Pregnancy Tracker: Week 10

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 10




Your Baby at 10 Weeks Pregnant

Week 10 means you are in month 3 of your pregnancy and approaching the end of the first trimester. This may be good news for those experiencing unpleasant side effects, as they may soon begin to fade, but if you are one of the few lucky expectant mothers who have not experienced any pregnancy symptoms, you may now begin to notice changes.

Your baby is no longer called an embryo but a foetus! The terms refer to different stages in development. The embryonic phase is when vital organs are formed, as well as the arms and legs. A foetus is when these are already formed, and are developing, growing, and working together. Congenital abnormalities are less likely to develop after week 10.

Baby is roughly 4cm long and about the size of a wine cork! Hair and fingernails are starting to grow, ear canals are forming and tiny nostrils too. Baby is learning to swallow, while the stomach produces digestive juices, and the kidneys continue to produce urine. Knees, ankles and elbows flex as the foetus kicks and flails about in tiny jerky movements caused by synapses in the spinal cord. Baby’s heart is fully formed and is beating about 180 times a minute.

The brain is growing at a phenomenal rate and causes the forehead to bulge. The head end of the foetus is large and easily measures half the total length of the little body. The ‘tail’ has disappeared completely, and the foetus takes on an elongated shape. As the placenta has now taken over nourishment of the foetus, the yolk sac is no longer needed and begins to disappear.

Your Body at 10 Weeks Pregnant

The usual pregnancy symptoms still abound, with newly visible veins appearing across your breasts, belly, and chest. Your veins enlarge as your body produces more blood. Varicose veins in your legs may also start to appear, but happily they usually recede after birth.

Dizziness can also be experienced at this stage and is due to your body producing and pumping more blood through your veins. With your body having to work harder than usual, sometimes the blood flow to the brain is not rapid enough, which causes light-headedness.

Constipation can be a pesky symptom, caused by pregnancy hormones that make the muscles in the bowel sluggish. Eating foods high in fibre and drinking plenty of water, as well as getting regular exercise, will help alleviate this condition.

You may still be bothered by extreme tiredness for the next week or two, but hopefully by the start of the second trimester, fatigue will start to ease up a bit.

What you might be noticing in week 10 is a thickening of your waist or a rounding of your lower abdomen. This could be due to bloating, weight gain, multiple birth, or if this is not your first pregnancy. Your uterus is growing to accommodate the developing foetus, and is about the size of a grapefruit, so it is entirely possible for 10-week pregnant mum-to-be to boast a little bulge. If on the other hand you have not noticed a little bump, this is also within the norm. Each person is unique, and body shape – build, height, weight - plays a big part.

Vaginal discharge could be on the increase. This is nothing to worry about as long as it is mostly odourless and milky white. If there is a sudden change in smell or colour, speak to your healthcare provider.

Morning sickness often peaks around now because the pregnancy hormone hCG is at its highest level but take comfort in knowing that it is likely to start falling off at about 11 weeks, and four weeks after that the hCG levels have dropped to half what it was at 10 weeks.

Round ligament pain is possibly something you have not heard of before. It is caused by the stretching of ligaments that support your growing belly, and feels like a sharp, jabbing pain. Although it is more common in later pregnancy, it is sometimes evident towards the end of the first trimester.

Screening and Testing

Between now and 12 weeks your first prenatal appointment will take place. This is such an exciting visit as you will be able to ask all the questions that have been buzzing around in your head. You can expect to have about ten appointments during your pregnancy, and your healthcare provider will take you through the process.

Before your first appointment you should know if you wish to be seen by a GP, an obstetrician / gynaecologist, or a midwife, and if you wish to have anyone else present leading up to and during the birth, like a friend, a family member, or a doula. What is a doula, you ask? This is a non-medical person who would support you through pregnancy, labour, and birth, as well as give care and assistance to you as new parents after the birth.

At your antenatal check, your healthcare provider will discuss with you what kind of screening and testing is available.

All these tests are optional – it is your choice entirely if you wish to proceed with them or not. You may feel confused and overwhelmed by all the information thrown at you, and perhaps it would be a good idea to book an appointment with a genetic counsellor, who will carefully explain all the pros and cons of each test.

  • Non-invasive prenatal (NIPT) blood tests are available that checks for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
  • The nuchal translucency screening(NT Scan) is done between weeks 10 and 14 and tests for Down’s syndrome, as well as other chromosomal abnormalities.
  • The CVS (chorionic villus sampling) is done by collecting cells from the placenta to evaluate for possible genetic abnormalities.
  • If you decide to have an amniocentesis this will only take place later in the second trimester.
  • Gestational diabetes is fairly common, with about 20% of women developing it during pregnancy. It affects older or overweight women and can cause problems during pregnancy if not detected and managed. Symptoms are like those noted during normal pregnancy – thirst, frequent peeing, and fatigue – and can be confirmed during a routine urine test. This condition is limited to gestation and normally disappears at birth.

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