Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

10 Weeks Pregnant

In This Article

Pregnant Belly Changes

You're speeding through your first trimester. Are you feeling better? Most moms get some relief from early pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness and fatigue, as they progress through their first trimester. In the second trimester, you should feel remarkably better and you'll have more energy to boot!

You may desperately want to look pregnant, but you won't be showing for a few extra weeks. (Most women won't start sporting a "bump" until their second trimester, though second-time mothers may begin showing sooner.)

Pay attention to your abdomen. In the next few weeks, your partner may start to comment on the changes in your profile. Your belly may even be slightly more rounded at 10 weeks pregnant.

Mom's Belly at 10 Weeks

Now is a good time to start taking photographs of your belly. Many women like to keep a photographic record of their belly that shows the changes in their belly from week to week. Years later you can look back and show your little one how much your tummy grew each week.

You may have heard your baby's heartbeat for the first time at your doctors office. Many fist time moms describe the sound of their baby's heartbeat as similar to galloping horses. Don't fret however if you haven't heard this yet, in a few weeks most women will have heard their baby's heartbeat for the first time.

If your partner hasn't accompanied you to your prenatal visits yet consider inviting him in the future. This will help your partner get acquainted with your doctor, the birthing process and help him bond with you and the baby during your pregnancy.

While your partner may not admit it most enjoy being helpful and participating even in run of the mill office visits during your pregnancy. Your partner will also have the opportunity to address any questions or concerns he has about the pregnancy or about being a father with your doctor.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Morning sickness might be better now. Feeling nauseous and queasy can be a challenge to deal with, but it won't last forever. Up to 50 percent of pregnant women with nausea or vomiting in the first trimester get complete relief from their symptoms by 14 weeks pregnant (the second trimester). Only a handful of women feel nauseous until they deliver.

Gassiness is also common now. If you're finding that you're passing gas or burping at the most inconvenient times, you aren't alone. You can blame your pregnancy hormones for your gassiness. To prevent gas, it's a good idea to avoid foods that produce a lot of gas – certain as fried and fattening foods. Eating smaller meals during the day, which helps your stomach digest food better, can also help you cope with this annoying pregnancy symptom.

Occasional bouts of dizziness may also occur. Although it can be worrisome, feeling dizzy or lightheaded occasionally is a normal pregnancy symptom and it's due to the changes in your cardiovascular and nervous system when you're expecting. When you start to feel dizzy, lie down on your left side (which enhances blood flow to your heart) and you should feel better soon. Remember to take things slow and don't make too many sudden movements. Sometimes, standing up too fast can cause blood to pool in your legs and this can also contribute to dizziness in pregnancy.

Acne and breakouts are also normal at 10 weeks pregnant. The higher levels of pregnancy hormones in your body can cause your skin to produce extra oil – leading to pimples, breakouts, and acne. You may feel like you're a teenager again. Not to worry – acne might go away later in pregnancy, and your skin should return to normal after your little bundle of joy is born.

Vision changes are another pregnancy symptom that some women experience at 10 weeks pregnant. You have double the blood volume in pregnancy, and this increased circulation can thicken and curve the corneas, and it can make your vision blurrier. Your eyes may also feel drier now that you're pregnant. Your vision should go back to normal after delivery.

Pregnancy Weight Gain at 10 Weeks

Now that you’re only one month away from the end of your first trimester, you will start to gain some weight. Your weight gain now is roughly two to three pounds. By the time you reach the end of your first trimester, you may gain an additional few pounds.

By the beginning of the second trimester, most pregnant women have gained five or six pounds in total. You’ll want to aim for the recommended weight gain for your body size. Average sized women should only gain between 25 and 35 pounds during their pregnancy.

Both excessive pregnancy weight gain and inadequate weight gain is associated with adverse infant outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has set guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy. Pregnancy weight gain above the recommended guidelines is more common that pregnancy weight gain below the guidelines. Unfortunately, women who gain more than the recommended pregnancy weight give birth to babies with more problems than the babies born to women who gained weight within the recommended guidelines.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides the following guidelines during pregnancy:

  • Approximately 34 pound gain for underweight women

  • 25 to 35 pounds for normal weight women

  • 15-20 pounds for overweight women

Use the BMI (body mass index) table to help you determine if you are under, normal or over weight.

What is Your Body Mass Index ( BMI )

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Remember that you only need to add 300 extra calories during pregnancy, despite the old proverbial saying that you are "eating for two." Those 300 calories can be easily added to your diet with a snack or two throughout the day. (If you are expecting twins, you may need to add 600 extra calories).

Keep in mind that excessive weight gain during pregnancy can make you feel more exhausted and achy. Research has found that pregnant women who put on more than their recommended pregnancy weight gain have an increased risk of being overweight later in life, especially if they don't lose those pregnancy pounds.

Regular Exercise During Pregnancy

If you haven't already, you need to start a regular exercise regimen during pregnancy. Even walking every day will give you the added benefits of exercising. Many pregnant women enjoy swimming, dancing, yoga, Pilates, and biking.

Women who exercise during pregnancy tend to regain their pre-pregnancy body quicker. These women also gain less fat weight, and they feel and look better. With all these perks, why not try adding some exercise into your life.

Baby Section

Your Baby at 10 Weeks of Pregnancy

Baby at 10 Weeks Pregnant

At 10 weeks pregnant, your baby measures between 31 mm (1.22 inches) to 42 mm (1.65 inches) from crown to rump – about the length of a key lime. In the next few weeks, your baby's length will grow exponentially.

This week is an exciting milestone in your baby's development. At the end of this week, your baby will no longer be considered an embryo. He or she is now a fetus.

Your baby will undergo the most rapid growth in the fetal period, and he or she is now at lower risk for congenital malformations (physical birth defects).

All of your baby's vital organs (such as the brain, liver, kidneys, and intestines) have formed and they're beginning to function. These internal organs will further develop as your pregnancy continues.

For the first time in your baby'sl development, your baby's fingers and toes are separated (no longer webbed). Nails are beginning to form on your little one's digits. Your baby has the ability to bend his or her arms and legs.

Your baby's skin is very translucent now, and some babies start to develop tiny fuzz along their skin. Many moms-to-be refer this as "peach fuzz" or "baby fuzz." This soft fuzz protects your baby's skin. An outline of your future child's spine can be seen through the skin, and spinal nerves are now visible.

The yolk sac is shrinking away. It is no longer needed to provide your baby's nutrition, since the placenta is now mature and fully functioning.

This week, your baby is having fun swimming in your uterus, sheltered from harm within the amniotic sac. Around 10 weeks pregnant, your baby has the ability to swallow. Throughout your pregnancy, your little baby swallows the amniotic fluid around him or her. This helps prepare your baby for breathing later in life. Amniotic fluid will help the digestive and respiratory systems of your baby develop.

Pregnancy Health Section

Genetic Testing

Many women are concerned with genetic testing during pregnancy. There are some tests that are common to most women during pregnancy, while others are performed only under special circumstances. Women who are of advanced maternal age, over 35 years of age, may opt to undergo a test referred to as chorionic villus sampling or CVS, which can help detect genetic abnormalities that might lead to Down syndrome and other disorders.

Chorionic villus sampling is a test that is typically conducted between the 9th and 11th weeks of pregnancy. There is a small risk of miscarriage associated with the procedure (about 1 percent), thus you should discuss the risks with your healthcare practitioner prior to deciding to undergo this test.

CVS is considered one of the more invasive tests that can be performed during pregnancy, and it is usually only performed in high risk pregnancies, such as a woman with a family history of genetic hereditary disease or if you are older than 35 years of age.

The triple screen test is a common and safe test performed during pregnancy. It is a non-invasive blood test taken between the beginning of the 15th week and the 17th week. This test measures levels of three proteins in the blood, AFP, HCG and UE3. The levels of these proteins are compared with the mother's age and ethnicity of the parents and can determine the probability of a potential genetic problem in the baby. Some of the more common problems the test can help identify include:

  • Downs syndrome

  • Neural tube defects (defect of the lower spine)

  • Babies at risk for low birth weight and premature delivery

  • Ventral wall abnormalities (defects of the umbilical cord and bowel)

It is important that you remember that no genetic test is 100% accurate. The triple test is a screening instrument and not a diagnosis. That means that while the test may indicate your fetus is at risk for Downs Syndrome, it doesn't mean that your baby will be born with this or any other disorder. In fact, many women can receive false positive tests. A false positive test is usually a result from your calculated due date being incorrect.

If your test results from a triple screen come back positive, your physician may recommend an amniocentesis, which is another invasive procedure that examines fluid from the amniotic sac. Amniocentesis requires that a needle be inserted through your abdomen and into the uterus. Your healthcare provider will then extract amniotic fluid for testing. The healthcare provider will use an ultrasound to ensure that they do not harm the baby with the needle. There is a risk of damage or infection in the baby when this procedure is chosen, thus it is typically only recommended during high-risk pregnancies, including those that have a positive triple screening test or advanced maternal age.

Amniocentesis is performed to tell if your baby will really have Down syndrome.

The CVS test is actually considered more risky than an amniocentesis. Whether or not you decide to opt for genetic testing is completely your decision. You may be pre-disposed to certain conditions. Many parents want to know the possibility of a potential problem ahead of time, so they can prepare themselves mentally for what is to come in the weeks to follow. It is important that you go into any testing situation fully informed and aware of the potential benefits and risks.

Remember that testing is not without its associated errors and false positive results. Many babies that have positive test results are born perfectly healthy. Be sure you discuss your situation with your doctor in detail before deciding on any procedures that may be suggested for you.

Some women will opt to forgo any genetic screenings even if a triple marker test indicates the potential for a birth defect or genetic abnormality.

Pregnancy Cravings Real or Just A Figment of Your Imagination

Women love to swap stories about pregnancy, especially of funny stories. Sending their husbands out to the convenience store at 2:00 a.m. to get a pint of ice cream and a jar of pickles may sound funny, but are pregnancy cravings really the “baby” or the mommy who desires to eat odd things at odd hours?

Are Pregnancy Cravings Just an Excuse to Eat Like Crap?

Some women claim never to have any cravings, while other confess boldly about having a serious need to binge. But the “eat-whatever-you-want” rule that some women adopt during their pregnancy is actually the body lacking certain nutrition, which sometimes women try to make up for with often very poor choices. Rather than binging on fruit and veggies, most women crave very “complex carb filled” foods or junk food that is often very high in sodium, fat and other things that can become setbacks later.

Not to say that every woman craves pickles and chips, however if you look at the high sodium content of these two things, this could be a clue. One Kosher Dill Pickle has approx. 1,040 mg. of sodium! Many people don’t realize that one serving size in a pickle is only a quarter of the pickle, but how many people do you know that cut a pickle up into four pieces and only eat a portion? Most people eat the whole pickle.

Chips also have a lot of sodium and are easy to overeat on the portion size. Other cravings for complex carbohydrates, such as baked potatoes and gravy, ice cream and similar products are also very full of – you guessed it – sodium.

Is it Salt that Women Crave during Pregnancy?

When a woman is pregnant, she retains more water, so eating more sodium could actually make her put on extra weight that is beyond the targeted zone of 25 lbs. or so, depending on the woman’s body type and size. However, there are theories in the medical world that because your body needs to retain more water, that the cravings could be coming from this sodium/water retention imbalance. Especially during the first trimester, a woman’s increases in progesterone levels can actually make her lose sodium when she urinates, so the possibility that her body wants to replace lost sodium is one theory.

Women who experience morning sickness also suffer from depleted sodium levels. This is understandable, but keep in mind that the “junk food” you put in also stores as fat, not just water retention. It might be better to satisfy a salt craving with whole grain crackers, rather than a bag full of chips, for example. You need essential nutrients, and although cravings can be difficult during a time when your hormones are kicking in full gear, it is best to avoid buying foods that are too full of sodium because if you make them available in your household, chances are you will “give in” whenever a weak moment does come.

Or, perhaps you will be one of the lucky women who do not experience any cravings at all! Some women feel an aversion to certain foods, rather than cravings. It is a good idea to listen to your body. These are all signs that you might be lacking a certain nutrient. If you want to, you can get a test at the doctor’s office to see if you are suffering from any deficiencies.

The Purpose of Food Cravings

When your morning sickness starts to resolve, you may notice that foods that you once loved may not appeal to you anymore. Sometimes the body has a natural filtering system that will turn you away from foods that aren't good for your developing baby. If you are lacking certain nutrients, you may also start to crave foods that provide them.

If you're a vegetarian, don't be too surprised if you start craving a big ole piece of steak during pregnancy. It's possible that your body is lacking the protein that's in the meat. You may want to consume non-meat protein sources, such as soy products.

How to Satisfy Your Food Cravings

To satisfy your cravings, you should keep your refrigerator packed with a large selection of foods, so you can eat when you feel like it. Make sure your fridge is always stocked with healthy fruits and vegetables!

Don't be shy about your food combinations, even if your partner teases you! Pregnant women are known for their strange food cravings. If you want to eat pickles and ice cream, please do! Just make sure that you use moderation and don't overindulge in one area and neglect the rest of your diet!

You should be on the lookout for bizarre food cravings. Some women develop a condition known as "pica" when they are pregnant. These women crave non-food products, such as clay, chalk, and laundry starch. This condition is very unhealthy and researchers think it is a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of iron or zinc.

If you start to crave inedible substances, you should seek medical help. You should not give into your cravings, as they can lead to lead poisoning and bacterial or parasitic diseases.

Talk to your doctor or healthcare providers about these odd food cravings. If you are indeed suffering from pica, you may need to take an iron or zinc supplement. Often, after the nutritional deficiency is treated, the pica goes away.

Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics

Medically reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Reducing the Risk of Birth Defects

Also called a congenital disorder, there are more than 4,000 types of known birth defects, all ranging from mild defects to severe ones. Present at birth, a birth defect will affect how your child functions, looks, or possibly both.

For instance, a birth defect such as clubfoot, or too many toes and fingers, is obvious as soon as a baby is delivered. Other defects, however, like hearing loss and heart defects, may need special tests to uncover. Still, some birth defects are present, but may not be noticed until later.

The cause of birth defects

Sometimes a birth defect may be inherited. For instance, an error in chromosomes or genes may be something a parent passes down to their child. In other cases, a birth defect is caused by something harmful a fetus is exposed to. This may include infections, medications or chemicals. The harm is likely dependent on how much a pregnant woman and her child are exposed to, at what point it happened during pregnancy, and the length of exposure. In other cases, a number of different factors contribute to the problem. Still for many cases, it’s difficult to figure out an exact cause.

The risk of birth defects

Some women are at greater risk than others are, though, in having a child with a birth defect. Risk factors include:

  • Personal history or family history of birth defects

  • You are 35 or older at the time your baby is full-term

  • You used certain medications about the time you conceived

  • You gave birth to another child with a birth defect

  • You drink alcohol or use illegal drugs

  • You have diabetes

While a majority of birth defects happen with no family history of problems, you may want to consider testing or counseling if you do have a family or personal history of birth defects.

Vitamin supplements and birth defects

One of the most recommended things a pregnant woman can take in helping to prevent certain defects is folic acid, a type of B vitamin. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects. To be most effective, though, you need to take it well in advance of getting pregnant and then through the first trimester.

When it comes to vitamin A, you need to watch how much you take. Severe birth defects have been linked to extremely high levels of vitamin A. When it comes to your prenatal multivitamin, make sure it doesn’t have more than 5,000 international units of vitamin A. In the case of certain supplements, you may find way too much. Some have 25,000 international units in just one does.

Obesity and birth defects

What about obesity? In medical terms, obesity means you have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or more. If you’re obese before you become pregnant, you already have a higher risk of having a baby born with birth defects. The most common types of obesity-related defects include heart defects, abdominal wall defects and neural tube defects. There’s another problem with obesity, too. It’s harder to spot fetal defects during an ultrasound with an obese mother. In addition, there are also links between obesity and gestational diabetes, infections, cesarean deliveries and preeclampsia.

Medical conditions and birth defects

It’s important to see your doctor before becoming pregnant if you have any type of medical condition. You’ll want to find out what you need to do in terms of medication, diet, or simply controlling your condition before trying to get pregnant. A diabetic has a high level of glucose, or sugar, in their blood. Having too much glucose can do damage to a mother’s organs, and her baby. It’s possible to keep your glucose in check with exercise, medication, and diet before getting pregnant so that you can help lower the risk of having a child with a birth defect.

Alcohol and birth defects

Alcohol is not a good idea during pregnancy. This is because using alcohol while you’re pregnant is the leading cause of birth defects including mental retardation. Fetal alcohol syndrome is among the most serious. Pregnant women need to avoid alcohol because it’s not clear how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, if any at all.

Smoking and pregnancy

As far as smoking, it’s linked to a number of problems during pregnancy including premature rupture of membranes and problems with the placenta. A child delivered by a woman who smoked while pregnant is also a risk of developmental problems, hospitalization and sudden infant death syndrome. Secondhand smoke is risky, too. Exposure may be harmful before delivery, and to a newborn.

Illegal drugs and birth defects

Illegal drugs may cause a number of problems during pregnancy, too, including growth problems, long-term behavioral, emotional and learning problems, or even brain injury. Many of these types of drugs can increase the chance of serious birth problems including preterm birth. This is why it’s so important to both a mother and her baby to avoid illegal drugs both before and during a pregnancy.

Over-the-counter/prescription drugs and birth defects

Certain medications are also responsible for birth defects. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or you are pregnant, make sure you tell your medical provider. This means not only the doctor who prescribes the drugs to you, but also your dentist, mental health provider, or any other doctor or nurse you see for something non-pregnancy related. If you already have a prescription drug you’re taking, don’t stop until you talk to your doctor about it. Do, however, check with your doctor before you take any type of over-the-counter drug. This includes cold and allergy remedies, herbal products, vitamins, skin treatments, laxatives and pain relievers.

Infections and birth defects

There are certain types of infections, such as rubella, that may increase the risk of birth defects. Also called the German measles, this infection may lead to mental retardation, blindness, and deafness or heart defects in your child. While there’s a vaccine for rubella, you can’t be vaccinated against it when you’re pregnant.

Another infection comes from eating undercooked or raw meat, eating unwashed vegetables or coming in contact with animal feces, especially cats. Toxoplasmosis is actually caused by a parasite in the soil, and it is transmitted to people in these ways. Toxoplasmosis may cause birth defects including vision problems, hearing loss and mental retardation. To protect yourself, only eat well-cooked meat. Also, wear gloves if you garden and while holding unwashed vegetables. If your outdoor cat uses a litter box, make sure someone else is emptying it. If this isn’t possible, make sure you are wearing gloves, and thoroughly wash your hands when you’re finished.

Additionally, sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, can also cause some serious birth defects. Herpes or syphilis may lead to infant problems including death or blindness.

The most common type of viral infection for newborns is cytomegalovirus, or CMV. While most of the time CMV infections don’t cause significant problems, it may lead to vision loss, deafness or retardation in severe cases.

Environment and birth defects

Other birth defects may be tied to exposure from toxic agents including radiation, mercury or lead. Sometimes women find themselves exposed to things like this while working. In other situations, it is at home. Still, sometimes it’s the food supply. Some harmful agents aren’t even known.

What about fish?

That brings us to the question of fish. You need to avoid eating certain types of fish while you’re pregnant due to the high levels of mercury. While mercury is a natural substance, it builds up in some fish. If you eat large amounts of the fish, it can harm a pregnant woman and her child. You’ll want to avoid things like swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel.

Additionally, you’ll want to limit other types of fish. Pregnant women shouldn’t eat more than 12 ounces of fish per week that are low in mercury. That’s about two meals of things like canned light tuna, Pollock, shrimp, catfish and salmon. As for tuna steaks and Albacore tuna, or white tuna, the mercury levels are higher. For these types of fish it’s advised a pregnant woman only eats six ounces or less per week.

(next week)