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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Worry about a ‘big baby’

Question: I’m really worried about having a big baby, my midwife said that my bump is very big at 24 weeks. is there anything i can do to help prevent having a big baby?

Answer: I am not sure of what to make of the said comment by your midwife. Let me put it this way: It is not possible to forecast the eventual size of the baby at 24 weeks gestation. Babies do end up with different sizes at Term but this divergence in size and weight does not become apparent until around 26 weeks at the earliest. In fact, babies are roughly the same size in the first half and the first few weeks of the second half of pregnancy.

If the womb measures bigger than expected for a woman at your stage of pregnancy, there are two possible explanations: Wrong dates or increased amniotic fluid. I take it there is no doubt about your dates. That means, in your specific case, there are two possible explanations for that comment: Either the midwife's measurements are erroneous or you have increased amniotic fluid. Your midwife or doctor should be able to clarify the picture for you.

With regard to your last question; you should never take any steps to try to limit the size of the baby. You can only do harm. Just maintain a healthy diet. In any case, as explained above, this is quite likely a non-issue here.

Pregnancy after a measles infection

Question: After getting measles, if i want to conceive when is the right time (how many months gap should be there?) S. (India)

Answer: There is absolutely no need to have an enforced interval before trying for a baby after a measles episode. The viral infection clears completely from your system and you are left with protective antibodies that you will have for life. There is no risk to your baby however soon you conceive after a measles episode.

’Back to back’ baby and delivery issues

Question:  Is a back to back birth dangerous for mother or baby? D.M. (UK)

Answer: I am not entirely sure I understand your question. Do you mean a situation where the baby is lying with its back to the mother's back? If that is the question then the answer is no. This position is neither dangerous to the mother nor the baby. However, if the baby were not to rotate to a more favourable position during labour then there a few issues that the mother ought to know.

Head not engaged

Question:  At my last scan my  midwife said my baby’s head was 4 fifths in the birth canal what does this mean? L.Q. (UK)

Answer: In examining a pregnant abdomen, one of the parameters looked for is the leading part of the baby. If this is the head, as appears to be the case with you, a midwife or doctor needs to assess whether it is descending into the pelvis. To achieve this, the head is mentally divided into 5 parts. In summary, if most of the head is inside the pelvis, it will be said to be engaged.

If your midwife said the head was 4/5th in the birth canal (pelvic cavity), it simply means only one fifth can be felt abdominally. In other words, it is engaged.

Causes of anencephaly

Question:  What causes anencephaly? I had a child with anencephaly 28 years ago and I was diagnosed at 32 weeks, this was very traumatic for me. I wondered if there was anything that I could have done, or, not done to prevent this. J.M. (UK)

Answer: I'm sorry to hear of your quite traumatic experience all those years ago. You may know that anencephaly is not as uncommon as one might be tempted to think. The lack of knowledge about the condition in the general public is mainly due to the fact that the diagnosis is, nowadays, made quite early in pregnancy and most mothers opt for termination of pregnancy. It is no consolation but clearly a lot less traumatic compared to a case like yours where the diagnosis was made so late.

You will also be aware that anencephaly is just one form of the neural tube defect (NTD) spectrum, albeit the most severe one and invariably lethal. In the vast majority of cases, there is no obvious underlying cause. In some cases, there is an underlying chromosomal disorder. In summary, there is really no question of you having done or failed to do anything. Anencephaly is already established at 6 weeks of gestation. You could not have influenced anything at all, one way or another.

Clearly the pain never goes away. However, I hope you can allow yourself to achieve peace on this matter. In short; it was never your fault (or anybody else's).

Threatened miscarriage

Question: I am 8 weeks pregnant and I have had brown bleeding for the past 3 weeks, I had a scan and was told everything was fine, I am now experiencing bright red bleeding with little clots which is like a period, what should i do? M.C. (Ireland)

Answer: The progression of the vaginal loss to what sounds like fresh blood is rather worrying. Of-course you have been going through a threatened miscarriage. This new situation does not change the diagnosis but is certainly not a reassuring development.

Since the clinical picture has changed, it is important that you have a repeat scan to check the current status. there is really nothing you or your doctors can do to influence the situation but I think you will agree with me that it is always best to know where you are. You may also want to know that roughly 9 out of 10 threatened miscarriage cases resolve successfully  and carry on.

More questions and answers on the next page

Occipito-lateral position

In most pregnancies, the baby’s back tends to be on the side or to the front. If the baby’s back lies towards the mother’s back, it could mean a prolonged, more painful labour sometimes requiring assistance at delivery.