Week 10 of Your Pregnancy
Week 10 of Your Pregnancy
As you approach the last few weeks of the first trimester, you are probably starting to see and feel some changes. If you experienced morning sickness, which typically begins around 6 weeks, you can look forward that that improving or going away over the next couple of weeks. Most women stop being sick after about 12 weeks so the end is in sight. If you haven't had other noticeable changes, you will start to experience some at this point in your pregnancy.
Before you became pregnant, your uterus was only about the size of a small closed fist. By week 10, it has expanded to around the size of an average grapefruit. Although by this point, you should only have gained 2 or 3 pounds, most women notice a bit of bulge around this time. You may not be ready for maternity clothes yet, but it's very likely that you clothes are feeling a bit snug.
Your breasts may feel a bit fuller and heavier, possibly even making your bras uncomfortable. They may also be a bit sore, due to either hormones, growing or both. Many women find this a good time to try a sports bra for the added comfort or you could start looking at maternity bras.
You've likely been more emotional than normal the past few weeks. Most women in early pregnancy find it similar to a rollercoaster – lows, highs and even loop-de-loops. This is caused by the hormone levels fluctuating, but if you've been dealing with morning sickness and fatigue, that doesn't help. Don't worry too much about this, as your hormones usually level off as you start the second trimester.
Your Baby in Week 10
Congratulations! Your tadpole slash alien is now starting to look a lot more like a baby this week. Even though the head is still about half of the total length, there is a definite separation beginning from the head to the body. The forehead does bulge out, in preparation for all the brain growth and development that is starting to happen at a dizzying pace.
The tail-like end of the developing spinal cord has disappeared by this week and as the spine straightens over the next several weeks, the head will continue to pull up from the chest and develop a real neck. The face is starting to form in a more recognizable configuration, with the ears moving into place and the nose and upper lip taking shape.
Teeth buds are beginning to form, although teeth won't appear until the baby's around six months old. Hair is just beginning to appear and the baby can now hear as the workings of the inner ear have fully formed at this point. The eyelids are not transparent anymore, but the eyes do remain closed until about week 27 of the pregnancy.
Your baby's brain is rapidly growing at this stage, with 25,000 new neurons being produced every single minute. The brain already has formed the basic divisions that will hold the various lobes. The skeleton is growing and becoming harder, turning into real bones. Fingernails and toenails are also beginning to be visible during the tenth week of gestation.
The skin remains translucent over much of the baby's body but the 'peach fuzz' usually seen on newborns begins to develop. Through that skin, the outline of the spine and the spinal nerves are visible. All of the major organs are in place and functioning to some degree. The kidneys, especially, are working well and the baby is already producing urine.
Many wonder how the baby can urinate without eating yet, but it is actually swallowing amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid helps the digestive and the respiratory systems develop. The baby is beginning to get ready to breathe when it is born.
The liver is now producing red blood cells which replaces the yolk sac that is diminishing at this point in the pregnancy. This is normal, as the baby no longer needs that sac to provide nutrition as the now formed and functional placenta takes over. The heart has formed the four chambers it needs to function properly at this point, even though it's usually too soon to hear it beating.
The baby now measures roughly 1.5 inches from the top of its head to the bottom and weights around a quarter of an ounce. For all the miniature size, the baby now has distinct fingers and toes, having lost the earlier webbing, and the arms and legs can now bend. The genitals are forming but aren't developed enough yet to detect in a sonogram. However, if the baby is a boy, he is producing testosterone at this point.
At the end of this week, your baby is no longer considered an embryo but is now a fetus. During the next few months of fetal development, the most rapid growth is going to occur. At this point in time, the risk for developing physical birth defects lowers dramatically.
Your Body in Week 10
Even though most women have only gained two or three pounds by this point, your body is undergoing changes almost as rapidly as your baby. You've probably noticed a bit of bulge in your lower abdomen, especially if you were particularly slender prior to pregnancy. This is unlikely enough to be visible to anyone except yourself at this point.
One very common thing to happen to your body at this stage is constipation. There are two factors that contribute to the now sluggish muscles of the large intestines. One is the iron in most pre-natal vitamins. The other is the pregnancy hormones raging through your body. If this is an issue for you, make sure to drink plenty of water, eat whole grains and other sources of fiber, and exercise regularly in some way.
At this point in the pregnancy, many women notice that they can see a lot of their veins across both their breasts and their abdomen. The fairer the skin, the more noticeable these will be. This road map of blue veins is caused by the up to 40% increase in blood volume during pregnancy. The increased blood supply is needed to provide nutrition and oxygen to the growing baby. Before you start worrying, those will disappear after your baby is born.
Another thing many women notice about this time is that their facial skin gets dry. This may be from the moisture taken away by the blood flow, but we're not entirely sure of the cause. Drinking lots of water and using a good moisturizer will take care of this issue.
Week 10 Pregnancy Symptoms
There are a number of common pregnancy symptoms you are likely to experience at the tenth week of your pregnancy, if you haven't been already seeing them. Of course, every pregnancy is different so you may only experience one or two of these symptoms or you could find yourself with all of them.
Fatigue - Low energy levels and overall tiredness are perfectly normal during the first trimester and tend to peak about week 10. Your body is working overtime getting everything set up to nurture your baby and that can take a lot out of you. Regular exercise can help perk up flagging energy levels, but don't be afraid to take a nap when you need to.
Morning sickness – The nausea and/or vomiting of morning sickness is likely still affecting you at this point, unless you were one of the lucky few to escape. Try to keep something in your stomach at all times by making sure you eat at every meal plus have small snacks every couple of hours. If the vomiting is extreme and you're not keeping anything down, talk to your doctor.
Headaches – All those whacked out hormone levels can give a girl a real pain - in the head, that is. Being overtired, hungry or stressed out can also trigger a headache. Some fresh air could help or lying down in the dark. If necessary, take acetaminophen. It's best to avoid other pain relievers while pregnant, unless the doctor specifically recommends a different med.
Light-headedness – All the movies that show pregnant women fainting actually have a basis in fact. Of course, only a few women actually faint, but that's Hollywood for you. Dizziness or faintness can be caused by that increased blood flow we talked about earlier. Even though this is almost always normal, you should report such incidents to your doctor so they can monitor things.
Heartburn – Contrary to popular belief, heartburn does not mean that you'll have a baby with lots of hair. Heartburn during pregnancy is caused more by your growing uterus pushing up on your stomach, which in turn can push stomach acid back into the esophagus. To keep discomfort to a minimum, never lie down directly after eating a meal and if needed, sleep with the head and upper body raised. Tums may help, but always ask your doctor before taking anything while pregnant.
Acne – All those hormones bouncing around inside can cause your skin to produce more oil than normal. This oil blocks pores and can lead to breakouts, even if you outgrew that stage years ago. Using a good facial cleanser twice per day can help minimize breakouts. Most women find this improves in the second trimester once the hormones level off, but if not, it will go away once you have the baby.
Vaginal discharge – This is another symptom that's triggered by the increased blood flow in the pelvic region. Your body will produce more mucus and you may see a thin, milky discharge. This is nothing to worry about and you should not use anything special to wipe or wash the area. If the discharge becomes thicker, changes color or has an odor, let your doctor know in case you have an infection.
Flatulence – Those sluggish muscles in your upper intestines aren't going to keep gas from moving down the intestinal tract and out. You won't have as much control as usual over gas so it's best to try to avoid gassy foods like beans or broccoli. Thanks to the constipation so common at this time, you may find your gas to be more odoriferous than usual, too.
Back and lower abdominal pain – The tenth week of pregnancy is a little early for these aches and pains, but it does happen for some women, especially if they've gained more than a couple of pounds. As you grow and your center of gravity changes, all the ligaments are stretching out and pressure is being put on nerves that don't usually feel that pressure. As a result, you may feel aching in your lower belly or even sharp pains down your legs. Sit or lie down and put your feet up to relieve the pressure and get more comfortable.
Cravings – Many women experience cravings for particular foods. These foods aren't always unusual, like the standard pickles and ice cream jokes, but they can be for almost anything. Sometimes these cravings get pretty intense. Some people swear that cravings are caused by your body needing some nutrient, but there is no scientific evidence to back that up.
Coming Up Next
You have only about three weeks to the end of the first trimester. During the second trimester, your hormones usually stabilize, the morning sickness is usually gone, and all sorts of things happen as your baby grows. The next doctor's appointment you have should let you hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time, always an exciting and awe-inspiring event.
Your baby is now looking like a baby. The next few months will see that baby grow incredibly rapidly. In a few weeks, you will start to feel the baby quickening – those first movements that only you can feel as the baby begins to move its arms and legs around.
The majority of the morning sickness is past and soon you should stop feeling that altogether. You will likely have more energy in the next few weeks, as well, so enjoy this time. You're a quarter of the way through the pregnancy.
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