You are 10 Weeks and 4 Days 206 days to go…

Your baby’s limbs are more developed now, enabling him to move, and his hands and fingers can be clearly seen on a scan.

Your baby today

The umbilical cord gradually becomes more coiled as the pregnancy progresses—as seen here on the left of the image. This coiling is thought to occur because of the many movements the embryo makes.

Your baby takes on a more human form as his neck lengthens and his head is seen as separate from his body. The head is still about half the total length of your baby. The length of your baby can be measured on an ultrasound by measuring the distance between your baby’s head (crown) and his bottom (rump). This is noted as the CRL (crown-rump length) measurement. The head is also measured: this is the biparietal diameter (BPD), which is the distance between the two parietal bones on each side of the baby’s head.

Now that the neck is more developed and all the limb joints have formed, your baby can begin to make several movements. The completed diaphragm allows for breathing movements. In the gut, your baby’s duodenum now opens up along its length, the small bowel starts to rotate and prepares to re-enter the abdominal cavity.

Within your baby’s mouth, the hard palate has formed; the relatively large tongue makes it easier for your baby to move amniotic fluid through the nostrils rather than through his mouth with each breath.

This endoscopic image, obtained by passing a fine light-emitting tube into the uterus, shows the hands obscuring the fetus’s face.

Nuchal fold screening

At around 11 weeks of pregnancy, you may be offered a nuchal translucency screening. This test assesses the risk of Down syndrome by measuring the width of the fold of skin behind your baby’s neck to see if any excess fluid has collected there.

  • The nuchal fold scan is considered to be 80 percent accurate. If your doctor offers you a blood test (PAPP-A—see The “combined” test) with the scan, it becomes 85–90 percent accurate. When the nasal bone is measured, the accuracy rises to 95 percent.

  • If the results show a high risk, another test  is offered.

… Twins
Double the trouble

Since your body is growing two or more babies, there will be physical effects. But there is a positive side: Since your growing size and hormones are the cause, these symptoms are often worse if the babies are doing well.

Mention severe symptoms if you’re suffering, but remember these symptoms are not serious. You may be seen earlier if you suspect you’re having twins, and will go on to have more prenatal appointments and ultrasound scans. You may be asked to limit activities like travel and exercise as your pregnancy progresses.

  • In the first three months, your heart has to work harder to pump more fluid around your body, which can lead to a greater feeling of fatigue.

  • Morning sickness can be more severe because you have higher amounts of pregnancy hormones.

You are 10 Weeks and 5 Days 205 days to go…

Healthy teeth and gums are essential in pregnancy, so brush thoroughly and make regular dental appointments.

Make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and gums. The hormone progesterone causes gum tissue to soften and it’s therefore more likely to bleed when brushed and to become infected. Unfortunately, there is a link between gum disease and premature birth. The bacteria caused by periodontal disease release toxins into the mother’s bloodstream, which reach the placenta and can affect the baby’s growth. The infection can also lead to the production of inflammatory chemicals that can cause the cervix to dilate and trigger contractions.

To keep your mouth healthy during your pregnancy, brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss your teeth every day. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for cleanings as recommended. If you need antibiotics to treat an infection, make sure to remind your dentist you are pregnant so that medications that are safe in pregnancy are prescribed.

If your dentist needs to take X-rays of your mouth, he or she will protect your baby by covering your abdomen with a lead apron.

Make sure that you brush your teeth regularly, or even more often than usual, and ensure that you floss well. This will reduce the risk of your gums being infected.

… Doctor
Q: Why am I getting more vaginal discharge since being pregnant?
A: In pregnancy, the layer of muscle in the vagina thickens, and cells lining the vagina multiply in response to an increase in the pregnancy hormone estrogen. These changes prepare the vagina for childbirth. As a side effect, the extra cells mean that there is an increase in vaginal discharge, known as leucorrhea.

If you feel sore or itchy in the vaginal area and the discharge is anything other than cream or white, or smells, your doctor will need to take a swab to rule out infection.

Some infections, such as yeast, cause an abnormal discharge. They are common in pregnancy and are easily treated. Even if you’ve self-treated yeast infections before, call your doctor for advice this time. She’ll likely recommend medication that’s applied vaginally, but if she determines that you have bacterial vaginosis, oral medication may be required.

A US study found that, on average, those with one child were missing two or three teeth, and those with four or more children were missing between four and eight teeth.

So the old wives’ tale that “You will lose a tooth for every child” could have some basis in truth. It might be because of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that can cause gum disease (see image).

You are 10 Weeks and 6 Days 204 days to go…

Has sex been the last thing on your mind, or have you noticed an increase in your libido? It seems all women are different.

Your baby today

This is the umbilical cord of an 11-week-old fetus. The cord is a strand of tissue that contains the two spiraling arteries that carry blood to the placenta and a vein that returns blood to the developing baby.

Being expectant parents can bring you emotionally closer as a couple, but not necessarily physically. While some women find that their libido increases during pregnancy, often much to their partner’s surprise, the majority find that their sex drive diminishes in the early weeks.

In the first trimester many women are affected by fatigue and nausea, and so the last thing they want to do is have sex. If this is the case then make sure you explain how you feel to your partner, so that he doesn’t feel rejected. Try to find other ways to stay physically connected with each other: perhaps you can still enjoy some aspects of foreplay, if not penetrative sex. If not, at least try to be affectionate to each other.

It may be your partner who’s anxious about having sex. Many men worry about harming the baby through penetrative sex, although there is no chance of this happening.

Remember, if you do want to have sex, then unless a doctor tells you otherwise, it’s safe to do so while you are pregnant.

… Nutritionist
Q: Is it safe to drink herbal teas?
A: Herbal teas do not contain caffeine, but herbs and other dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and there’s not much research about the effects of many herbs on pregnancy. Stick to decaffeinated black teas. If you want to drink fruit or ginger teas, read the ingredient label carefully to make sure that no herbs are present. Also, limit green tea intake, because it may interfere with fetal growth.

… Your body
Tackling spider veins

Spider veins (or spider nevi) are tiny, red blood vessels that branch outward, just under the skin. They are caused by an increase in the level of estrogen during pregnancy. They usually appear on the face, upper chest, neck, arms, and legs. Often disappearing soon after birth, spider veins are not a cause for concern and can usually be covered with makeup. You can discourage spider veins by:

  • Upping your intake of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your veins and capillaries.

  • Avoiding crossing your legs, which can exacerbate the problem.

  • Getting regular exercise because it keeps your blood circulating around your body.

  • Avoiding standing or sitting for long periods, and elevating your feet when you do sit down.

  • Avoid eating spicy food since some women have found that this helps reduce spider veins.

If you suddenly notice lots of broken veins appearing on your skin, see your doctor.

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