During week 10 of your pregnancy, a fetus is starting to become recognizably human and develop the features they will have by the time of birth.

As with earlier weeks, week 10 is a time of rapid growth and developmental strides. The first trimester lasts until 12 weeks, and the growth and development of the baby during this period become more and more complex.

In fact, during this time, the vocal cords are formed. If the fetus were not underwater, they would be able to make sounds very soon.

This is part of a series of articles on pregnancy. It provides a summary of each stage of pregnancy, what to expect, and insights into how your child is developing.

Take a look at the other articles in the series:

First trimester: fertilization, implantation, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12.

Second trimester: week 13, week 14, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18, week 19, week 20, week 21, week 22, week 23, week 24, week 25, week 26.

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Symptoms of early pregnancy include nausea and fatigue.

At this stage, you may continue to experience physical pregnancy symptoms such as:

While some women are still experiencing nausea, others will have intense cravings or dislikes for certain foods. Either way, it is important to eat a balanced and healthful diet.

If you find yourself eating strange things such as plant dirt or laundry starch this is a condition called pica. Speak to your doctor about this.

Some symptoms, such as dizziness and visible veins, may be due in part to the increase in circulating blood flow.

The veins running across the breasts and abdomen may now be prominent. These can be cosmetically bothersome, but they are vital for carrying essential nutrients to your fetus.

Some women will experience round ligament pain due to stretching and pressure from the growing uterus, which is now about the size of a grapefruit. The pain can be sharp or dull. If it is severe, you should talk to a healthcare provider to rule out other causes.

It is worth noting that, during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) from weeks 6 to 24. If you suspect an infection, speak with your healthcare provider about treatment.

It is important to speak with your doctor to determine if genetic testing and certain prenatal screening is right for you. Age and family history will guide your obstetric care and screening.

Some prenatal screening tests can begin around 10 weeks into gestation. From weeks 11 to 14, an ultrasound may be obtained to evaluate the amount of fluid behind the neck of the fetus.

This is important for evaluating some conditions that can affect the fetus, including Down syndrome and other inherited disorders.

There are three screening blood tests offered to women during pregnancy to screen for a variety of genetic abnormalities including Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, spina bifida, and more.

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Genetic testing can help identify potential developmental issues.

These tests include:

  • Sequential integrated screen: This test may be used to check the mother's blood for 6 fetal proteins that can help identify Down syndrome.
  • Serum integrated screen: As in the sequential integrated screen, maternal blood is tested during weeks 10 to 13 and again during weeks 15 to 20 for the 6 fetal proteins found in maternal blood circulation.
  • Quad marker screen: This test screens maternal blood for 4 circulating fetal proteins. Women who did not undergo the first parts of the serum and sequential tests, as above, can have this test.

Another test offered between weeks 10 and 12 is chorionic villus sampling (CVS). This test is typically offered to women who have other abnormal screening results, are over 35 years old, have a prior history of a chromosomal abnormality found in pregnancy, or have a family history of certain genetic anomalies.

CVS can evaluate for genetic anomalies, such as Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, and Down syndrome. This is not a blood test or ultrasound screening method as discussed above. Instead, a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta and tested.

At 10 weeks of pregnancy, there are many changes in fetal development. Developments include:

  • Head and neck: All structural parts of the brain are present, and brain mass is increasing.
  • Eyes: Eyelids begin closing as a protective measure.
  • Mouth: Tooth sockets are forming under the gum line.
  • Limbs: The arms are now bent at the elbow, and flexion is possible. The knees and ankles begin to develop. Fingernails begin to grow.
  • Abdomen and pelvis: The intestines are now in the abdomen. The digestive tract is functioning, with the stomach producing digestive juices and the liver secreting bile. Insulin is being produced by the fully developed pancreas. The kidneys are producing more urine than before. Testosterone is being produced in male fetuses, and genitalia begin to take on male or female characteristics.

Size

The length from the crown to the rump is around 1.25 to 1.68 inches, and the baby weighs less than a quarter of an ounce.

In the coming weeks, the baby will again double in size to around 3 inches.

They are now about the size of a prune.

As in earlier weeks, many lifestyle modifications need to be made during pregnancy and even after delivery.

General health

During pregnancy, you will need to take care of yourself and your developing baby.

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Exercise can help maintain maternal and fetal health during pregnancy.

Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco: Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, and all other toxic substances, including drugs and medications, during pregnancy.

Be sure to discuss all planned medications with your healthcare provider, to ensure that you should continue use during your pregnancy. Drugs, alcohol, and other substances that cause abnormalities in babies do the most damage in the first trimester.

Exercise: Another way to maintain your health during pregnancy is to get 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as yoga, walking, or swimming. Discuss your current or desired exercise regimen with your doctor to make sure it is safe.

Beauty: Using permanent hair color is not recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, consider using a semi-permanent dye.

Food and diet

To nourish yourself and your baby, be sure to eat a healthy diet and take a good prenatal vitamin as recommended by your health provider.

It is safe to eat fish during pregnancy, but it is recommended that you limit your intake to between 2 to 3 servings of fish a week, chosen from a list of safe options.

Fish that are safe to consume during pregnancy include shrimp, pollock, catfish, salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Atlantic mackerel, and cod.

If you plan on eating fish that potentially contain high mercury content, such as albacore tuna, tuna steak, Spanish mackerel, and halibut, a maximum of one serving a week is recommended.

Shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel should be avoided during pregnancy, as they have very high levels of mercury. This can be harmful to the brain and nervous system of the developing fetus.

Avoid raw and smoked seafood.

Call your doctor if you are experiencing:

  • vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue
  • leaking vaginal fluid
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • low blood pressure
  • rectal pressure
  • shoulder pain
  • severe pelvic pain
  • cramping

These could be signs of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.