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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Haemoglobin SC Disease

Question:  Is sickle cell type SC considered trait or sickle cell disorder? E.O. (Ghana)

Answer: I am sure you have read or was previously aware of how sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait comes about. If not, you can familiarise yourself with the subject in the section where it is covered. Coming back to your question, Haemoglobin SC Disease is a separate entity and cannot be described as either sickle cell disease or trait. People diagnosed with Haemoglobin SC Disease (Hb SC) have got two distinct abnormal haemoglobin components in their blood. One is Haemoglobin S and the other is Haemoglobin C.  Combination of these two produces the Haemoglobin SC Disease condition.

Clinically, Haemoglobin SC Disease differs from Sickle Cell Disease in that the former tends to be significantly milder than Sickle Cell Disease. Word of caution here: Some individuals with Haemoglobin SC Disease sometimes suffer as many complications as those with Sickle Cell Disease. Its presentation can therefore be quite variable. Just to recap so you are aware of the underlying differences:

IVF services on the NHS

Question:  My wife and I have just had ivf private and it did not work. A friend of the family  said the age is now up to 45 years old from Jan 2010 on the NHS.  Just wanted to know if this is true or not. M.B. (UK)                 

Answer: Unfortunately that is not true. There is no prescriptive nation-wide policy on the cut-off age for fertility treatment including IVF. Each Primary Care Trust (PCT) will have its own guidelines on issues to be considered for individual eligibility. The hospitals falling under the umbrella of that PCT are bound by those guidelines. PCTs formulate their guidelines on the basis of their local demographics. Personally, I cannot foresee a situation where a PCT will raise the upper age limit to 45. You will find most PCTs have stipulated 40 (at time of treatment) to be the age limit. Whilst waiting times for most forms of treatment has come down dramatically over the last decade, IVF is one form of treatment where there is still considerable waiting time. If the waiting time at the local hospital is 2 years, it means a woman of 39 cannot be accepted for the treatment as by the time her turn comes around she will be over the age limit. The best thing for you to do will be to check for this information at your local PCT’s website. The guidelines are usually freely available there. Alternatively, give them a call. My best wishes in your quest.

Child with hydrocephalus

Question:  Will a child born with hydrocephalous disorder have any problem in his/her growth? Does the child need any treatment? G.J. (India)

Answer: Degree of severity of hydrocephalus varies widely. In some cases, it is limited and in others it is progressive and without treatment, the child may not survive. Other children grow to have varying degrees of physical and mental handicap. In some cases (about 1 in 10), hydrocephalus is associated with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality.  

With progressive hydrocephalus a shunt to prevent the fluid from accumulating and compressing the brain is inserted.  This procedure, though not particularly complicated,  can only be carried out in specialist centres. The shunt redirects the fluid from around the brain usually to the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity where it is absorbed into the body. This is called a venticulo-peritoneal shunt. Where expertise is available, some children with hydrocephalus can be treated with an alternative surgical method called endoscopic third ventriculostomy.

Drugs for pain and heartburn in pregnancy

Question:  which is safest drugs in pregnancy for pain and heartburn ,why there is backache during pregnancy? V (India)

Answer: You are in luck! We have covered both these topics in some detail on this site. You can read all about it by clicking here:

Backache is indeed quite common during pregnancy. There is the change in posture that is inevitable during pregnancy as the abdomen grows, the enforced reduced physical activity and the loosening of all the joints in the body including the back. All these combine to bring this about.

Recognising very early miscarriage

Question:  Please can you tell me if it is possible to experience a miscarriage when you had not yet found out that you were pregnant? How would I know if I was miscarrying if I was only 2-3 weeks pregnant and had not yet used a pregnancy test? L. (UK)

Answer: There is no doubt that some early miscarriages pass unrecognised by the individuals affected. In some cases, it may just present as a heavier than normal period with nothing else of note. If you suspected that you might have conceived and then proceed to have a bleed, like a period (or heavier), the only way you can know for sure whether you were indeed pregnant, is to perform a pregnancy test within a day or so of starting to bleed.

With modern pregnancy test kits which are quite sensitive, the test does not revert to negative for a couple of days or so after an early miscarriage. If you do not do the test in that short window, there is really no way you can establish for sure whether you were pregnant or not.

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