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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Varicella vaccine in pregnancy

Question:  Are there any risks in living in the same house with a 16-weeks pregnant woman after taking the varicella immunisation injection if the woman has never been vaccinated against chickenpox? R. (UK)

Answer: The varicella vaccine used to protect against chicken pox is a live attenuated (weakened) type of vaccine. Whilst this will provoke the immune system of the recipient to produce protective antibodies, the virus is not able to replicate and therefore cannot cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine. Nor can it be passed on to another person. For that reason, anybody coming into contact with the vaccinated individual is at no risk whatsoever. The pregnant woman in this case does not need to worry.


Intermittent bleeding at 14 weeks

Question: Hi, im 14 wks pregnant and have a large blood clot just above the sac of the baby i had 3 gushes of red blood on friday and a little blood clot then brown on saturday then red again on Sunday. Midwife will not see me until 2 wks time. K. (UK)

Answer: I take it you had a scan which identified the blood clot beside the gestational sac. When you have such a clot, called a ‘retroplacental haematoma’, intermittent bleeding, normally consisting of dark brown rather than fresh bright red blood, is to be expected as the trapped blood escapes. Presumably the scan showed that the baby was OK and, from what you have described, I see no reason to suspect that this would have changed. Your anxiety is completely understandable and two weeks to get the confirmation can be a long time. At 14 weeks it is actually possible to hear the baby’s heartbeat using a hand-held Doppler device. A scan is therefore not necessary. You should be able to get that done at your GP much earlier than the said two weeks. Alternatively, contact your local hospital’s early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU) where you will be seen within a day or two. In some cases you may have to go through the A&E department to get that appointment. Best wishes.

Is the baby missing fingers?

Question: The doctor said on my baby's right hand she is missing 4 fingers from the ultrasound. Every time i see her on the ultrasound she is sucking her thumb. this is the 5 mo ultrasound. Is there a bigger chance she will come out with 4 missing finger or she didn’t want to show them her fingers that day? N. (USA)

Answer: The scan findings at such a relatively advanced stage of pregnancy are usually quite reliable. This is because limbs and their appendages can be identified quite clearly and there is still a great deal of room to get views from different angles. It means therefore, there is a significant likelihood that the baby is, indeed, missing the digits as suggested by that scan. Of course a second opinion or a repeat scan is routinely arranged when such significant findings are noted to make sure there is no error which, in theory, is still probable. I would assume that is the arrangement in place for you.

Absent periods but pregnancy test negative

Question:  My wife has vaginal bleeding problem. and she's taking ovral l tablets under doc's advice. She has doubt whether she's pregnant.The pregnancy test kit showed negative. Back pain, giddiness, nausea, cramp, mood changes, difficulty in sleeping,low appetite are her effects. We got closed on november 2010 at last. So what to do to make sure whether she's pregnant or not? A.S. (Maldives)

Answer: If I understand you correctly, your wife has not had a period since late November, that is almost 4 months ago. However, a pregnancy test is negative. Apart from absence of periods, she has a number of non-specific symptoms you have mentioned above. The doctor has given her Ovral L which is a brand of the normal combined oral contraceptive pill, obviously aimed at giving her withdrawal bleeds (periods) after every pack. It is my view that your wife is unlikely to be pregnant if the pregnancy test is negative. Of-course you can always repeat the test if you think the earlier result was erroneous. If she is still convinced that she is pregnant, the only way doubt will be removed is to have an ultrasound scan. That will give you a definitive answer. Were she to be confirmed not to be pregnant and if it is unusual for her to miss her periods for that length of time, it is very important that tests are done to establish why her periods have ceased. There is a number of hormone blood tests which may shed light on what has caused this. Disappearance of periods can be caused by a number of conditions including thyroid problems, over-production of a hormone called prolactin and premature ovarian failure. All these can be easily investigated using a simple blood test.

Dysport for vaginismus

Question: Where in UK is there treatment for vaginismus using Dysport... M.M. (UK)

Answer: Dysport is a brand name for the botulinum toxin injection, more popularly known by the other brand name ‘Botox’. There is strong evidence that at least some women suffering from vaginismus benefit from this treatment where the symptoms are relieved or completely eliminated. It is, therefore, an option that can be offered where the diagnosis is confirmed and when the standard traditional measures have not worked.

Availability in the UK is indeed patchy. The best advice I can give you is to see your GP in the first instance. He/she should be able to advice you whether there is a gynaecologist in the catchment area hospitals who offers this treatment and more importantly whether it is one of the forms of treatment that is funded (this is currently an issue for a variety of treatment forms). If that avenue is closed, you will have to pursue the treatment privately. Again, even via this route, your GP is the best person to advice you on which local specialist you should be seeing. As long as the diagnosis is correct, this treatment is easy to administer, safe and has a potential of transforming a sufferer’s life. Best wishes.

Acetaminophen in pregnancy

Question: Is acetaminophen safe to use in pregnancy? I’m two months and have trouble with my sinuses.. K.V. (USA)

Answer: Acetaminophen, which is known as Paracetamol in the rest of world (outside North America), is a safe pain-killer to take at any stage of the pregnancy. As long as you stick within the recommended dose, there is nothing to worry about.