october 2018

8-12 weeks pregnant – the forming of your foetus

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You are still in the first trimester of your pregnancy but your baby is transforming rapidly. Once you have reached 11 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is no longer referred to medically as an 'embryo' and the term 'foetus' is used from now until birth.

Week 8

Your baby is developing webbed hands and feet. They are making movements, but you won’t be able to feel these yet, as your baby is about the size of a kidney bean.

If you haven’t confirmed your pregnancy by booking with a midwife, you may want to do so. This will enable you to access information, to book your dating scan, to discuss if you would like any screening tests and to talk about any general worries or queries you may have.

Week 9

Your baby has all their internal organs in place, such as the heart, lungs, liver, brain and kidneys, although they are still very immature and are continuing to develop. Your baby is about 20mm in length.

Week 10

Your baby is starting to bend their arms and legs to make movements. Your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit and your baby weighs about 3 grams.

Week 11

The bones in your baby’s face have formed and their ears are starting to develop. Your baby’s eyes are developing but are covered by their eyelids, which won’t open for a few months yet.

Week 12

Your baby is the size of a plum. Body parts and internal organs have formed, and your baby just needs to continue growing.

If you have booked with a midwife, a dating scan should have been offered at around this time. If you are unsure about the date of your last period, this scan can tell how far along your pregnancy is, predicting your due date as well as checking the development of your baby.

Many families feel as though this milestone is the right time for them to announce their pregnancy to family and friends, if they have managed to keep their exciting news secret for this long!

Checklist for the 1st trimester

  • Remember to continue taking folic acid at the recommended dose, as there is robust research which suggests this can help to reduce neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
  • Try to eat a healthy balanced diet, preferably rich in vitamins and nutrients, whilst avoiding foods that are not recommended, including alcohol.
  • Ask your midwife about pre-natal tests. There are a few different ones available, some of which are free and some that are offered at a cost to you. Testing usually includes blood tests and ultrasound checks for any abnormalities with your baby. These tests are about your personal choices, so always take time to think if they are right for you and if you want to have them.
  • Stay well hydrated to help with any sickness and nausea. Plain, bland foods may help, as may food and drink infused with ginger.
  • Spend some time thinking about where you would like to have your baby. There are several options, which include; at home, at a midwife-led unit, or at a consultant led unit in a hospital.
  • You can ask at your midwife appointment about claiming for exemption from any prescription charges.

Stay tuned for our next week-by-week instalment – 12-16 weeks pregnant.

If you missed what happens from 0-4 weeks and 4-8 weeks of pregnancy, take a look at our previous blogs on getting pregnant and the early developments of your baby.