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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Pregnancy test and phantom pregnancy

Question:   If you take a clear blue test and it comes out pregnant dose it mean it is a real pregnancy or a phantom pregnancy? B. (UK)

Answer: A phantom pregnancy never ever gives a positive pregnancy test. You can have a false positive pregnancy test, meaning you have a positive test when you are not pregnant. This is not the same as a phantom pregnancy. False positive pregnancy tests are getting increasingly rare with modern test kits so if you get a positive test, chances are, you ARE pregnant. Phantom pregnancy is discussed in more details here:


Impaired glucose tolerance in pregnancy

Question:  I am 24 weeks pregnant and i am diagnosed with impaired glucose (8.3) and at times i feel irregular heart beats as well. I learnt through web that there is a risk of cardiovascular diseases. I am scared. Pls let me know if 1)i need to get my heart checked  2) if walking helps  3)can i take metformin. T. (Bangladesh)  

Answer: I take it you have been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance during your pregnancy. Since this is relatively early in pregnancy, your immediate concern ought to be the monitoring of your blood sugar. It is entirely possible as the pregnancy advances, this could evolve into fully fledged gestational diabetes.  This will impact on the type of care you will require in pregnancy. Coming back to your questions: if you tend to have ‘irregular heart beats’ as you put it, you should have this checked but it is nothing to do with impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetes on the part of the mother can be associated with congenital cardiac anomalies on the part of her baby especially if poorly controlled at the time of conception. The two should not be confused.

You asked whether walking helps. Being physically active is always beneficial and walking would fall in this category. Metformin can be taken during pregnancy and it is safe. However, you should absolutely not try to take this on your own accord. Get proper advice from a specialist who will assess whether this is suitable for you and if so, at what dosage. I hope you will get the expert help that you obviously need.

Possible urinary tract infection in pregnancy

Question:  Hi, i have had 3 urine samples at the hospital, and they have all came back with moderate mixed growth in them, is this bad i also have a burning sensation on my left side and i keep getting out of breath im 32 weeks pregnant and baby also had a few problems. H. (UK)

Answer: Your doctors have been suspecting possible urinary tract infection (UTI), a relatively common problem in pregnancy, in view of your symptoms. Tests do not appear to support this. I am assuming when the tests have been done you have not been on antibiotics. These can mask an infection thereby thwarting efforts to confirm a diagnosis. In any case, most obstetrician will give a course of a broad-spectrum antibiotics when the suspicion of a UTI in pregnancy is very strong. This is even in the absence of confirmatory laboratory evidence. Your left sided pain is quite likely not of urinary tract origin and may just be musculo-skeletal, another common issue especially in late pregnancy. Your getting out of breath is almost certainly unrelated to all this and if significant, will need to be looked at by your doctor. I take it your blood count (Hb) has been checked recently and is normal.

Positive pregnancy test 2 months after a miscarriage

Question:  I was diagnosed in march as having a miscarriage since then i have had a period each month albeit very light but blood tests and urine tests all show positive is there any other explanation for this or am i definitely pregnant?  D.S. (UK)

Answer: It is over two months since your miscarriage. There should be no positive pregnancy test result from that pregnancy. Neither a urine nor a blood test. Your current positive tests indicate one of two things: Either you have conceived again since that miscarriage or your miscarriage from two months ago was incomplete and possibly complicated by being a molar pregnancy. In the case of the latter, which is entirely possible, an undiagnosed molar pregnancy could spontaneously miscarry and then get complicated by what is known as a ‘persistent mole’. This subject is covered in more detail here: This situation needs to be clarified and seeing as you are having blood tests, this seems to be in hand.

Treating obstetric cholestasis

Question:  What treatment can I get for the severe itching I’m getting. I’m 31 weeks now and I’ve been told I’ve cholestasis. The itching is so bad I don’t think I can last another 9 weeks. What do you suggest? J.L. (UK)

Answer: I have every sympathy with your plight much as I know this is not what you are asking for. The reason your doctors haven’t given you anything effective to relieve the itching is because there is really nothing out there. For obstetric cholestasis the armoury consists of an anti-histamine such as Piriton (chlorpheniramine) tablets, a lotion to soothe the skin and tablets called UDCA which  are supposed to mop up the accumulated bile acids in the blood. The reality is that, even when all these are used, the symptoms may not subside to any appreciable degree.

If it is any consolation, your doctor may decide to induce you around 38 weeks as is sometimes done in this condition.

Faint pregnancy test

Question:  I am 4 weeks and some days pregnant and the positive test line is a bit faint and also having pains in my left leg which lasts for hours and some abdominal pain left lower side. Could this be an ectopic pregnancy or a threatened miscarriage? I have a sub-serosal fibroid which is very little. Could this be the problem? G. (UK)

Answer: The picture is unclear. If you are certain about the dates, meaning you are less than a week since you missed your period; it is, by any measure, too early to get symptoms from an ectopic pregnancy. It is exceedingly unusual to get symptoms from an ectopic pregnancy at less than 5 weeks gestation. The ‘very small’ sub-serosal fibroid is also an unlikely cause of the pain. Fibroids can undergo degeneration in pregnancy which can be painful but this only affects fairly sizeable fibroids and, even with these, the complication tends to happen in fairly advanced pregnancy.

Of all the things you have mentioned, one feature that concerns me the most is the ‘faint’ positive test. This may have implications on the viability of the pregnancy. With the non-specific symptoms you have mentioned, it is arguably justifiable to bring this to the attention of your doctor and a blood test for levels of beta-hCG (the pregnancy hormone) may be in order.