By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

By this time, the pregnancy is well established and you’re feeling the typical signs and symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea and fatigue. It’s an important time to make any necessary lifestyle changes, if you haven’t already done so (like stopping smoking or speaking with your doctor abut adjusting medications).

During this time, begin making these necessary medical appointments:

  • Call your doctor to make an appointment for your first prenatal visit. Most doctors want to see their patients before 8 to 10 weeks.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling an ultrasound or obtaining a heartbeat by Doppler to confirm a healthy pregnancy. An ultrasound during this period is very accurate at establishing your due date (it is sometimes called a “dating scan”) and can also tell you whether you’re having one, two, or even more babies! Your due date is most accurate when it is established by an ultrasound between 8 and 12 weeks.

    This is when most of the organ systems are beginning to form. The first organ to start working is the heart. It’s amazing to realize it starts beating at just 5 weeks, although you can’t see it beating on ultrasound until 6 weeks.

    The baby’s arms and legs are beginning to develop at this stage. The head is the biggest part of the embryo because the brain is the fastest-growing organ at this time. The placenta is rapidly growing and is now the way nutrients and oxygen get to your developing baby.

  • If you are taking any medications, call or see your doctor earlier than the 8 to 10 weeks mentioned. You want to make sure that these meds aren’t a problem for your developing baby. You should also discuss any over-the-counter or herbal medications you’re taking to make sure they aren’t a problem.

At the end of the eighth week, your baby measures 1.2 inches (30 mm) in length. Your uterus is about the size of a medium orange.