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During week 8 of pregnancy, your baby is growing rapidly in all directions at a rate of one millimeter per day and has started to move.

The vital organ systems are continuing to grow.

Your little boy or girl is now also able to begin using your uterus as a swimming pool, as the amniotic fluid increases every week by about 2 tablespoons.

This article is one of a series on pregnancy. You can find out what is happening at each stage of your pregnancy, what to expect, and insights into how your baby is developing.

Take a look at the other articles in the series:

First trimester: fertilization, implantation, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12.

Second trimester: week 13, week 14, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18, week 19, week 20, week 21, week 22, week 23, week 24, week 25, week 26.

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Nausea is a common sign of early pregnancy.

At this stage, there are still few, if any, visible physical body changes for you.

However, your baby needs more and more support from your body, so your blood volume has increased. At week 8, your heart is pumping 50 percent more blood per minute than before you conceived.

You may begin or continue to experience symptoms such as:

  • nausea and vomiting, or "morning sickness"
  • moodiness
  • weight gain or loss
  • bloating, gas, and constipation
  • increased sense of smell
  • sensitivity to those intense smells
  • excess saliva
  • food aversions and cravings
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • need to urinate more frequently
  • fatigue
  • increase in vaginal discharge
  • mild pelvic cramping
  • occasional vaginal spotting
  • breast changes such as enlargement, tenderness, tingling, nipple erection, nipple sensitivity, darkening areola
  • areolar bumps, which are actually sweat glands, known as Montgomery tubercles

Vaginal discharge

This thin, milky vaginal discharge, called leucorrhea, is a good sign. Your body is taking instinctual steps in protecting your birth canal from infection and protecting its natural bacterial environment.

The vagina needs a harmonious balance of good and bad bacteria to remain healthy and free of infection.

If you are concerned about a discharge or any other symptom, ask your health provider about it.

Hormonal changes mean that there is increased blood flow through your body.

This is necessary to enable the baby to grow, but if blood collects in weaker parts of the blood vessels, it can lead to bulges known as varicose veins.

This often starts to occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Varicose veins can appear:

  • in the legs
  • around the rectum, where they are known as hemorrhoids or piles
  • around the genital area

Varicose veins sometimes cause discomfort. The legs may ache and feel heavy, and the skin around the vein may feel itchy or as if it is throbbing or burning.

To reduce the risk and impact of varicose veins, try to:

  • avoid standing still all day, if possible
  • avoid crossing your legs when sitting
  • put your feet up above the level of your heart whenever possible
  • get regular, moderate exercise, for example, walking
  • maintain a healthy weight

Compression socks for pregnancy are available for purchase online. Your health provider can advise you about using these.

At 8 weeks pregnant, there are many changes in your baby's development.

These include:

  • Eyes: The eyes are now visible parts of the face, with eye folds forming. In addition to external eye developments, the retina is now pigmented.
  • Ears: The external ear has completed forming.
  • Face and mouth: The upper lip and nose have formed, fusion of the palate bone occurs, and taste buds form.
  • Heart: The heart is now beating at about 140 to 170 beats per minute.
  • Limbs: The limbs continue to develop, as the arms and legs become longer. The fingers and toes now having a distinct appearance
  • Body: The head becomes erect and rounded.
  • Trunk: The trunk begins to straighten. The neural tube has completely formed, and cartilage is now becoming bone.
  • Abdomen and pelvis: Intestines begin to move from the umbilical cord to the body. The external genitalia remain unrecognizable.

Your baby is now the size of a raspberry and measures about half an inch.

Your task list is growing. If you have not done so, make sure that you schedule your prenatal visit.

Headaches may become a nuisance. This is likely due to the increase in blood volume you are experiencing, but it may be a good idea to discuss this with your health provider.

Most medications are not recommended during pregnancy, but your health provider may recommend acetaminophen as a safer alternative to ibuprofen or aspirin.

If you once had clear and perfect skin, you may now be feeling the effects of the pregnancy. You may begin noticing facial skin changes, such as dark spots, or melasma. Try applying SPF 15 before you go out.

Around this time, symptoms of pregnancy might become a bother and become frustrating.

If you feel exhausted, consider calling in some family and friend favors and asking for help.

As with earlier weeks, you find out that there are many lifestyle modifications that need to be made during pregnancy and even after delivery.

General health

During pregnancy, you will need to take care of yourself and your developing baby.

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Walking and swimming are good ways of keeping fit during pregnancy.

It is important not to drink alcohol or smoke during pregnancy, and to avoid all other toxic substances at this time.

Not only recreational drugs but also many prescription and over-the-counter medications should be avoided, as they may cross the placenta and affect the unborn baby.

A pharmacist or health provider can advise you on whether on to continue any existing medications and which drugs are safe to take in case of headaches, indigestion, and other issues that may arise.

Make sure you follow a healthy diet and take a good prenatal vitamin, including folic acid. Your health provider will advise you on this.

Prenatal vitamins are available for purchase online, but do not take any supplements without first checking with your doctor.

It can also help to get 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise, such as yoga, walking, or swimming.

Speak with your health provider about any current or planned exercise regime, to make sure it is safe.

Beauty

Permanent hair color should be avoided during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, use a semi-permanent dye.

Food

Your gut may be causing you trouble, and you may be running to the bathroom with your hand over your mouth.

To help alleviate some of the gastrointestinal symptoms you are experiencing, such as nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, and constipation you can try some of the following tips.

Constipation: Add more fiber to your diet by including more fresh fruits and vegetables on your plate.

Nausea and vomiting: Try eating foods that have ginger in them, possibly some tummy-soothing, nonalcoholic ginger ale to help settle your stomach.

Products that may help relieve nausea during pregnancy are available for purchase online. You should check with your doctor that these are suitable for you to use.

Cravings

These are a normal part of pregnancy, but some cravings are considered abnormal and may be due to certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Craving things such as clay, ice, starch or other non-food items, can signify that you have something called pica. Discuss this with your health provider.

Other concerns

You should call your doctor if there are symptoms that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy loss.

These include vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue, leaking vaginal fluid, feeling faint or dizzy, low blood pressure, rectal pressure, shoulder pain and severe pelvic pain or cramping.

Urinary tract infection

There is a higher risk of a urinary tract infection during pregnancy.

If you notice symptoms that do not seem to come from pregnancy and that may indicate an infection, or if you are concerned about any other changes, you should see your health provider.

Recent news on pregnancy from MNT

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