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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Methadone and fertility

Question:  Can you confirm if methadone make a female user more highly fertile?  I was told by a lead doctor at a Glasgow hospital that this was the case.  Please can you confirm the 'ingredient' that causes the female to have a greater chance of conceiving? L.S. (UK)


Answer: No; there is no scientific evidence at all that this is the case. I am a little surprised that you got this from ‘a lead doctor’. A few years back it was noted that a lot of women on Methadone were getting unplanned pregnancies leading to this rather far fetched suggestion.

What appears to be the case is that Methadone use, especially when it is abused, goes hand in hand with poor contraception practise and multiple sexual partners. Unplanned pregnancies in such situations cannot be a surprise.


What is not in doubt is the fact that Methadone does reduce male fertility. There is reduced ejaculate volume and sperm motility. Men who are using Methadone are always warned about this effect.




Preventing stretch-marks in pregnancy

Question:  Hi, how can I prevent stretch marks from developing during pregnancy. Im only 4 months but my older sister had very bad stretch marks during her pregnancy. Thanks. D.K. (Ethiopia))


Answer: You are not going to like this answer but there is no proven way of achievingstretch marks in pregnancy this. Stretch marks are mainly a result of breakage of connective tissue (collagen and elastin fibres) in the inner layer of the skin (dermis) as a result of the stretching that occurs with distension. Different people are susceptible to this at varying degrees. Some do not get any and others end up with very dramatic and sometimes unsightly stretch-marks. You can do general measures to help your skin by regular application of liberal amounts of normal moisturisers to keep the skin as supple as possible. However, since this is applied to the outside, its effect is modest at best. Avoid expensive skin creams with lofty claims!




Fibroid and pregnancy

Question:  I am 11 weeks pregnant and the scan shows a 3cm fibroid. This is my first pregnancy and I am 36. Is this something to worry about? I didn’t see the doctor but the midwife said I will be seen at 20 weeks and not to worry. I am still worried though. S. (UK)


Answer: With that size of fibroid (small) I am inclined to agree with your midwife. At 3 cm, the fibroid is very unlikely to have any significant impact on your pregnancy. Much larger fibroids can have effects such as interfering with the position of the baby making vaginal delivery impossible. That also depends on where the fibroid is located. Fibroids can also interfere with contractility of the uterus during labour or even after delivery when this is important to minimise blood loss. At 3 cm, these are non-issues for you. Please be reassured.



Diabetes in pregnancy and itchy vulva

Question:  I am 6 weeks pregnant and am diabetic but my private part is itchy; is it a problem? N.S.N. (Zambia)

Clotrimazole pessary for thrush

Answer: Vaginal thrush is quite common with diabetes and more so during pregnancy. I suspect this is what is going on with you. In some cases it might be a reflection of sub-optimal diabetes control. This is not always the case. Thrush (candidiasis) is easily treatable and drugs like Canesten (Clotrimazole) pessary are easy to use, effective and safe. A 500 mg Clotrimazole pessary as a single dose is usually sufficient. Unfortunately recurrence is rather common.




Can the head disengage at Term?

Question:  Hi, my baby has felt like its been engaged for the last few weeks. But all of the sudden as i sat back on the sofa a little while ago i felt my baby rise right up into my chest. Now feels really high in my ribs, really worrying ‘cause am due on Thursday (in three days). Has anyone had anything similar or have a clue what it is? B. (UK)


Answer: You really shoudn’t worry. If the baby was already engaged, the sensation you have just had will most likely be a change of fetal position only. The head (and I am assuming it is the head leading) will still be where it was before, despite how you feel. The only time where a ‘disengagement’ of the head could potentially happen at such a late stage of pregnancy is when you have an excessive amount of amniotic fluid which creates plenty of room for the baby to move about.

In any case, head engagement, contrary to popular belief, has no influence at all on the timing of onset of labour. Labour will happen when it is due to happen. If you are unsure whether the head is the leading part, you need to see your midwife. In any case, I would think you have a routine review appointment at or around your due date. There is no reason to worry. Best wishes.




Pain and numbness in the leg in early pregnancy

Question:  Hi, i just found out that i am 5 weeks pregnant but i have pain down one leg from the hip down words it feels like its gone to sleep and wants to catch it up is this normal E.H. (UK)


Answer: Congratulations and; no, the pain you describe is not normal. It sounds very much like a sciatica type pain. This can occur for the first time in pregnancy even though it is fairly unusual to start so early. If there is any tenderness and/or swelling, you should get this examined by a doctor promptly. On the other hand, it may be a simple muscle strain which should ease and resolve completely within a few days. Best wishes in your pregnancy