Finally, the moment you've been waiting for has arrived! At 10 weeks, you might be invited for your first ultrasound where you can catch a glimpse of those tiny hands and feet for the very first time. If you're not going for your scan this week, don't worry. Most dating scans occur anywhere between 10 and 13 weeks gestation, so it'll soon be your turn.
There are many reasons why it's important to have a dating scan between 10 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. Firstly, any earlier than that and there's really not much to see! However, by 10 weeks your baby is pretty much formed, and is just now getting bigger by the day.
A scan at this time is also useful for accurate dating the pregnancy, as during the first couple of months most babies will grow at a similar rate. After this, yours and your partners genetics will take over, and babies may develop particularly long legs, or a short torso.
Finally, at 10 weeks the nuchal translucency thickness can be measured. Not all hospitals do this, so if you want this type of scan you may have to pay to have this done at a different center. The appearance of too much fluid can indicate chromosomal problems (but not always - it's important to keep that in mind), so it's up to you and your partner if you'd like to find this out.
Baby: What's Happening?
The final developmental processes are taking place in your baby this week, especially in the heart. All four chambers are now up and running and pumping blood to the body. Your baby's heartbeat will be evident on the ultrasound as a little white flash, beating at around 150 beats per minute.
Your baby will also start to produce hair around now. And not just on top of the head! Lanugo hair develops all over the body to protect the delicate skin, but don't worry, your baby won't look like a monkey! It's much more of a fair fuzz than actual hair, similar to that of a peach. This hair should disappear during the third trimester so if your baby is born on time, he or she should be lanugo free.
Little details are starting to emerge now, such as fingernails. And they continue to grow, too! While most babies are born with "normal" sized nails, some can be born with long and pointy ones! In rare cases, this can cause a bit of scratching during a vaginal birth, but with everything else going on, it's unlikely to be noticeable.
Your baby is beginning to swallow some amniotic fluid this week, and wee it out, too! It may seem a bit strange that your baby is going to the bathroom inside your belly, but at least it means the kidneys are working properly. And don't worry, number 2's usually don't happen until after the birth!
You: What's Happening?
The major experience this week (or in the coming weeks) is your first ultrasound. For this, you'll be asked to arrive at the hospital with a full bladder, which is a scary prospect for pregnant women who need to use the bathroom constantly! It is best to try and keep a full bladder though, as it provides a more open window through which to view your baby.
If you don't have a full enough bladder, you may be asked to drink some more before trying again. But don't drink too much! Not only could this have you needing to wee before the scan or, even worse, letting out a bit on the ultrasound table (no one said pregnancy was dignified!), but too much water could obstruct the view to the uterus. As a general rule, somewhere between 0.5 to 1 liter about an hour before the scan should be fine.
During your scan, the sonographer will squirt some gel onto your abdomen (it can be quite cold!) and may press down quite hard with the device to get a good look. It may feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn't hurt. If it does, speak up. There's really not much they'll be looking for at this time, they want to see if there's a heartbeat, and they want to take measurements to date the pregnancy and work out your due date. At 10 weeks, your baby should be measuring around 1.2 inches, or just over 3 cm.
At your appointment, you may have a sit down with your midwife to go through your history, so make sure to take a urine sample as he or she will probably want to check for glucose and protein, which they'll do at every appointment from now on.
You may want to make sure you have someone with you at your appointment. The first scan can be quite emotional, and there's a lot of information to take in. You may also need a blood test so if you're a bit nervous about needles it helps to have some support.
When you head off to the hospital, have a couple of bottles of water with you, especially if you've been suffering with morning sickness. Your stomach may not be too happy about being filled with so much liquid, and may wish to expel it. It's useful to have some spare water bottles with you to top up if needed.