At 10 weeks, your baby is about the size of a kumquat or a green olive. Its eyes are fully formed, though the eyelids will stay fused shut until about 27 weeks. Teeth are hardening and connecting to the jawbone, and the brain is developing.
The 10-week ultrasound pictures that you receive will clearly show what is recognisable as a baby – your baby. It has arms and legs with fully formed fingers and toes. You may also be able to determine the sex of the baby.
Is it normal to have a 10-week ultrasound?
In the UK, the first standard ultrasound with the NHS is at 12 weeks. However, there may be occasions when you want to have earlier scans – possibly, you have had pregnancy complications before and just want to keep a closer eye on everything. Or you are a worrier by nature and just need to have peace of mind at every stage of the pregnancy.
Whatever your personal reasons, you are perfectly within your rights to book a 10-week scan to gain more insight into this amazing process of growing another human being.
Checking growth and development
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the baby is going through extreme stages of change and development. By 10 weeks, that embryonic bean has developed into a human being measuring approximately 3.1cm from crown to rump. The sonographer will use the 10-week ultrasound to verify that your baby is reaching each stage of growth and development in line with expectations.
The baby’s internal organs will all be in their initial phases of growth. Because at this stage, the skin is still translucent, all the internal organs will be visible during the ultrasound scan. Your sonographer will be able to check their presence and that their rate of growth is in line with normal development.
Can you check for Down’s Syndrome with a 10-week ultrasound?
You can scan the baby for risk of Down’s syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities from 11 weeks by measuring the baby’s nuchal fold at the back of its neck. This is called a nuchal translucency scan. Should it throw up a potentially heightened risk of Down’s syndrome, you may be advised to book in for a NIPT non-invasive prenatal testing which will give a more detailed insight into the possibility of your baby developing chromosomal abnormalities, the NIPT test can be done from 10 weeks onwards.
Can you tell the sex of the baby at 10 weeks?
There is some controversy about whether you can tell via a 10-week ultrasound if your baby is a boy or a girl. Officially you cannot confirm the sex of a baby until 16 weeks, though that is getting earlier and earlier with the clarity of ultrasound technology that is currently available.
At 10 weeks, the genitalia are not yet fully formed, and, unless the sonographer is extremely experienced, there will be no guarantee or certainty about the sex. It may be that they have an inkling gained through carrying out thousands of scans, but it will just be an educated guess.
The earliest you can discover the sex of your baby via ultrasound is probably around 16 weeks, though this may not be completely accurate. However with a NIPT test you can find our the gender from 10 weeks via a blood test.
Am I still at risk of miscarriage?
If you have a history of miscarriages, it is understandable that you would want to keep a closer eye on your pregnancy. At 10 weeks, you are still considered in the early phase of pregnancy, and miscarriage is still a higher risk. A 10-week ultrasound may just put your mind at rest about the potential of another miscarriage and give your growing baby a general check-over to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Having a baby is an emotional journey. If you have embarked on this journey unsuccessfully several times already, then there is absolutely no shame in wanting to be as sure as you possibly can that everything is developing as it should. You’re almost at the generally accepted safe milestone of 12 weeks. Take every bit of help and support that you possibly can!
Take comfort from the heartbeat
Whatever your reason for booking a 10-week scan, to just see your baby’s heartbeat again is reason enough. To see the heartbeat on the screen makes all the morning sickness, bloating, mood swings, and body changes worthwhile.
If you would like to book a 10-week ultrasound scan in one of our UK clinics, you can schedule an appointment through our online booking system here.