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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Safety of TENS machine in pregnancy

Question: Hello, I'm 16 weeks pregnant and have low back pain TENS machine in labourwhich my GP says is related to ligaments stretching.  My GP says that it's safe to use a TENS machine for pain relief when I need it, I saw a midwife who said that it can bring about premature labour and should not be used before 29 weeks.

Please can I have your opinion as I find TENS very helpful and I'm currently a bit scared to use it!  Thanks J :-) (UK)

Answer: TENS machine is perfectly safe to use in pregnancy at any stage. Any claim otherwise has no scientific basis.

This is possibly an ectopic pregnancy

Question:  My sister recently did a pregnancy test which said she was pregnant two weeks later she had some blood showing in toilet but no pain she went to hospital for scan and could not find a baby but done blood tests and they say she's still pregnant because her results have doubled. She's been told now she could be having an ectopic but she's stopped bleeding the day after and still no pain. S. (UK)

Answer: Doubling of levels of pregnancy hormone in the absence of an identifiable fetus in the womb on an ultrasound scan signifies one of two things:

If your sister's dates are not in doubt, the likelihood of this being an ectopic pregnancy is high and a close follow-up is strongly advised. This is even if she has no symptoms.

Low blood pressure in pregnancy

Question:  First of all thanks for giving me an answer. I would like to ask you another question. My blood pressure is some time very low, that i just can't move my self, feeling very down. What is the best thing to do and to eat? Thanks. S.S. (Ireland)

Answer: Low blood pressure can sometimes blight an otherwise uneventful pregnancy. Symptoms may include  dizziness, feeling faint and sometimes palpitations. It is really an exaggerated reaction to the hormone progesterone, the levels of which are quite high during pregnancy. It is not a disease as such but does carry a slight risk of injury to the mother as, in some cases, it can lead to black-outs.

Low blood pressure in pregnancy

There is no specific treatment for this and no treatment is actually required. To try to maintain a blood pressure to as near normal as possible, general common sense measures are sufficient. These include trying to be as physically active as possible, avoid very hot baths and drinks and, whenever possible, wear elasticated support stockings when upright to maintain good blood flow in the lower limbs. There are no special dietary measures required.

Previous caesarean section and pre-eclampsia

Question:  I would like to ask about my friend’s pregnancy. She is 30y old and she has 4 children and pregnant 22 weeks. Previously history of lscs (caesarean) in 1999 and PIH on 4th pregnancy. Now she is 82kg, my question is how to manage this case. H. (Malaysia)

Answer: There are two main issues here. Her previous history of caesarean section as well as the history of pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) or pre-eclampsia. There is roughly a 1 in 4 chance that pre-eclampsia could happen again in this pregnancy. There is nothing that can be done to influence that. If this is to happen, it will probably start manifesting itself in the third trimester and more likely after 32 weeks. Should that happen, it will dictate everything that happens after that, including the timing and mode of delivery.

If PIH does not recur, then management of the antenatal period will be normal with regular surveillance of the BP, baby’s growth and all the usual parameters of mother and baby’s well-being. If everything remains normal and baby is of average size, then the standard advice will be for her to try for a vaginal delivery. Spontaneous labour should be awaited. If this does not happen by 41 weeks then an assessment can be made to see if she is suitable for induction of labour or whether she should just have an elective caesarean section. That will also depend on her own wishes. Being a 5th pregnancy and with a previous caesarean section, if induction is to be considered, it should be carried out only if the cervix is favourable for breaking her waters. If cervix is not favourable, prostaglandins should not be used. Instead, a caesarean section should be performed.

This mother’s age and her weight are of little clinical significance.

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