Fetal Development at Week 8 of Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 17, 2012

When you are 8 weeks pregnant or at week 6 of gestation, fetal development has reached the following stage. The embryo is about ¾ inches in length (18mm). The bones for arms and legs continue to harden and grow. Joints are forming as well. The location of the toes and elbows are visible. The baby’s arms can flex at the elbows and the wrists. Fingers and toes have started to form but are webbed and short. Facial features are visible too. Your baby’s eyes, nose and upper lip have formed. The baby’s mouth and nostrils are starting to develop too. The baby’s tongue and palate are also developing by now.


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Week By Week Fetal Development

The baby’s taste buds are also forming on his tongue. The eyes are now visible too and can be seen as small hollows on each side of the head. The eyes have a retina and a lens.

The baby’s eyelids cover most of his eyes. The ears also continue to develop although they are still located low on the head. The baby’s skin is paper thin and the veins are visible. The embryonic tail has almost disappeared and your baby’s trunk is starting to straighten out. Your fetus will still have a tail but it will be much smaller than before. Around this time the bones and cartilage are also beginning to form. Fetal development at week 8 also includes movement. Your baby will have started to move but you will not feel the movement until much later in the pregnancy. The embryo reacts to the environment inside the amniotic sac and swims and moves around in it. All your baby’s organs, muscles and nerves are beginning to function. By week 8, fetal development would also include that the major muscle system in your baby is developed. Your baby’s brain is still bigger than the rest of his body. The hindbrain starts to develop at this stage too. The hindbrain is responsible for heart regulation, muscle movements and breathing. By week 8, fetal development includes the baby producing its own blood cells by the liver, instead of the yolk sac. The baby also has its own blood type by now. Teeth are already beginning to develop under the gums. The pituitary gland is also beginning to form. The baby’s intestines move out of the umbilical cord and into the abdomen. The heart continues to develop but at a slower pace. It has already divided into right and left chambers and beats about 150 beats a minute.

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