At week 8 movements can be seen on ultrasound, you won’t be able to feel it yet but you can see it. The baby is about ½ inch long and very active. On ultrasound you can see a body and a head. It may even be possible to see the beginnings of the arm and leg buds that are developing. The heart is beating and can be clearly heard and seen on an ultrasound. You can not hear the heart beat yet with the office pocket doppler.
As the HCG levels continue to rise the symptoms of pregnancy start to worsen. Breast tenderness and swelling, fatigue, and nausea and vomiting are all common. For some there are little or no symptoms but for many women the nausea and vomiting can become very significant by week 8. If you do not have any of these early symptoms of pregnancy or if you had them and they are gone, don’t be worried it is not a warning sign of problems.
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can become a big issue for some women. The so called ‘morning sickness’ can really be all day or night. There are many things that can be done to improve the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Ginger candies can help for some people. Eating small amounts frequently throughout the day can help as well. If the stomach becomes empty, the nausea tends to get worse. Almost constant snacking on easily digested foods can be very helpful. I recommend putting snack foods like crackers or peanuts at the bedside so if you wake up in the middle of the night you can eat a quick snack. This can cut down on the nausea in the morning. If the nausea and vomiting gets severe and is not helped by these tricks, there are prescription medications that are safe in pregnancy that your doctor can prescribe. Remember to concentrate on getting fluids down, dehydration tends to escalate the problems and make everything worse. Fluids with some calories such as Gatorade or juice can be especially beneficial.
Many of my patients are worried about losing weight at this stage in pregnancy. You certainly should not be on a strict calorie restrictive diet but if you are losing weight because of the nausea it is generally ok. The baby will take the nutrition it needs from you even if you feel you are not eating enough. It is common to lose a few pounds in the first trimester if you are experiencing significant nausea and vomiting.
A prenatal vitamin is important to try to take each day. If you find that it is hard to keep it down you might experiment with different brands. They do make gummy prenatals that are easier for some to handle. If all else fails you can build a prenatal by combining 1 mg of folic acid and 2 children’s chewable vitamins.