Weeks 10 to 14 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetus in uterus, with detail of development at 12 weeks pregnant


By weeks 10 to 14 of your pregnancy, the placenta has formed inside your uterus. The placenta's main job is to give your baby oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord.

It's possible to hear your baby's heartbeat with a special ultrasound device. Your baby's organs are developing. The arms and legs can bend.

This is a good time to think about testing for birth defects. There are two types of tests: screening and diagnostic. Screening tests show the chance that a baby has a certain birth defect. They can't tell you for sure that your baby has a problem. Diagnostic tests show if a baby has a certain birth defect.

It's your choice whether to have these tests. You and your partner can talk to your doctor or midwife about tests for birth defects.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Decide about tests

  • You can have screening tests and diagnostic tests to check for birth defects. The decision to have a test for birth defects is personal. Think about your age, your chance of passing on a family disease, your need to know about any problems, and what you might do after you have the test results.
    • Quadruple (quad) blood test. This screening test can be done between 15 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. It checks the amount of four substances in your blood. The doctor looks at these test results, along with your age and other factors, to find out the chance that your baby may have certain problems.
    • Amniocentesis. This diagnostic test is used to look for chromosomal problems in the baby's cells. It can be done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, usually around week 16.
    • Nuchal translucency test. This test uses ultrasound to measure the thickness of the area at the back of the baby's neck. An increase in the thickness can be an early sign of Down syndrome.
    • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS). This is a test that looks for certain genetic problems with your baby. The same genes that are in your baby are in the placenta. A small piece of the placenta is taken out and tested. This test is done when you are 10 to 13 weeks pregnant.

Ease discomfort

  • Slow down and take naps when you feel tired.
  • If your emotions swing, talk to someone.
  • If your gums bleed, try a softer toothbrush. If your gums are puffy and bleed a lot, see your dentist.
  • If you feel dizzy:
    • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
    • Drink plenty of fluids.
    • Eat small snacks to keep your blood sugar stable.
    • Put your head between your legs as though you were tying your shoelaces.
    • Lie down with your legs higher than your head. Use pillows to prop up your feet.
  • If you have a headache:
    • Lie down.
    • Ask your partner or a good friend for a neck massage.
    • Try cool cloths over your forehead or across the back of your neck.
    • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief. Do not use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), unless your doctor says it is okay.
  • If you have a nosebleed, pinch your nose gently, and hold it for a short while. To prevent nosebleeds, try massaging a small dab of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, in your nostrils.
  • If your nose is stuffed up, try saline (saltwater) nose sprays. Do not use decongestant sprays.

Care for your breasts

  • Wear a bra that gives you good support.
  • Know that changes in your breasts are normal.
    • Your breasts may get larger and more tender. Tenderness usually gets better by 12 weeks.
    • Your nipples may get darker and larger, and small bumps around your nipples may show more.
    • The veins in your chest and breasts may show more.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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