Pregnancy Concerns

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Overweight and pregnant

Overweight and pregnant

Management of childbirth in the excessively overweight patient was a topic of discussion at a recent department meeting at one of the hospitals I attend. Obesity is increasing in incidence in the community. Now approximately 50 per cent of women who become pregnant...

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Aches and Pains in Pregnancy

Aches and Pains in Pregnancy

I feel so heavy! Pelvic heaviness can be apparent in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is due to increased blood flow to the pelvis and an increase in uterine size because of your pregnancy. It is also due stretching of the uterus supporting ligaments. Because of...

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Armpit Lumps in Pregnancy

Armpit Lumps in Pregnancy

What are these lumps in my armpits? Lumps in both armpits or axillae at the same time is usually due to axiliary extensions (or tails) of breast tissue. As such they are typically more of an issue in advanced pregnancy and especially when your milk comes in....

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Backache in Pregnancy

Backache in Pregnancy

Why does my back ache? While backache can be a problem in the first trimester, it is usually more common as pregnancy advances. There is more strain on your back with weight of the enlarged uterus. As well there are physiological and hormonal changes affecting your...

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Baby Brain

Baby Brain

Is baby brain real? Answer YES Also called “placental brain”, studies have shown that pregnancy impairs memory for up to 80 per cent of pregnant women and new mothers. Pregnant women can have impaired cognitive ability, particularly increased forgetfulness and poor...

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When will my baby turn head down?

When will my baby turn head down?

When will my baby turn head down? As you progress through pregnancy the baby’s position becomes a more important consideration. At about 30 weeks about 25% of babies are not in a “cephalic” (head down) position. It is normal for the baby to turn head down even by...

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Baby’s Movements

Baby’s Movements

When should I be aware of my baby moving? You will become aware of your baby moving between 16 – 22 weeks of pregnancy. You will usually be aware sooner in your second and subsequent compared to your first ongoing pregnancy. If you have an anterior placenta you are...

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Behavioural Changes in Pregnancy

Behavioural Changes in Pregnancy

Why am I so moody? Pregnant women are frequently more emotionally sensitive than usual and are often less able to cope with normal stresses. They can become upset more easily than they usually would, cry more often and sometimes without a significant reason, cope less...

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Belly Ring in Pregnancy

Belly Ring in Pregnancy

Do I have to remove my belly ring now that I am pregnant? The answer is no. But don’t be surprised if you choose to remove it as your pregnancy advances. This can be because: With abdominal wall stretching in advanced pregnancy your ring can become very uncomfortable....

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Brown Abdominal Line

Brown Abdominal Line

Why do I have a brown line down my tummy? This is called the linea nigra. The linea nigra is dark vertical brown line down the middle of the abdomen. It is common and due to the hormone changes of pregnancy. As well there can be increased pigmentation of the...

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Bleeding Gums in Pregnancy

Bleeding Gums in Pregnancy

Why are my gums bleeding? In pregnancy there is increased blood flow in mucous membranes, including the gums around your teeth. As well  in pregnancy you are more prone to dental caries and a build up of plaque around your teeth. These factors result in your gums...

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Bleeding in Pregnancy

Bleeding in Pregnancy

I am bleeding! Bleeding in pregnancy is not normal except for a small amount with mucous heralding the onset of labour (called a ‘show’). In early pregnancy bleeding is usually due to threatened miscarriage and is covered in question on Miscarriage. In more advanced...

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Breast Changes in Pregnancy

Breast Changes in Pregnancy

My breasts look different now that I am pregnant. A woman’s breasts experience a number of changes in pregnancy. These include: Breast fullness from the time of conception. Breast heaviness which becomes more marked especially in advanced pregnancy. Breast tenderness...

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Constipation in Pregnancy

Constipation in Pregnancy

I’m constipated! Constipation is common throughout pregnancy, often with onset in the first trimester. It can also be a problem after you have delivered your baby.   What can be done? Constipation can be minimised by eating more fresh fruit, high fibre food,...

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Contractions in Pregnancy

Contractions in Pregnancy

I think I am having contractions! Is that ok? A pregnant woman will often become aware of uterine contractions to a varying extent during the course of her pregnancy, especially as it gets more advanced. Such contractions are irregular, tend to be infrequent and not...

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Cramps and Spasms

Cramps and Spasms

I have leg cramps! Leg cramps and muscle spasms are common. It is thought due to blood flow and electrolyte changes in pregnancy though not all pregnant women get them and the incidence and frequency vary   What can be done? Stretch the muscle that has gone into...

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Cravings

Cravings

I have these unusual food cravings! It is normal. Pregnant woman can get the most amazing cravings. They can develop a longing for a food they would not normally eat or unusual combinations of food or timing of eating. It can be useful in early pregnancy to help...

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Dad During The Pregnancy – What Is Your Role?

Dad During The Pregnancy – What Is Your Role?

What is my role in the pregnancy? You are a very important person! During pregnancy the mother of your baby is likely to be more tired, uncomfortable and emotional than usual. She will not only experience changes in her shape but also in her skin and hair and may feel...

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Dizziness and Fainting

Dizziness and Fainting

Why do I get dizzy? Dizziness in pregnancy is common. Some pregnant women are more prone to it than others. The most common cause is called postural hypotension, which is a gravity induced drop in blood flow to the brain. Postural hypotension is more likely in...

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Dry Skin

Dry Skin

I have dry skin. Dry skin is a common skin condition in pregnancy and characterized by a lack of the appropriate amount of water in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. Dry skin is also common after childbirth. If you have a problem such as atopic...

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Engagement of your Baby’s Head

Engagement of your Baby’s Head

What does engagement of my baby’s head mean? Your baby’s head is technically engaged when the widest diameter of the head passes through the brim of your pelvis. A pregnant woman will often know this because of a very intense feeling of fullness in her pelvis and...

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Fluid Retention

Fluid Retention

What happened to my ankles? Fluid retention is common as the pregnancy advances. Fluid retention can result in significant weight gain and can make you feel more uncomfortable in pregnancy. Occasionally it will be a problem even in the first trimester. Leg swelling is...

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Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids

I think I have haemorrhoids. Haemorrhoids or piles are swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus. Haemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, especially in advanced pregnancy and with a vaginal delivery. In pregnancy haemorrhoids are probably due to...

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Hair on Abdomen

Hair on Abdomen

Why do I have extra hair growth on my tummy? Some pregnant women will notice a significant increase in hair on the abdomen while pregnant and while breast feeding. This is due you hormone changes in pregnancy. Sometimes it also occurs on a woman’s breasts.   What...

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Headaches in Pregnancy

Headaches in Pregnancy

Headaches in pregnancy Headaches can occur in pregnancy as they can occur at any other time, with the causes being the same as would be the case as if you were not pregnant. These usual causes can cause headaches to be more prevalent in pregnancy. Common causes...

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Hair, Skin and Nail Care

Hair, Skin and Nail Care

I look a mess. What can I do? Pregnancy hormones have an impact on skin, hair and nails. Typically there is more growth, often skin and hair are oilier and sometimes there is a tendency to increased acne. As your skin retains more moisture (which can smooth out any...

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Indigestion and Heartburn in Pregnancy

Indigestion and Heartburn in Pregnancy

What can I do about my indigestion? Indigestion and heartburn is due to the reflux of the acid contents of the stomach into the lower oesophagus. Indigestion and heartburn are very common in pregnancy and can be the first sign that a woman is pregnant. Some women...

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Itchy Skin in Pregnancy

Itchy Skin in Pregnancy

Why am I itchy? Why is my skin is itchy in pregnancy is not an uncommon question. It is often related to hormone changes in pregnancy. With the considerable abdominal stretching it is not unusual to be aware of itchy and dryer skin. In advanced pregnancy it is not...

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Looking Too Big In Your Pregnancy

Looking Too Big In Your Pregnancy

Why do I look bigger than my weeks? Looking too big for your weeks of pregnancy is more common in pregnancies subsequent to the first ongoing. Looking too big can mean you are showing sooner and friends making the comment that you look more advanced in your pregnancy...

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Miscarriage

Miscarriage

What is a miscarriage? Miscarriage which is also called spontaneous abortion is defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation. In the first third of pregnancy, a miscarriage is called a first-trimester miscarriage. A miscarriage that occurs in the...

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Morning sickness

Morning sickness

I feel sick! Nausea is common in the first trimester. It usually settles by 12 to 14 weeks. While the term “morning sickness” is used the nausea is often not confined to the morning. Also the nausea varies in severity considerably from one person to another and one...

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Muffin Top Look

Muffin Top Look

A friend mentioned the “muffin top look”. What is it? The “muffin top look” is a term introduced by Australian comedians Kath and Kim. While it occurs unrelated to post pregnancy, it is most prevalent in women who have had a baby. It is the look when a woman wears...

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Myths and Tales about Pregnancy

Myths and Tales about Pregnancy

Myths and Tales about Pregnancy Over the centuries there has been passed down many pregnancy tales (often called “old wives tales”) and myths. When a pregnancy outcome is consistent with the pregnancy tale the tale will often tend to be spread further and with...

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Numbness on the top of my tummy

Numbness on the top of my tummy

I have numbness at the top of my tummy. Is that ok? Numbness in the upper abdomen region is relatively common in advanced pregnancy. It is thought due to stretching of the abdominal wall and associated nerves with advanced pregnancy. The numbness, while annoying, is...

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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

It feels like it is going to fall out! In the antenatal period commonly women in their second or more ongoing pregnancy and occasionally women in their first ongoing pregnancy will say “it feels like it is going to fall out” as pregnancy advances. Stress incontinence...

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Pubic symphysis pain

Pubic symphysis pain

Why do I have pubic pain? Pubic symphysis joint pain can be a very significant problem as pregnancy advances. It is due to relaxin and progesterone hormones causing softening of pubic symphysis ligaments. This allows the pelvis to become a lot more ‘elastic’ so that...

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Sexual Intercourse in Pregnancy

Sexual Intercourse in Pregnancy

Can we have sex in pregnancy? There are normally no restrictions on sexual activities in pregnancy. Because of anatomical changes with your larger uterus in advanced pregnancy different sexual intercourse positions may need to be adopted.When are there restrictions on...

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Size – I look too Big or I look too Small

Size – I look too Big or I look too Small

“I look too big” or “I look too small”. Comments from others about inappropriate size for dates can cause much concern. The first thing to do is to establish whether or not others opinions are correct. This can be done by me through abdominal palpation, tape measure...

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Sleeping on my Back

Sleeping on my Back

Can I sleep on my back in pregnancy? Many pregnant women are concerned and have been told or read that it is dangerous to sleep or lie on their back in pregnancy. This is a particular concern if a woman is used to sleeping on her back as it is more comfortable and if...

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How can I stop getting stretch marks?

How can I stop getting stretch marks?

Stretch marks are due to tearing of the deeper (dermis) layer of the skin. Usually stretch marks appear as angry red lines While common in pregnancy, not every pregnant woman gets them. As well they can occur at other times when not pregnant such as with rapid growth...

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Stabbing Pains in my Pelvis

Stabbing Pains in my Pelvis

I have stabbing pains in my pelvis. Is that ok? Usually the answer is yes but you should bring it to my attention to check. It is more common in advanced pregnancy and especially if your baby’s head is engaged in your pelvis, if you have had an advanced pregnancy and...

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Swelling

Swelling

Why am I so swollen? Swelling is due to fluid retention in the body during pregnancy. It is due to hormone changes in pregnancy and is common. It usually occurs in the feet/ankles and hands/wrists. It can also be noticed in the vulval area, in the face and in the...

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Tiredness

Tiredness

Why am I so tired? Tiredness is very common. Tiredness tends to be more of a problem in the first and third trimesters. In the first trimester it is the body getting used to pregnancy while in the third trimester it has to do with being advanced in pregnancy and the...

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Urinary Frequency

Urinary Frequency

Why am I going to the toilet so often? Urinary frequency is common even from conception. It can be one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. It is related to hormone changes and the increase in blood volume that occurs in pregnancy. As well pregnant women are encouraged...

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Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal Discharge

Why do I have so much discharge? It is common to have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. It is due to the impact of hormones on the skin of the vagina and cervix. It is clear to yellow in colour and there is no irritation or significant odour. The amount varies from...

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Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

I think I have varicose veins! Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged, palpable veins near the surface of the skin. They most commonly develop in the legs and ankles. In pregnancy, they can also occur in the vulval area (vulval varicosities). They are common in...

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Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency

I have Vitamin D deficiency. Is this a problem in pregnancy? More Vitamin D deficiency is being diagnosed in the community. This is due to a combination of more doctors checking Vitamin D levels in “well” people and also an increased incidence with people being...

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Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Weight Gain in Pregnancy

What is normal weight gain in pregnancy? The usual weight gain in pregnancy is 10-12 kg, which works out to approximately one kg and a bit every month of pregnancy. Weight gain patterns vary considerably though. Larger women tend to gain less weight in pregnancy than...

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