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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Persistent brownish discharge in early pregnancy

Question: I am 6 wks pregnant & feeling the symptoms. Painful breasts & swollen tum. It's my 3rd pregnancy, but I miscarried at 7 wks on my last one. I'm 40 yrs old. I've had brown discharge every day since 4 weeks pregnant. Is it likely to end in another miscarriage? I'm booked in for a scan next week. Preparing myself for the news. M.H. (UK)


Answer: It is difficult to answer that question. Is the brown discharge something to cause concern? Yes, it is. Does it necessarily mean you are headed to a miscarriage? Certainly not. It would be difficult for anybody anywhere to give you clarity of the situation before you have that scan. Asking you to prepare for bad news will have flimsy basis but reassuring you completely will not be credible either. The honest answer I can give you is that try not to worry and see what that scan shows next week. My best wishes.



Mother with anti-Kell antibodies

Question:  If at all possible please could you clarify whether based on the excerpt from your website (which I have pasted below) with regard to Kell Antibodies whether the father having the Kell Antigen is the only way for the baby to also have it (based on the mother having the Anti-E Antibodies) and therefore that there are no recessive genes or anything similar that the parents could both have that could cause the baby to have the antigen?
I live in rural Australia and the doctors have no knowledge on the subject whatsoever (bar Google findings which I find very alarming from my GP). Thank you very much for your time (excerpt below). A.K. (Australia)


"The law of averages mean even if a woman has anti-Kell antibodies, her partner is most likely not to have the antigen that would trigger the reaction in the baby. Remember, the baby has got to inherit the target antigen for the reaction to occur. When paternity is certain, the father can be tested for Kell antigen. Most will be negative. If the father is Kell negative, the four weekly blood tests are not necessary and the mother can have her routine antibody test at 28 weeks like everybody else."

Answer: You have hit the nail on the head with the first sentence in your question. The baby will only be vulnerable to the anti-Kell antibodies found in the mother’s circulation if he/she (the baby) has the Kell antigens. Since the baby can only inherit these from either parent and the mother does not have these antigens, the only possible source is the father. If the father is tested and found not to have Kell antigens (i.e. Kell Negative) there is absolutely no chance of the baby having these antigens. In other words, there is zero risk to the baby from the mother’s anti-Kell antibodies.



Conceiving after a miscarriage

Question: Will I be pregnant after a miscarriage? H.K.J. (India)

Answer: Your question is very brief. Without more details I cannot be certain I have understood you correctly. However, if you are asking whether you can conceive after a miscarriage, the answer is certainly yes. Normally ovulation will resume within 4 to 6 weeks after a complete miscarriage. It means, if the woman who has had a miscarriage resumes being sexually active, she could conceive as early as within a month of the miscarriage.



Empty gestational sac

Question: I have been spotting for 3 weeks now. A scan at the hospital showed that the gestational sac is empty. I have an appointment for a repeat scan in 1 week. What are the chances that they got it wrong. I’ve been told not to worry but it is all I’m thinking about. Please help. A.V. (UK)


Answer: This does not sound good I’m afraid. Unfortunately you have not said how many weeks gestation you are supposed to be. If you are six weeks or above, a scan should always show the fetus as well as the fetal heart pulsation. The vaginal spotting and the empty gestational sac is strongly suggestive that this pregnancy may be failing. The most likely diagnosis is an anembryonic pregnancy, also called a ‘blighted ovum’. I am, however, reluctant to declare certainty because I do not have all the facts here. I am, however, pretty certain your next scan will give you clarity which you rightly desire.


A ‘vanishing twin’?

Question: i am 7 weeks pregnant. I had an ultrasound and found am carrying twin, but only one was having heart beat. Doctor advise to do another ultra sound after two weeks . Is this situation normal? A. (Oman)


Answer: It appears you may be having what is known as a ‘vanishing twin’ or ‘twin resorption’. It is a known fact that many pregnancies start off as twins but one of the twins ceases to be viable at a very early stage and in effect, vanishes. Most women will have their first pregnancy scan significantly later than you had at around 12 weeks or even later. By this time, evidence of the twin that didn’t survive may be missed as the surviving twin is significantly bigger and will have squeezed the remnants of the other twin into a thin sliver.

This ‘vanishing twin’ phenomenon is more common with IVF pregnancies but is also seen in spontaneously conceived pregnancies. Your next scan should give you a clearer picture as to whether this is indeed what has taken place.