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Pregnancy weeks:

Week 10 of pregnancy: Your baby is developing beautifully

Size of your baby in week 10

By now, the baby in your belly will be between 2.8 and 3.1 cm long, making them about the size of a grape. They weigh between 4.5 and 5 grams, so they’re still as light as a feather.

Your baby’s development

An ultrasound scan will be able to detect a tiny little person. The image will show their head, which at this stage is still disproportionately large in relation to the rest of their body. In week 10, your baby will keep lifting their head, stretching and moving more frequently, though their movements will still lack coordination.

At the end of your baby’s arms, their wrist has already formed and small fingers are developing with their joints. The webbing between their fingers and toes will have completely disappeared by the end of this week, and their thumb and forefinger are now separating. They will soon be able to move their fingers as they try to form a fist – the first bodily movement that shows signs of coordination.

The formation of your baby’s fingers represents an important development in their preparation for life outside the womb, as their natural (and vital) sucking reflex will soon kick in, training them to suck their thumb.

Their little heart is beating so powerfully that your doctor will be able to detect it with a foetal monitor – and if you’re expecting twins, your doctor will be able to hear two heartbeats.

Your baby is no longer as vulnerable to deformities from external influences as they once were, as most deformities and malformations develop before week 10 of pregnancy. This also reduces the risk of a miscarriage, although it doesn’t yet rule it out completely. The rule of thumb is that the critical phase is over by the end of week 12 and, from then on, the risk of a miscarriage is decreasing.

By week 10, all your baby’s vital internal organs are in place, their brain continues to develop steadily, and their nerve tracts are forming and becoming more complex so that their brain can keep active and can receive stimuli. One important stimulus for your baby is hearing, and this week is also when the external structure of their ear (called the auricle) develops. This structure consists of cartilage tissue and acts like a funnel for sound waves, forming the various sounds and sending them on to the brain.

All your child’s vital organs are now formed and, from now on, doctors will refer to them as a foetus rather than an embryo.

What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 10

Things will have calmed down a bit for you by now, and you’ll be happy to know that the risk of a miscarriage is getting smaller.

You probably won’t feel nauseous anymore, and all the other typical symptoms of pregnancy, such as pulling pains in your abdomen, will slowly be disappearing.

You’ll gradually be feeling a lot better, and the joy about your pregnancy will be increasing every day – sometimes you’ll hardly believe it, other times you’ll be over the moon. Your drive and creativity will increase, and you’ll soon start making concrete plans and thinking about how you can prepare your home for when the baby comes.

Over the next few weeks, your body will start becoming increasingly round and you’ll experience the normal weight gain that pregnancy causes. A healthy, balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy, both for your baby’s development and for your own health.

Drinking during pregnancy

It should be obvious to you as a mum-to-be that you shouldn’t drink alcohol during your pregnancy. You certainly have no excuse for not knowing that even “just a little drop” can harm your baby. Nor is it true that drinks with a low alcohol content, such as beer and wine, are less harmful than hard liquor.

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day, your baby is growing from cells that are constantly replicating – and alcohol kills these cells. Adults have fully developed organs and brains, giving them a higher tolerance against poisons like alcohol, but your baby is defenceless.

Your baby develops extremely quickly during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. During this period, the first structures that they will need to survive outside the womb begin to form. Their skeleton, muscles, brain and organ systems need to develop properly to avoid deformities.

For this reason, you should stop drinking alcohol as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s a good idea to give up alcohol as soon as you start trying for a baby and if you think fertilisation might have been successful. 

There are also other drinks that you should avoid. Ginger ale, for example, contains large amounts of quinine, so isn’t a good idea while you’re pregnant, and nor are fizzy drinks, as they can contain caffeine and phosphoric acid, which has been proven to break down flesh. Most fizzy drinks also contain too much sugar, empty calories that unnecessarily increase the amount of weight you gain.

Bars and restaurants offer a range of drinks based on fruit juices and sparkling water, so there’s no need to completely cancel your social life in order to avoid alcohol. Try drinks with ginger, lemon or lemon balm, which are good for your mental state and for your baby.

Midwife’s advice

‘Fizzy drinks can actually help if you feel nauseous or have circulatory problems, but you shouldn’t drink them simply to quench your thirst or as a regular part of your daily fluid intake.’ Dorothee Kutz, midwife

Top tips

  • Look in your wardrobe for loose-fitting, comfortable clothes
  • Remember, it’s never too early to start thinking of names for your child
  • Now is the time to start massaging and applying cream to your belly, your thighs and your bottom, as these are the areas most affected by your increasing size.


Questions you may want to ask your doctor

Protecting your skin

If you previously suffered from sensitive or dry skin, your pregnancy can make it worse. The demands of being pregnant can also exacerbate weak connective tissue. Various products are available for effective skincare.

If you’re still worried about your skin, however, you can ask your doctor for advice. 

Information about the author:

Juliane Jacke-Gerlitz is a registered nurse. She has been working in the field of mother and breastfeeding counselling for more than ten years. Currently she is working as a medical writer and psychological consultant. Juliane Jacke-Gerlitz has been married for 22 years, is a mother of eight children and lives with her family in Halle.