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Pregnancy

10 Weeks Pregnant—Starting to Glow

Now about the size of a kumquat, your baby has a functioning brain, liver, kidneys, and intestines. Though still tiny, with his working arms and legs, your baby’s beginning to look more recognizably like the newborn he will be in approximately 30 weeks.

You might notice pains in your abdomen as your it continues to stretch to accommodate your baby’s growth; this round ligament pain, as it’s called, is completely normal.

 

How big is my baby? 

Baby’s Length: 1.22 inches.

Baby’s Weight: 0.14 ounces.

How is my baby developing? 

Your baby’s getting active. He’s swimming, kicking around, and even swallowing, though he’s still too small for you to feel him. By now, the placenta has taken over the job of providing nourishment and oxygen to your baby. All his vital organs (brain, liver, kidneys, and intestines) have formed and are functioning. His stomach is producing digestive juices, his liver is secreting bile, and his kidneys are producing urine. Male fetuses are now producing testosterone.

On his tiny little fingers and toes, nails are starting to form, and the webbing between his digits is no longer visible. All of his limbs can now bend and flex, and so can his spine. He is looking much more human; however, his head is still disproportionately large, at half the length of his body.

Your baby’s brain is still developing rapidly, with about 250,000 neurons forming every minute! By the end of this week, he’ll be leaving the embryonic stage and beginning the fetal stage, which means he is far less susceptible to developmental dangers.

How is my body changing?

Your uterus has grown from roughly the size of a golf ball before pregnancy to about the size of a softball. Though your baby is tiny, this change in your uterus may make you feel ready for maternity clothes.

When your baby grows, you do too—but in some ways you might not expect. Your ligaments and muscles are stretching to accommodate your baby’s growth. You may notice round ligament pain in your abdomen as it stretches to allow for your baby’s growth. This pain can be intense, but it is completely normal. If you feel concerned about it, talk to your doctor. 

Since your breasts are already preparing for breastfeeding, you’re likely noticing an increase in breast size and tenderness. And yes, the morning sickness continues. Nausea may still be present as the levels of estrogen and progesterone continue to climb. Take comfort that, for many women, this nausea usually subsides in the second trimester. Experts believe this is because hormones that steadily increase in the first-trimester level off in the second trimester.

During this time, you might also notice more vaginal discharge; increased estrogen production, along with increased blood flow to the vagina, can cause leukorrhea, a clear, odorless discharge that helps your body get rid of bacteria.  

Especially if you’re fair-skinned, you may have started to notice a network of visible veins spreading like a map across your stomach and breasts. These veins serve an important purpose. All those blood vessels are working hard to supply a ton of extra blood to your baby. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases about 50%, and your blood vessels need to adapt to that. When you’ve given birth and finished breastfeeding, they will return to their original (and less visible) state.

The Waiting Game

If you’re waiting until the second trimester to share the news of your pregnancy, you might be having a hard time keeping the secret. But your miscarriage risks are declining. For many women, the fear of miscarriage subsides around this time. Once a heartbeat is detected, miscarriage risk goes down to about 3% and will continue to decrease each week.

You’re Glowing

There’s a reason people may have started complimenting you on your youthful, dewy glow. The pregnancy hormones hCG and progesterone increase the number of facial oil glands, leading to a shinier, smoother complexion. Meanwhile, that increased blood volume that may be sending you to the bathroom so frequently may also leave your skin plump and flushed.

Prenatal Testing 

Weeks 10 through 12 (or 15, for amniocentesis) are the primary window of opportunity for prenatal testing. Non-invasive cell-free DNA testing is widely supported by prenatal testing research. This blood test screens for Down syndrome and other, similar chromosomal abnormalities.

For more definitive diagnoses, however, the more invasive chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis are still used. These tests, while more conclusive, do come with a small risk of spontaneous miscarriage. CVS is an optional prenatal test used to detect chromosomal problems such as Down syndrome, genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, and other problems during pregnancy. The test happens between weeks 10 and 12 and uses cells (called chorionic villi) from the placenta to test for genetic abnormalities. During the test, the doctor will use an ultrasound to first determine the placenta’s location and then, using the ultrasound as a guide, the doctor will use either a speculum inserted into your cervix or a needle through your belly to collect cells from the placenta where it attaches to the uterus.  

The cells collected have the same genes as your baby. This test is considered 98% accurate for diagnosis of chromosomal defects. Additionally, CVS identifies the sex of your baby and can, therefore, identify disorders that may happen more often in one particular gender. For example, certain types of muscular dystrophy occur more often in males than in females. Remember that this test is optional, and your doctor can guide you in deciding if testing is right for you.

It is vital to be well-informed about your prenatal testing options. A study found that women who received readily understandable and unbiased information about prenatal testing that allowed them to make informed choices in line with their own values and preferences took fewer unnecessary tests.

What should I be doing?

  • Continue drinking plenty of water.
  • Find a way to involve some movement in your life, even though you’re exhausted. Even light exercise can help ensure your weight gain is healthy, that your body is strong enough to carry the additional weight it needs, prepare you for the physical stress of labor, and make it easier to get back into shape after the baby arrives.
  • Purchase new bras if your breasts have grown; you’ll feel better with additional support. You may also start thinking about building a wardrobe of maternity clothes, especially if you’re starting to show or your pants and skirts have grown uncomfortably tight. Don’t go too crazy with the credit card, though—your body still has seven months of changes ahead of it. Remember, elastic waistbands are your friend! 
  • Avoid hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, taking really hot baths, and hot yoga. Anything that elevates your body temperature to over 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.8 degrees Celsius should be avoided.







 

 


Jackie Ashton

Jackie is a science writer for Ava, with a decade of experience in journalism—interpreting clinical studies and research papers for outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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