8 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week?

Your baby…

  • average length 13 mm
  • weighs about 1 gram – as much as 1 paperclip
  • eyes more obvious as they have begun to develop colour in the retina
  • fingers and toes beginning to form
  • floats in a pool of protective liquid called amniotic fluid
  • the gonads become either ovaries or testes
  • bones are beginning to harden (ossification)
  • heart is beating around 120-160 beats per minute.


  • placenta covers approximately 1/3 of the lining of the uterus
  • uterus has doubled in size (although you can’t see anything yet)
  • could notice that you need to urinate more often as the growing uterus presses on your bladder.

There are ways to cope with the discomforts of early pregnancy… we’ll help you find the ones that work for you!


Many women get heartburn. It’s a burning feeling in your stomach, sometimes rising up into your throat, and it has nothing to do with your heart! Eating little and often can help. If heartburn keeps you awake at night, eat early rather than late in the evening. Antacids can help, too. Ask your LMC or at the chemist for a safe antacid. Take them separately from a meal as antacids can affect iron absorption.

Eating ‘little and often’

In early pregnancy, several small meals are often easier to cope with than two or three large ones. Try these ideas; they’ll also help you make every meal count in that they provide good nutrition for you and your growing baby:

  • sandwiches with hard cheese and slices of kiwifruit
  • well-cooked scrambled egg with grilled tomatoes
  • wholemeal bagel with cucumber and marmite or vegemite and a small salad
  • fruit salad with bio-yoghurt and a sprinkling of muesli
  • sandwiches; try beef and horseradish (ensure the beef is hot, as cold cuts are a listeria risk), cheese and onion, canned salmon and dill, pilchards and a squeeze of lemon, tuna and avocado
  • slice of pizza with salad
  • cheese, crackers and grapes
  • hot chocolate with a wholemeal scone and jam
  • ginger or digestive biscuits with cheese spread
  • toasted sandwich with cheese, perhaps mozzarella and tomato
  • mashed potatoes with low-fat cheese plus some baked beans
  • home-made soups with plenty of vegetables and pulses (peas, beans, lentils)

And to drink…? Mix and match, orange juice, apple and mango juice, a glass of milk or fortified soy milk, sparkling water, tomato juice.

Budget beaters

Eating well on a budget is a challenge… but it can be done!

  1. shop for bargains; choose supermarket own brands and special offers
  2. look for foods reduced in price near the sell-by date
  3. get to know the best value supermarket around
  4. plan ahead and buy only the ingredients you need and only in quantities you will use
  5. make meat go further by adding pulses (peas, beans, lentils) to casseroles
  6. choose seasonal vegetables and fruits; they are often cheaper… and nicer!

Young mothers need to eat well

If you’re a teenager, you need good food for yourself and your baby because you’re both growing! When you’re out with friends, it’s tempting to eat foods like burgers or chips. You may think it’s hard to afford ‘good’ food, but eating bread, cereals, cheese, lean meat, canned fish, fruits (fresh, dried, canned or frozen) will help you get the nutrients you need, especially calcium and iron. And it will usually cost less than eating fast food.

Not eating to try to stop gaining weight (and perhaps ‘stopping it showing’) won’t work. The best thing you can do is eat well because both you and your baby will benefit in the long run.

Hyperemesis gravidarum

This is an unusual form of pregnancy sickness which can cause dehydration as a result of excessive vomiting. See your LMC if you feel very ill and are being sick several times a day for more than three days.

6 Ways to cope with feeling sick

  1. hunger can make it worse; try eating little and often.
  2. eat a plain biscuit or piece of toast before you get out of bed, and get up slowly.
  3. ginger helps some women; try ginger biscuits, tea or tablets.
  4. try acupressure bands (first developed to help with seasickness).  You can find them at chemists and health food shops.
  5. try drinking flat lemonade.
  6. drinking warm peppermint water or sucking peppermints sometimes helps.