Prenatal Development: Week 8
As soon as you know that you are pregnant, either from a home pregnancy test or from a blood test taken at your doctor, it's already time to arrange your first prenatal appointment!
Starting Prenatal Care
You may only be 8 weeks pregnant, but it's never too soon to start with prenatal care. You can choose from many different kinds of health care professionals who will monitor you throughout your pregnancy. These include obstetricians, nurse practitioners, midwives, or family doctors. You may want to consult our prenatal questionnaire to help you decide on your cargeiver. Most of the medical practitioners prefer to see you now that you have already missed two periods. They prefer to do it this way so they can cut down on false pregnancies and miscarriages.
Be sure to make your prenatal appointments a top priority as good prenatal care is very important for both the health and birth of your baby. It's best to be prepared for your first prenatal visit, so take some time and familiarize yourself with your family's health history. Review your medical records. Ask yourself the following questions and jot down the answers. Have you had any chronic illnesses, do you have any allergies, or have you had any surgeries? Are you taking any prescription medications? Are you aware of any genetic disorders that run in your family? Is your menstrual cycle regular? Have you had any past pregnancies? Are you a smoker? Do you drink alcohol? What kind of exercise do you do?
These are the subjects your health care provider will want to go over when you arrive, so it's best give these things some thought. Write down the answers so you'll have it all at your have fingertips when you go.
What to Expect
At this first appointment, the following will take place:
- Urine Sample (protein, hCG, etc.)
- Blood Pressure Test
- Weight (baseline)
- Pelvic Exam (size of uterus, cysts, coloring of cervix)
- Pap Smear (some practitioners do this now, others wait)
- Blood (Rh factor, iron levels, immunities, specifically rubella)
- Family History (complications that may be predictable)
By the end of the week, your baby will be about 0.61 inches (16mm), crown to rump. At this stage, the brain is clearly visible, as well as the gonads which are developing into either testes or ovaries.
The digestive system continues to develop. The anus is now formed and the intestines are growing longer. Bone formation starts this week; elbow joints and toe rays will now start to be visible. Your baby's fingers and toes are just beginning to form this week and the arms can now flex at the elbows and wrists.
In addition, more facial developments are happening, including the formation of the tip of the nose and the upper lip. Flaps of skin over the eyes have begun to shape into eyelids. As well, blood begins to flow through a rudimentary circulatory system, while the digestive tract continues to grow, especially the intestines. And if this isn't enough for one week, spontaneous movement also begins now!
Select a week of development to read detailed information:
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