Congratulations! If you didn’t find out by 4 weeks, chances are you’ll almost certainly know you’re expecting by now. Even if your pregnancy came as a surprise, those dreaded early symptoms generally start to show up around this time, which can make your new little lodger difficult to ignore.
Planned or unplanned, it’s normal for emotions to be running high during the early weeks of any pregnancy. Hormone levels are surging, energy levels are plummeting, and the reality is still sinking in… I’m going to be a mom!
Whether you’re in need of support, advice, or simply commiseration, why not come and join our active Momberries community to talk all things pregnancy with your fellow moms and moms-to-be?
Need To Know
Over the past four weeks, your baby has grown from the size of an apple seed to that of a raspberry, and key features like the face, knee and elbow joints, and fingers and toes are starting to develop. And he or she has also received their first promotion! From 8 weeks onwards, your baby-to-be is officially considered a fetus, rather than an embryo.
You may have been expecting to feel those fabled early pregnancy symptoms — like nausea, breast tenderness, and fatigue — from the very moment of conception, but the most common time for symptoms to start is actually around the 6 week mark, as hormone levels rise rapidly.
The onset, duration and severity of symptoms varies hugely from woman to woman, from pregnancy to pregnancy, and even from day to day, so don’t worry if you don’t “feel” pregnant some or all of the time. Around 20% of expectant mothers experience no sickness at all — if you’re one of them, count yourself lucky!
At the other end of the spectrum, up to 2% of women struggle with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, also called hyperemesis gravidarum. If your sickness is seriously impacting on your quality of life, or you’re finding it difficult to keep food or drink down, see your doctor: there are several anti-nausea medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, which could make a world of difference to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Do you know which foods to avoid now that you’ve got a baby on board? Most of it is common sense: raw fish, undercooked eggs or poultry, and unpasteurized dairy products all make the list, because of the risk of food poisoning. You should also cut out or limit certain types of large fish — including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and albacore tuna — which contain high levels of mercury.
Good To Have
There are various home remedies for pregnancy sickness that our members swear by, from boiled sweets and bananas to vit B6 and sea-bands. You can find more tried and tested tips and tricks in this thread from the Nameberry Forums.
You may have noticed that your clothes and underwear are starting to feel a little tight, as your breasts and belly are beginning to expand. You’ll be shopping in the maternity department before you know it, but in the meantime try attaching a removable bump band (or even a strategically placed hair tie) to your regular jeans for a few extra weeks of wear.
Time To Do
You’ll probably have your first prenatal checkup with your chosen healthcare provider at around 8 weeks pregnant. No matter whether you opt for obstetrician or midwife-led care, your first appointment will largely follow the same pattern: a detailed health history questionnaire, followed by information about lifestyle changes, screening tests and vaccinations relevant to your pregnancy.
Depending on your healthcare provider and your past history, you may even have an early scan at or before 8 weeks, especially if you’ve had problems conceiving or retaining pregnancies in the past, or are experiencing any worrying symptoms. Very early scans (at 6-7 weeks or before) are most likely to be transvaginal, which is more effective at this early stage — and not as scary as it sounds!
If you have a physically demanding job or work in an environment where there is a risk of exposure to chemicals or organisms that could harm your pregnancy, you might want to consider letting your boss and close colleagues know early on that you are expecting. Your role and responsibilities may need to change for a little while, in order to minimize the risks for you and your growing baby.
In Search Of Name Nirvana
Now that you know there’s an actual tiny human in the picture, it’s time to start thinking more seriously about baby names.
Maybe you’ve always known that your first daughter would be Lily, or that you’d name your eldest son after your grandfather, Robert? Perfect. But if that’s not you (or if, alas, your partner doesn’t agree), then you might need to look further afield for inspiration.
A great way to gather ideas and get a handle on your naming style is to browse through some of the thousands of original baby name lists on Nameberry: from Cool Vintage Names to Modern Word Names to Baby Names Inspired By The Beatles.
A fun idea might be to focus your search around names linked to your baby’s month or season of birth, like Winter Names, Nature Names, or Perfect Pisces Names. Be adventurous: it’s amazing how and when inspiration can suddenly strike!