Pregnancy: Week 10

By the tenth week of your pregnancy, you’re probably feeling pretty crummy from the morning sickness, headaches, and other unpleasant side effects that come along with pregnancy. Fortunately, week 10 is often a time of relief for many pregnant women, as their baby starts to really take shape and can be seen fairly clearly on their tenth-week ultrasound, and as many of their symptoms start to subside.

Physiological Development

At week ten, your baby is no longer an embryo—it is now a fetus. He/she (week ten is still too early to tell the sex) is roughly the size of a kumquat and shaped like a cocktail shrimp, measuring about one inch in length.

At this point, tooth buds, fingernails, cartilage, and bones are beginning to form and grow, and your little one is sprouting hair. Fingers and toes are no longer webbed, and while the fetus cannot see anything at this point, as the eyelids are still fused closed, he/she can hear you as her inner ear is fully formed. Your baby’s vital organs are formed and beginning to function, and its forehead will appear to be slightly bulge-y as the brain continues to develop (don’t worry, it’ll look more baby-like by the time it comes out). At this stage, a fetus’s head is half the length of his/her body, making them appear almost like a bobblehead doll in utero.

 Additionally, if you were not aware of its presence before, you should be now, as your mini-me has working arm joints and is starting to kick. He/she is also swallowing large amounts of fluid and creating digestive juices.

Your Ten Week Ultrasound

Your ten-week ultrasound should show your little one engaging in jerky movements. Your baby’s translucent skin will allow you to see the functioning of its inner organs. The tenth week of ultrasound is also when many parents will be able to hear the heartbeat of their child for the first time.

Changes in You

By the tenth week, the morning sickness, dizziness, and headache begin to subside for most women, though if you find that they continue, there is nothing to worry about. Common tenth-week pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lower back and pelvic pain
  • Insomnia
  • Acne breakout (Yup, you get to relive your middle school years.)
  • Finding yourself on the stereotypical pregnant woman’s emotional rollercoaster
  • Weight gain
  • Tender breasts and overall changes in the breasts
  • Excessive hunger and thirst
  • Constipation
  • Shortness of breath

By this time, your uterus will have grown to the size of a grapefruit, and you may find yourself in between normal clothes and maternity wear. If this is the case, invest in some bottoms with forgiving elastic waistbands to make yourself more comfortable.

What You Should Be Doing

“Eating for two” does not mean “eat twice as much.” At most, you should add an extra 300 calories to your diet—and be sure to make those calories come from healthy food choices. You want to be sure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support both your health and that of your child.

Most women will be able to exercise throughout their pregnancy and indeed, it is recommended as greater tone, strength, and endurance can help with the baby’s weight and prep you for labor. Yoga is a great activity for pregnant women, as it promotes upper body tone and thigh muscles, as well as strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.

You may opt to have a CVS test (chorionic villus sampling test), which checks for genetic abnormalities. CVS tests are usually performed between the tenth and twelfth weeks in women who have a family history of genetic disease or who are over 35. A CVS test is much like amniocentesis.

Potential Problems

The risk of miscarriage is highest through week twelve. An early sign of miscarriage is vaginal spotting or bleeding and should you experience either, you should call your healthcare provider right away.

Conclusion

Congratulations—you’re almost through your first trimester, after which the pregnancy experience should become much easier and more enjoyable.

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