The heart, now correctly shaped, is pumping at about 150 beats per minute, about twice the adult rate. This is necessary for its growth, development and for the transportation of nutrients and waste products. So the function and circulation are now more fully developed. Look at the head; the facial features are beginning to appear. The tip of the nose is present! The eyes are still so far apart that they appear to be on the sides. But there are eyelids beginning to form. And the ears are developing both internally and externally. Now the sensory organs are really in place. You can now see the paddle-shaped hands, and you can just make out where the fingers will develop, and a foot with toe rays. And the nervous system is now well-connected, because the wrists and elbows may be able to flex, and therefore your baby is already moving! But you won’t be able to feel it for weeks. Your baby now has the facilities for the primary inner organs. You can see the brain stem! Illustration by Karoline Lenhult
Are you experiencing mood swings? Blame the hormonal changes. But also, if you are tired and feeling sick all the time you’re entitled to some bad temper. Definitely. If you are used to exercising regularly, go ahead and continue to do so throughout the pregnancy. But listen to your body. Between the 8th and the 12th week you should register with a LMC (lead maternity carer). This can be a midwife, specialist or GP. Do take your partner with you! Remember that you can tell everything and ask anything; there certainly isn’t a single question LMCs haven’t heard before. Before pregnancy, your uterus was about the size of a fist, after six weeks the size of an orange. You can actually feel the growth. It feels like cramping or even pain in your lower abdomen or at your sides; somewhat like period pains. There is nothing to worry about – but if the cramps or contractions are accompanied by bleeding, you should call your LMC.