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Paternity Testing

8 weeks gestation – a time of big change

At 8 weeks your baby is about the size and shape of a kidney bean. Although you’re probably not showing yet, you may certainly feel pregnant.

8 to 10 weeks gestation is the time that Ultrasound Care recommends ultrasound and an early dating scan for non-high-risk pregnancies.

It’s been a month now since you missed your period, and even though you may still look the same, really large changes are happening in your body and your baby.

What to expect at 8 weeks gestation

Your baby will now have defined arm and legs, although there is still substantial work to do in completing development. Fingers and toes are beginning to form, although the fingers are not yet separated from each other but webbed together. The eyes are also forming, although your baby’s eyelids will stay closed until around 24 weeks. The placenta will now be forming in a single location on the wall of the uterus and will be connecting with your blood vessels to ensure a good supply to fuel further growth and development.

Why is baby’s heart beating so quickly?

 By 8 weeks gestation the baby and its heartbeat can be detected relatively easily with trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal examination. The baby’s heart is beating strongly at a rate of somewhere between 110- 180 beats per minute.  This is significantly faster than your adult heart and happens because the embryo has a lot of work to do, growing a placenta as well as formation of the internal organs and limbs. 

How are you feeling?

 You may be experiencing a wide range of symptoms at this time, from hardly being aware of the pregnancy, to severe nausea and vomiting.  Some women are lucky and have no symptoms, others have a really hard time. Around 80% of women experience at least some nausea in early pregnancy, and around 20% of women will find it to be disabling. Those who suffer from disabling nausea and/or vomiting are said to be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum.  In some cases, hospitalisation may be required.

What can you do if you are suffering from severe nausea?

 The symptom of hyperemesis which causes the most distress is not vomiting, but nausea. The nausea of pregnancy may be exacerbated by movement and smells, and it may be very difficult to prepare or eat food of any type. If this is you, bland starchy carbohydrates can be very helpful. Common triggers include large amounts of protein or fats, tea and coffee, and spicy foods. 

If your nausea and vomiting is severe, speak to your doctor, as there are also medications that may be of help to you. For many women the nausea and vomiting peaks at around 10 weeks and then start to decline, so hang in there.  Fortunately, most first trimester nausea will eventually stop.

Ultrasound Care recommends the first ultrasound scan be undertaken at 6-7 weeks gestation for high-risk pregnancies and otherwise at 8-10 weeks gestation.

If you would like to find out more about your first ultrasound scan or dating scan and what is involved and can be seen, please click here to visit our Dating Scan page or call us at a location of your choice to arrange for an appointment.

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