stage they will probably just tell you to rest.
You may have your first appointment with a midwife at this point. This might be the midwife who you will see throughout your pregnancy, or it might be a community midwife. The first appointment is actually fairly boring: you’ll fill in a lot of forms, provide a urine sample (checking for the hormone HCG and for any infections etc.) and have your blood pressure taken but that’s about as exciting as it gets. Obviously your midwife will discuss any concerns you have, but the appointments is mainly to gather information about you, any previous pregnancies, and your family’s medical history, and get you in the system and to outline what happens next. You should receive a scan date for your dating/nucal fold scan soon after your appointment and will also receive paperwork for any blood tests needed as well as a maternity exemption form for prescriptions and dental visits and your maternity notes, which everyone will tell you must stay with you at all times! Chances are you will not see your midwife now until 16 weeks.
You may be temped to make the most of pregnancy and laze around eating ice-cream, but it’s important to try to stay fit and active throughout pregnancy, where possible. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t take up any new, strenuous forms of exercise when pregnant but that it’s okay to continue with anything you were doing. However, things to bear in mind include:
- You should not exercise on your back after the first trimester
- Do not hold your breath whilst exercising
- Avoid straining your joints or making vigorous movements
- Be careful of your balance: you will be surprised how much your balance is affected as pregnancy progresses
- Be wary of anything that could hit your abdomen
- Try not to overheat
- Avoid becoming too tired or out of breath
You have probably heard all sorts of horror stories about cravings, and while in some extreme cases women may want to eat coal or chalk, it’s more likely their cravings will just come in the form of desperately wanting a very specific dish: maybe even something they previously disliked. Guess whose job it is to provide said dish? It may seem unreasonable to be demanding ice-cream at 10pm on a monday night but you will have a much happier partner if you indulge these cravings where possible. Of course healthy eating in pregnancy is important, but so is keeping mummy happy, so try not to be too critical of her choices. If she really does ask for chalk, however, it might be a good idea to try to steer her towards a more wholesome alternative.