During week 10 of your pregnancy, your baby is starting to look less like an alien and more like the cute little human that he or she will be by the time of birth.
As with other earlier weeks, week 10 is no exception when it comes to rapid growth and huge developmental strides.
In fact, during this time, because of the formation of your baby's vocal cords, he or she is able to make sounds - be prepared to hear quite a bit of that little voice around 4 am!2
This MNT Knowledge Center feature 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 baby is developing. Take a look at the other articles in the series:
You will also see introductions at the end of some sections to any recent developments that have been covered by MNT's news stories. Also look out for links to information about related conditions.
Symptoms at 10 weeks pregnant
At this stage of your pregnancy, you may continue to experience physical pregnancy symptoms such as:1,3
Headaches can get worse in the first few weeks of pregnancy, but they usually improve or stop completely during the last 6 months.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cravings and food aversions
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Bloating, gas, constipation
- Occasional headaches
- Changes (increase) in vaginal discharge
- Dizziness and faintness
- Round ligament pain
- Visible veins
Pickles and ice cream anyone? While you may be too busy puking, some women will experience intense cravings for certain foods, or some may completely turn them off. Either way, be sure you try to eat a balanced and healthy diet.
You may also be experiencing certain pregnancy symptoms due in part to the increase in circulating blood flow, such as dizziness and visible veins.1
You may now start to notice prominence of the veins running across your breasts and abdomen, which can be cosmetically bothersome but they are carrying vital nutrients to your baby, so they are worth it!
Feeling pain? Some women will experience round ligament pain due to stretching and pressure from your growing uterus, which is now about the size of a grapefruit.1 The pain can be sharp or dull and should be discussed with your health care provider if severe to rule out any other causes.
(Note: pregnancy increases the risk of urinary tract infections from weeks 6-24, so if your symptoms are not simply from the pregnancy and you suspect an infection, speak with your health care provider about treatment.)5
Your hormones at 10 weeks pregnant
Throughout your pregnancy, you will experience variations in certain hormones, which contribute to many of the pregnancy symptoms you may experience.
Following implantation of the fertilized egg, your body begins to secrete the hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) which is the hormone used to detect pregnancy. HCG is responsible for regulating estrogen and progesterone and contributes to frequent urination.6
Progesterone, which is initially produced by the corpus luteum, rises throughout your pregnancy and continues to do so until the birth of your baby.
In early pregnancy, progesterone is responsible for increasing uterine blood flow, establishing the placenta and stimulating the growth and nutrient production of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Additionally, progesterone plays a vital role in fetal development, preventing premature labor and lactation, as well as strengthening the pelvic wall muscles to prepare your body for labor.6
In addition to progesterone, the placenta is vital in secreting vital hormones during your pregnancy such as:6
- Human placental lactogen: this hormone is believed to handle mammary gland growth, which will be important for lactation following the birth of your baby. Additionally, it plays a role in increasing nutrient levels in your blood, which is vital to the growth and development of your baby
- Corticotrophin-releasing hormone: this hormone is not only responsible for determining how long you will be pregnant, but it is also responsible for your baby's growth and development. Later in pregnancy, the rise in both corticotrophin-releasing hormone and cortisol not only complete fetal organ development but also provide the mother with a surge of cortisol which has been linked with maternal attentiveness, increasing the mother-baby bond.
Another vital hormone in pregnancy is estrogen, which is responsible for fetal organ development, placental growth and function and mammary gland growth, which will be important for lactation following the birth of your baby.
Additionally, estrogen is needed for regulation of other hormones produced during pregnancy.
Because of the rise in progesterone and estrogen, you may experience some not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms such as mood swings and morning sickness.
Another hormone, relaxin, can cause physical symptoms such as pelvic pain, balance difficulties and constipation, because of its role of relaxing maternal muscles, ligaments and joints.
Genetic testing at 10 weeks pregnant
It is important to speak with your health care provider to determine if genetic testing and certain prenatal screening is right for you.
Some prenatal screening tests can begin around 10 weeks gestation. From weeks 11.2-14.2, an ultrasound may be obtained to evaluate your baby's nuchal translucency, or the amount of fluid behind the baby's neck. This is important in evaluating for some medical conditions affecting your baby including Down syndrome.8
There are three screening blood tests offered to women during their pregnancy to screen for a variety of genetic abnormalities including Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, spina bifida and more.
These tests include:8
- Sequential integrated screen: between weeks 10-13 and again during weeks 15-20, this screening test may be recommended to test the maternal blood for the 6 fetal proteins found in maternal blood circulation; this test is capable of identifying 92% of Down syndrome pregnancies. The first portion of this test is completed in combination with a nuchal translucency ultrasound (as above)
- Serum integrated screen: as in the sequential integrated screen, maternal blood is tested during weeks 10-13 and again during weeks 15-20 for the 6 fetal proteins found in maternal blood circulation; this test is capable of identifying 88% of Down syndrome pregnancies. This test is generally obtained in cases when the nuchal translucency ultrasound is unavailable
- Quad marker screen: obtained during weeks 15-20, the quad marker screen tests maternal blood for 4 circulating fetal proteins; this test is capable of identifying 79% of Down syndrome pregnancies. Women who did not get the first portion of the serum and sequential tests, as above, are eligible to undergo this testing. This test is also the second test obtained during the sequential and serum screening tests.
Another test offered to women during this time of pregnancy, weeks 10-12, is chorionic villus sampling (CVS). This test is typically offered to women who have other abnormal screening results, are >35 years old, have a prior history of a chromosomal abnormality found in pregnancy or have a concerning family history for certain genetic abnormalities.8
CVS is used to evaluate for genetic abnormalities such as Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis and certain chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome. This is not a blood test or ultrasound screening method as discussed above. Instead during this test, a sample of placental chorionic villi are removed and tested.
Baby's development at 10 weeks pregnantAt 10 weeks pregnant there are many changes in your baby's development. Developments that are underway include:1-4
By the time you are 10 weeks pregnant, your baby's brain structure is complete and their tooth sockets are forming.
- Head/neck: brain structure is complete with brain mass increasing
- Eyes: eyelids begin closing to as a protective measure
- Mouth: teeth/tooth sockets are forming under the gum line
- Limbs: the arms are also now bent at the elbow and flexion is possible. The knees and ankles begin to develop. Fingernails begin to grow
- Abdomen/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 now producing more urine than previously. Additionally, testosterone is being produced in male fetuses. Genitalia begin to take on male or female characteristics.
Lifestyle changes at 10 weeks pregnant
As with earlier weeks, you find out that there are many lifestyle modifications that need to be made during pregnancy and even after delivery. As with earlier weeks:
During pregnancy, you will need to take care of yourself and your developing baby. Be sure not to drink alcohol or smoke during pregnancy, and avoid all other toxic substances such as drugs during this time. Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking with your health care provider to ensure that you should continue use during your pregnancy. To nourish yourself and your baby, make sure you eat a healthy diet and take a good prenatal vitamin.7
Another way to maintain your health during pregnancy is to get 30 minutes per day of exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming.8 Speak with your health care provider about your current or desired exercise regimen to make sure it is safe.
Everyone wants to look their best but using permanent hair color is not recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; instead consider using a semi-permanent dye.9
While it is safe to eat fish during pregnancy, it is recommended that you limit your intake to 8-12 oz. of fish and shellfish per week.9,10
Some examples of fish which are safe to consume during pregnancy include shrimp, canned light tuna (note: mercury varies can to can), pollock, catfish, salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel and cod. If you plan on eating albacore tuna and tuna steak, it is recommended to limit consuming this fish to 6 oz. per week.10
Most importantly is to avoid eating shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel while pregnant, as they have high levels of mercury which can be harmful to your baby's brain and nervous system.
Baby's size at 10 weeks pregnant
Your baby's crown rump length measurement is approximately 1.25 to 1.68 inches and they weigh less than a quarter of an ounce.
At 10 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a prune.
In the coming weeks, your baby will again double in size to around 3 inches.
He or she is now about the size of a prune.1,2
If you have questions regarding your pregnancy, be sure to contact your health care provider.
Call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage such as vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue, leaking vaginal fluid, feeling faint or dizzy, low blood pressure, rectal pressure, shoulder pain and severe pelvic pain or cramping.8
A new study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology has revealed that the siblings of women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy may be at an increased risk of developing hypertension later in life.
A new study suggests that a mother's digestive system in early pregnancy increases energy absorption to meet the demands of her growing baby.