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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

‘Period-like’ symptoms at 11 weeks

Question: Hi there, I'm experiencing period like symptoms and I'm 11 weeks pregnant Is this common? Got a bit of pain and a show of blood not a lot just when I wipe really. I have read bleeding can common? T.G. (UK)

Answer: You are right. Bleeding in early pregnancy is not uncommon. What you are describing does probably qualify to be called ‘threatened miscarriage’ even though the impression I get is that the bleeding is quite minimal. If you have had a booking scan already I think you can be reassured. However, if you haven’t had a scan in this pregnancy, it would be worthwhile to contact your doctor to have this arranged.

Anencephaly diagnosis

Question:  Please help us my niece had a anencephaly. She's trying to survive until know she alive.And she’s in the house. Hospital said that she’s hopeless but i think she's getting okey.What will i do or can you help us please? S.F. (Philippines)

Answer:  If I understand you correctly, your pregnant niece has had a scan which shows that her baby is anencephalic. This is a condition where there is no brain development at all. If this diagnosis has been confirmed, I am afraid the outlook for the baby is invariably poor. Such a baby cannot survive. Some mothers opt to have a termination of pregnancy. Others decide to carry the pregnancy to delivery. Either way, the baby cannot survive for long. The decision on what to do is always very difficult but it is the mother’s to make. There is more information on the subject here:

Sickle cell trait and general health of the child

Question:  My boy is 2 yrs old and has haemoglobin AS.He falls sick quite often and constantly complains of pain in his body parts,can a sickle cell carrier behave like a sickler and is this situation permanent? what are the remedies? M.O. (Kenya)

Answer: Children (and even adults) with sickle cell trait have normal health, unlike those with sickle cell disease (SCD) who tend to suffer from ill-health and sickling crises.  If you are son is definitely Hb AS (sickle cell trait), the health problems you are describing are almost certainly nothing to do with his carrier status. He will need t be seen by a paediatrician for a proper evaluation on any other possible underlying problem.

Multiple miscarriages

Question:  My daughter has suffered 5 miscarriages at 5-7 weeks. Test have shown there is nothing wrong with her or her husband. What are the chances of her having a normal pregnancy and what could be the causes of this? S.H. (UK)

Answer: Multiple miscarriages, especially if recurrent rather than intermittent, are a particularly distressing life experience. Since the couple have been extensive investigated, I can only assume all known causes have been excluded. Statistics can be a poor consolation in this situation but your daughter may wish to know that, even after 5 miscarriages, when there is no identifiable underlying cause, the possibility of a normal full-term pregnancy is as high as 75%. In any case, even if antiphospholipid syndrome and thrombophilia have been conclusively ruled out, your daughter should consider being on low dose aspirin (75mg daily) in any subsequent pregnancy starting as early as pregnancy is confirmed. I have a feeling she has already received this advice from her specialist. My best wishes.

Calculating weight

Question:  How to calculate weight during pregnancy? D. (Iraq)

Answer:  I am assuming you want to know how the weight of the baby in the womb is calculated. If that is so, the commonest method for calculating an estimated fetal weight (EFW) is through a computer software found in all modern ultrasound scanners. The software uses measurements of the baby’s abdominal circumference and the head circumference to calculate the weight. It is not very accurate and the margin of error could be up to 15% either way.

Recommended interval after a miscarriage

Question: How long should i wait before conceiving again after a miscarriage due to cervical incompetence?i have miscarried three times will i ever get a baby of my own? I.N. (Kenya)

Answer:  If what you have is definitely cervical incompetence, after three miscarriages you definitely need a cervical suture. These can be tricky to apply and a specialist who has  the know-how and experience needs to carry out the procedure. Typically, this is applied after the first trimester is completed (just after 13 weeks).

Better still, if there is a specialist who knows how to put the suture abdominally, that works better. However, you have given me virtually no details about the miscarriages for me to form a view whether the diagnosis you have been given (cervical incompetence) is correct. Miscarriages in this condition behave in a particular way and that information is important.  As for the interval, the length doesn’t matter. You can start trying for another baby as soon as you feel emotionally ready. That can be as early as one month. The length of the interval does not make any difference to your chances of a successful outcome. My best wishes.

Pregnancy after a placental abruption

Question:  I suffered a placental abruption at 24 weeks 6 days, but carried my little boy until 26 weeks 2 days. He survived 8 weeks. I was never given a follow up appointment with a gynaecologist so have no idea what the outcomes for further pregnancies would be. I feel as if it was something I done that caused my body to reject my baby. Everybody says that its not my fault, but as an expectant mother you have one job, to carry and protect your unborn baby, and I feel that I didn't do either. My husband and I have discussed having another baby (we already have 2 children other than our angel) but are both terrified that we could suffer the same heartache again and cant put the children and ourselves through it again. I long for a baby but am not sure whether that is me trying to prove to myself that I can carry a baby. I'm pretty messed up at the moment. My son died in **/**** K.S. (UK)

Answer: Losing a baby is one of the most distressing experiences in a person’s life. From the dates you have given, your loss was only six months ago and therefore emotions are quite understandably quite raw still. Looking at the broad picture of your history, you have had two successful and apparently complication-free pregnancies before this tragic event. That would tend to strongly suggest that you are not prone to this particular problem and that was most likely a one-off. I take it you did not have any of the recognised risk factors (as discussed here). If that is the case, and since you are both keen on another child, you should go for it soon as you feel ready to do so. Even without recognised risk factors, it is true that your risk of another placental abruption is increased somewhat. That is to the order of about 5%. That of course means you have a 95% chance of not experiencing any such thing. I am rather puzzled by the fact that you never had an appointment to see your specialist at the hospital. There must have been a communication mix-up. You can certainly still  ask to see them even after this time for a proper debrief. Just ask your doctor to contact them. I would certainly encourage you to do so before you make your final decision.