Week 10 is a very exciting time in your pregnancy journey. As long as everything is going to plan you may be getting used to the feeling of being pregnant. It’s also not far from the second trimester which is when the risk of miscarriage can decrease dramatically and if you’re waiting until week 12 to tell your friends and family, the end is in sight.
Your baby is very busy, even if you haven’t noticed much growth with your own tummy your baby has grown rapidly. The fetus typically measures between 3.2cm and 4.3cm at this stage of pregnancy and weighs approximately 5.7g. Your baby is now able to swallow fluid and is able to move all his or her limbs. You will probably not be able to feel this movement until approximately 20 weeks although this may be slightly earlier at 16 - 17 weeks if it is not your first pregnancy. The liver, kidneys, lungs and intestines are now fully formed and functional and digestive juices and urine are now being produced. Testosterone is also being produced in the testes – if the fetus is a boy. In addition to this, nerves are spreading outwards from the spinal cord, enhancing the complexity of the central nervous system. Now that the vital organs and major body parts are formed, smaller features such as fingernails and even hair begin to appear. In addition to this, tooth buds are continuing to form under the gums
Your Body and Symptoms
Your uterus is swelling to accommodate the growing fetus and you may even be able to feel a slight bulge just above your pubic bone. You may also be gaining a little weight, however most weight-gain occurs during your second and third trimesters.
You are still likely to be feeling fatigued at this early stage of pregnancy. Getting plenty of rest is important, but it can also be helpful to take some gentle exercise as this will encourage the release of endorphins which in turn improve your mood and enhance the quality of your sleep. Nausea and/or vomiting are also common at this stage. Some women find relief with seasickness bands or acupuncture, others claim ginger helps while eating little and often can help settle the tummy. It is always advisable to consult a health care professional before undergoing any form of alternative therapy.
You may experience occasional faintness or dizziness. This is usually due to dips in your blood pressure and/or your blood sugar. If you feel light-headed, you should sit or lie down as soon as possible. It may also help to eat a healthy snack to boost blood sugar levels. If you are experiencing frequent dizzy spells, you should contact your doctor or midwife.
Some women report abdominal pain during the first trimester. This is likely to be due to ligaments around the abdomen being stretched as the uterus expands. These pains are normal and are usually alleviated by putting your feet up and relaxing. If you are concerned about abdominal pain, you should seek advice from your doctor or midwife.
The UK government recommend that pregnant women refrain from drinking alcohol completely, however the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that there is no evidence to suggest that a moderate intake of alcohol, (e.g. 2 units), once or twice a week is harmful. You should consult your doctor or midwife to find out more about alcohol intake during pregnancy or if you are concerned or need help with reducing your alcohol intake.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Vaginal bleeding is not uncommon. Usually not associated with menstrual pain it does not harm the pregnancy although it is called a threatened miscarriage. Bleeding may continue for some days but generally changes from bright red to dark red to brown before it disappears. In some cases an area of bleed is seen on the placenta on ultrasound scan: this is called a subchorionic haematoma. The dark red bleeding is likely to be persistent if this is present. The risk of an ectopic pregnancy has generally passed at this stage except in rare cases.
If you have bleeding in early pregnancy and you have associated severe abdominal pain you are at a high risk of miscarriage. In about 40% of cases there is shown to be a fetal abnormality incompatible with life. Unfortunately if a miscarriage has begun, there is nothing you can do to stop it.
Your Care on the NHS
Your first antenatal appointment, also known as your booking appointment, is due around this time. During this appointment, your midwife will take details of your, and your family’s medical histories, ask about your plans for antenatal care and take routine health checks such as blood and urine samples. She will also have a long talk with you about pregnancy and birth. She will take some blood samples that are routine in pregnancy and may also take the blood sample used for the Combined Test for Down syndrome. It is unlikely that an ultrasound scan will be done at this visit. She will probably arrange an appointment for a few weeks later.
Private Care Available
You can have a similar consultation to that in the NHS if you wish. In addition you will be offered an ultrasound scan. Women like this because they can see the fetus and hear the heartbeat. This scan is generally performed through the tummy (a transabdominal scan). You may also want to take advantage of the advice of professionals on hand privately such as a nutritionist who can help you understand the best foods for you and your baby.
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Non-Invasive Prenatal Test