Week 10 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Pregnancy Week 10

Welcome to week 10 of your pregnancy. While you’re likely still bogged down in the hormonal wave of the first trimester, know that you only have one more month until you enter your second trimester, when symptoms like nausea and extreme fatigue most often fade. Your baby-to-be, however, doesn’t have to wait four weeks for an exciting shift. This week, he or she is now officially considered a fetus, shedding the title of embryo for good.

 

Your Trimester: First trimester

Weeks to Go: 30

You This Week

You’re probably still in the thick of first-trimester fatigue. Your body is producing more blood for baby, which lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Both of these things can bring about daytime sleepiness. An uptick of the hormones hCG and progesterone does the same thing, but progesterone takes it one step further and can also keep you up at night.

The kicker? When sleep does come, you may experience more vivid and strange dreams. It’s thought that—once again—hormones might be to blame since they not only impact emotions, but also the way in which your brain processes them. It’s also theorized that when normal sleep cycles are disrupted by, say, waking up to use the bathroom, it can impact REM sleep, which is the sleep cycle when dreams occur.

Speaking of using the bathroom, if you find that you can’t pee or fully empty your bladder now or in the next couple of weeks of your pregnancy, speak with your healthcare provider.

As your uterus grows up into your pelvis, it can become wedged between the pelvic bony structure and the bladder, causing urinary retention. If that’s the case for you, you may need to get your bladder drained. While not particularly pleasant, this will resolve once the uterus is over 12 weeks’ size.

Your Baby This Week

The foundation for baby’s brain, liver, kidneys, and intestines were all laid during the embryonic period. But now that he or she is a fetus, they all start to do their jobs while continuing to steadily develop.

By week 10, your baby-to-be is a mere two inches long, and his or her head is taking up half the length of the body. Not only is the head big in comparison to the rest of baby, it’s bulging at the forehead. This, however, is nothing to worry about. It’s simply allowing room for baby’s budding brain to grow.

In addition, baby’s fingers and toes have likely lost their aquatic webbing and are starting to grow nails. Baby’s palate—a.k.a. the roof of baby’s mouth—closes this week. Plus, any congenital abnormalities are unlikely to develop after this week, which should provide great relief for worried moms-to-be.

At Your Doctor’s Office

This is likely the first prenatal care visit where your healthcare provider can offer you fetal genetic testing. These tests take two forms: screening tests and diagnostic tests. “Screening tests tell you the likelihood that your baby could have a birth defect, while diagnostic tests tell you with more than 99 percent certainty whether your baby has the disorder,” says Allison Hill, M.D., an OB-GYN and author of Your Pregnancy, Your Way and co-author of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

Screening tests are often offered to those under age 35, while diagnostic tests are suggested for older women, though that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

One screening test that may come into play this week is cell-free DNA testing (cfDNA), also dubbed noninvasive prenatal testing. A cfDNA test is sometimes suggested to women who meet one or more of the following criteria:

Here, you’ll be given a simple blood test that can detect fragments of fetal DNA present in your system.

This test screens for the most common trisomies, but not neural tube defects. Be aware that it also reveals the baby’s sex, so be sure to tell your practitioner if you’d rather wait to find that out.

“Right now, cfDNA is being studied for use in low-risk women, and the accuracy seems to be similar to that for high-risk women,” says Dr. Hill. “Overall, it has the highest detection rate of all the screening tests.” Because this is a screening test, however, all abnormal results should be confirmed with a diagnostic test.

Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the test is a good choice for you. (Insurance covers this test for women considered high-risk, but some plans will cover low-risk women as well.)

At the same time, between week 10 and week 12, your healthcare provider may offer you chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Unlike cfDNA, this is a diagnostic test. It is sometimes suggested to women who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Age 35 or older

  • Previous child with a genetic disorder (or chromosomal abnormalities in a prior pregnancy)

  • Concerning earlier screening test results

  • Family history of genetic disorders (either partner)

Here, a sample of cells from the chorionic villi—the finger-like structures in the lining of the uterus that provide nutrients to the fetus—are removed and tested for a number of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, and fragile X syndrome.

There are two variations of the test:

  • Transcervical CVS: Your healthcare provider uses ultrasound to guide a thin tube from the vagina into the cervix. Once there, a small sample of the chorionic villi (finger-like structures in the lining of the uterus) is gently removed with suction.
  • Transabdominal CVS: A sample is removed via a needle inserted through the abdominal wall.

While some find CVS to be painless, others experience period-like cramping during the procedure. Results are generally available as soon as a few hours or up to a couple of days.

Special Considerations

Have you announced your pregnancy yet? The truth is, there’s no perfect time, only a time that feels right to you. In the past, healthcare professionals used to recommend women not spread the news until completing their first trimester, when miscarriage risk greatly decreases. But times are changing—and so are people’s takes on this.

“Some people choose to tell a few close individuals early in their pregnancy because they want their support no matter what happens,” says Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD, a reproductive and perinatal psychologist at the Seleni Institute, a nonprofit organization that specializes in women’s maternal and reproductive mental health. “Still, others keep their news very private because of their culture, past experience, or simply their preferences. All of the above is OK and a decision to be made between you and your partner.”

Remember, though, that there are some less-than-ideal moments worth keeping in mind.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Here’s something exciting to look forward to: Between 10 and 12 weeks, a fetal Doppler stethoscope may allow you to actually hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. (This type of stethoscope bounces sound waves off the baby and returns a representation of the fetal heartbeat.)

Taking Care

If fatigue is taking its toll, take an active step in improving your sleep patterns. Start by considering your daily habits and establishing a consistent, healthy, and soothing evening routine. First, make sure you eat dinner a minimum of two hours before bedtime to help nix any meal-related indigestion and heartburn from keeping you awake. As bedtime approaches, take a relaxing, warm shower. (The post-rinse body temperature drop you experience prepares you for sleep.)

Afterward, enjoy a decaffeinated tea and be sure to shut off your TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone two hours before you go to bed. Exposure to these electronics suppresses production of melatonin, a hormone that helps prepare the body for rest. When you delay that signal, you make it harder to fall asleep.

For Partners

It’s important to be open with your partner when it comes to your feeling about sharing your pregnancy news. Couples don’t always agree on when to tell—and who gets to know. “Talking everything over is key,” says Dr. Brofman. “Unpack both of your reasons for wanting to—or not wanting—to share. And if you hit a crossroads, perhaps there’s a compromise. Either way, always be open to the other’s concerns and reasons.”

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.

  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.

  • Map out a healthy sleep routine.

  • Look into buying a pregnancy or body pillow, which is specially shaped to help support your pregnant body, helping you rest.

Last Week: Week 9
Coming Up: Week 11

Sources:

Allison Hill, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.

American Pregnancy Association. Fatigue During Pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/your-pregnancy/fatigue-during-pregnancy/

National Women's Health Resource Center. HealthyWomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting. First Trimester of Pregnancy: 10 Weeks Pregnant. http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/10-weeks-pregnant-symptoms-and-signs

The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 10. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week10.html

Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD. Email and Phone Communications. October, December 2017.