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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Prolonged pregnancy

Question: Is it possible for pregnancy to be prolonged up to 48 weeks? F.G. (Nigeria)

Answer: No; that is not possible. If any woman believes that her pregnancy has been prolonged beyond 44 weeks, you can be sure that her dates are wrong. A human placenta cannot sustain a live fetus that long; plus, the normal triggers of labour would have long kicked in anyway.

Piles and mode of delivery

Question: Is caesarean delivery the best option for a pregnant woman with piles problem? B. (Zambia)

Answer: Piles or haemorrhoids are painful and can blight a pregnancy. However, vaginal delivery would not make them worse. They are not therefore an indication for a caesarean delivery.

Dealing with heroin withdrawal symptoms in pregnancy

Question: My cousin just found out that she is pregnant yesterday, the last time she used heroin was 2 days ago.  She says she is going to stop now, and I believe that she can, but she says she is having withdrawals and wants advice.  I know nothing about this drug.  What do I tell her? A.W. (USA)

Answer: Depending on how heavy a user the person is, withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe and impossible to cope with. If your cousin was only a light and occasional user and is therefore not addicted, she may find that it is not too difficult to stop altogether. However, if she is already dependent, she will need professional help to deal with this.

Most health care systems in the developed world have got in place well organised programs to help pregnant women addicted to drugs. For heroin users, this generally involves using a substitute that is similar but not as addictive. Methadone is the preferred substance in pregnancy. The dose used is carefully calibrated to suit the individual. If the expert seeing the patient feels that it is feasible and ideal and if the woman herself so wishes, an attempt could be made to gradually wean her off the substitute drug and sometimes come off altogether. I do hope that your cousin has access to such a program if she is already dependent on heroin.

Silverfish infestation and pregnancy

Question:  I have recently moved into a new flat which has a damp problem and this morning we found silverfish in our bathroom.  Is this dangerous to me or my unborn baby please? C.B. (UK)

Answer: I take it from your question that you are pregnant. Congratulations! Silverfish are ghastly insects which love the damp but are surprisingly harmless. There is only a small risk of ressilverfish and pregnancypiratory problems if the infestation is very heavy which is rare. There is certainly no known problem as far as pregnancy is concerned.

Of-course the root problem (damp) is one you should strive to sort out as, I am sure you know, could affect your health in general.

Vaginal discharge: Could this be a sign of pregnancy?

Question: Hi, I have been married for last 2 years & I am trying to conceive. 40 days have gone after my previous period. I am getting white mucus discharge. Is this a symptom of pregnancy? Please let me know. P. (India)

Answer: A mucous discharge or a discharge of any kind for that matter is not a symptom of pregnancy. However, the fact that it is almost six weeks since you had your period may be significant. Of-course I do not know how regular your periods are normally. However, if they tend to be regular, with 4 week cycles, you may very well be pregnant.

If you have access to a pregnancy test, it may be worthwhile doing this now to establish what is going on. If the test is negative, you will need to see a doctor to establish why your periods are delayed and to check on the discharge. However, I need to stress on the fact that, from your description, the discharge sounds innocuous and not a cause for worry.

Fibroids and pregnancy

Question: 1. What's a cause of womb fibroid?  2. What's the effect for pregnancy women? K.A. (Malaysia)

Answer: Fibroids are benign growths which are extremely common. They are made up of fibrous and muscle tissue only. There is no actual cause but there are some associated factors such as obesity and childlessness. There is also a racial difference but they are seen in women from all over the world.

Regarding pregnancy, fibroids have very little significance. It is very unusual for fibroids to prevent a woman from conceiving. However, they can interfere with mode of delivery in some cases leading to a caesarean section. There is detailed information about fibroids and pregnancy here:

Calculating the gestational age

Question:  I had sexual intercourse in the last week of **/****. On the **/**/**** according to my scan it showed that i was 24 weeks pregnant. How is this possible? According to me is should have been about 21 weeks? M.E. (UK)

Answer: Actually there is no conflict between your dates and what the scan shows. Let me explain. Gestational age is conventionally calculated, not from the date when conception took place but from the date of the first day of your last period before you conceived. In effect, the calculated gestational age adds two weeks to the actual existence of the pregnancy. If, for instance, a woman has her period on the 1st of April and has sex on the 15th of April (and conceives), if she then has a scan on the 5th of May,  the gestational age will be 5 weeks (as from the date of her last period) even though she would have conceived only three weeks earlier.

The apparent three weeks discrepancy in your case is explained by that. Even though in theory you expect a two week discrepancy, rather than three,  having a scan so late in pregnancy does carry with it a margin of error of up to a week, sometimes more. That is the explanation. Neither your dates, nor the scan are therefore wrong. Good luck in your pregnancy.

More questions and answers on the next page

Silverfish: Ghastly but largely harmless even in pregnancy