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8 weeks pregnant

8 weeks pregnant + zinc A supporting role

Summary

During week 8, your baby’s facial features are becoming more defined. Less excitingly, morning sickness may be reaching its peak around now. We hope the following suggestions provide at least a little relief. When you can tolerate food, be sure to include some rich sources of zinc on your plate. Discover how this mineral supports your baby’s cells and which foods are good sources.

Hello foetus

By the time you’re 8 weeks pregnant, your baby is roughly 1.6cm long1. At this stage, their newly formed jawbone gives more definition to their tiny mouth, and the tip of their nose is now visible, featuring two distinct nostrils2.

"Your baby’s development at 8 weeks"

Internally, cartilage is being replaced by bone cells and joints2, and their legs are growing longer, although it’s too early to see knees and upper or lower legs yet3.

At 8 weeks, your baby is medically called a foetus, which is Latin for young one or offspring. Incredibly, they are already starting to make small, jerky movements as their muscles begin to function. It will be several weeks before these are strong enough for you to notice2.

Feeling queasy?

Morning sickness affects two out of three pregnant women during early pregnancy. Although nausea may be more noticeable in the morning it can occur at any time, day or night. It’s usually at its worst around week 8 and for another few weeks, but by 12 to 14 weeks most mums are relieved to feel the symptoms fade completely.

Some mums-to-be experience morning sickness beyond the first trimester, and queasiness may come and go throughout pregnancy. It’s worth remembering that nausea is usually a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Try these age-old suggestions to ease your morning sickness symptoms4:

  • Get a good night’s sleep and plenty of rest during the day.
  • Eat a dry cracker, toast or plain biscuit before getting out of bed.
  • Eat little and often to keep something in your stomach.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. If drinking is proving difficult, ice lollies, home made fruit juice ice cubes or simply sips of whatever you can stomach will keep you hydrated.
  • Include ginger in your diet, either as a freshly infused tea or non-alcoholic ginger beer.
  • Motion sickness bands can be effective. They are worn on the wrist and positioned to press on an acupuncture point.

Bear in mind that your body may respond differently on different days. Keep experimenting and if you’re concerned that you’re not eating enough because of your nausea, let your midwife or GP know.

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Zinc: Supporting new life

Zinc supports the body on a cellular level. It plays a role in constructing, dividing and protecting cells, as well as normal immune function and vision. It also contributes to normal cognitive development, reproduction, fertility and bone health5. A healthy, balanced diet is likely to provide all the zinc you need6.

"Most prenatal multivitamins contain high levels of zinc but it’s wise to eat food sources too.”

The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of zinc for women of childbearing age is 7mg per day7. Zinc deficiency is rare and eating a well-balanced pregnancy diet will reduce any associated risks.

Next Steps

Eat more of the following foods to ensure an adequate intake of zinc:

  • Zinc-fortified cereals
  • Red meat such as beef and lamb
  • Poultry, especially turkey
  • Wholegrain bread and cereals
  • Nuts
  • Milk, cheese and eggs

View references

Hide references

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1. Papaioannou GI et al. Normal ranges of embryonic length, embryonic heart rate, gestational sac diameter and yolk sac diameter at 6-10 weeks. Fetal Diagn Ther 2010;28(4):207-19.

2. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p. 32.

3. NHS UK. You and your baby at 0-8 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-4-5-6-7-8.aspx [Accessed June 2014]

4. NHS UK. Nausea and morning sickness [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/morning-sickness-nausea.aspx [Accessed June 2014]

5. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health Text with EEA relevance. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.

6. NHS UK. Vitamins and minerals – others [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-minerals/pages/other-vitamins-minerals.aspx#zinc [Accessed June 2014]

7. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.

Last reviewed: 7th July 2016

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