Women's Healthcare Topics

10 Weeks Pregnant

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 10th week of pregnancy.

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.

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.

Weight Gain

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 )

Baby Section

Video: 10 Weeks
Video: Your Pregnancy Week 10

Growth and Development of Baby

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.

Beware of Common Pollutants

Although you don't look remarkably pregnant now, keep in mind that lots of vital things are happening inside your uterus. That's why you need to be careful of your lifestyle and the substances that you are around, including common pollutants.

The first trimester of pregnancy is the most dangerous time for your baby, because his or her major organs are forming, such as your baby's brain, heart, liver, lungs, and digestive system. Any pollutants that you are exposed to now can really harm your little baby. If you want a healthy baby, you need to avoid potential contaminants, such as smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Even being around secondhand smoke can have consequences on your growing baby.

Cleaning During Pregnancy
You may want to also avoid certain cleaning products during pregnancy. Studies suggest that using bleach and spray air fresheners when pregnant can cause babies to develop asthma later in life.

To be on the safe side, during pregnancy perhaps you could ask your partner or husband to clean for you. If this is not an option for you, make sure that when you do clean, you wear gloves and avoid using toxic products. For example, some oven cleaners contain toxic chemicals that could harm your developing baby.

Some tips for cleaning your home:

  • Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning.

  • Read product labels. Pay careful attention to the warnings on the products you're using. Don't use toxic chemicals to clean.

  • Keep the room you're cleaning well ventilated. Open windows and doors if you need to.

  • Avoid breathing in fumes. Do not mix chemicals (such as bleach and ammonia) that can produce toxic fumes.

  • Try to aim for more environmentally friendly cleaners and supplies, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.

If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous while cleaning, leave the area and get some fresh air until you start to feel better.

You may want to seriously consider hiring cleaning help if you can afford it. Staying away from all cleaners is preferable.

Food Cravings

As your first trimester comes to a close, you will notice a dramatic drop in your morning sickness symptoms. For the first time in weeks, you may feel like you can finally eat again. As you regain your appetite, watch out for food cravings.

The Purpose of Food Cravings
When you start eating again, 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 and the pregnant woman goes back to having regular food cravings.

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. (next week)