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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Omeprazole in pregnancy

Question:  I have just found out Im pregnant. It is about 6 weeks. I take Losec for my stomach problems. Is it safe to continue taking this in pregnancy? Thanks. L.l. (UK)

Answer: Losec belongs to a group of medicines known as Proton Pump Inhibitors. Its generic name is Omeprazole. Proton pump inhibitors are used in the treatment of peptic ulcers and related conditions such as chronic heartburn (dyspepsia) and gastric acid reflux. The standard advice todate has been to observe caution as absence of adverse effects could not be guaranteed. However, a study published recently in the  Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal (June 2009) reported encouraging results showing that in fact Proton pump Inhibitors such as Losec are safe to use in pregnancy. You may still want to check with your doctor who might want to switch you to other medications whose safety in pregnancy is long established.

Pains and engagement of the head

Question: Recently, i've been having aches, pains and heaviness on my thighs and i am just 30 weeks pregnant. Could this be a sign of pelvic engagement? if it is, is it not too early? if not, what then may be the cause of these complaints? Exactly when should engagement occur in pregnancy? A.O.M. (Nigeria)

Answer: I cannot pretend to know what is causing your aches and pains but what I know is that, it is nothing to do with head engagement (if indeed, the head is the leading part).  For one thing, it is exceedingly unlikely that engagement will occur so far from Term; secondly, those are really not clinical features of head engagement.

It is not unusual in pregnancy to get non-specific aches and pains such as the ones you describe and which can be quite distressing. It does not always mean there is anything wrong. It may just be the way your body adjusts to the pregnancy state.

There is no specific point at which the head should engage. However, as a general guide, head engagement tends to occur (in the majority) after 37 weeks and for many, just before labour onset. It has also been noted that there are racial differences in this. Head engagement is discussed in a bit more detail here:

Is it a phantom pregnancy?

Question: I have been having pregnancy symptoms, feeling sick and eating more. I m now getting flutters in my belly. My pregnancy test last week was negative but do you think it could be wrong or is this a phantom pregnancy? J.P. (UK)

Answer: Have you missed a period? You have not said. I may be wrong but the vibes I get here is you are keen to conceive. If you have missed a period and you are getting new symptoms, it may be worthwhile repeating the test. If still negative and you are convinced that you might be, it may be time to see your GP for further tests. They will assess whether it is appropriate to arrange an ultrasound scan of the pelvis. That should remove any doubts one way or the other.

The flutters you mentioned are clearly not due to pregnancy. Fetal movements are not perceptible until around the half-way mark (20 weeks or thereabouts)

I could not say that your description fits in with a diagnosis of phantom pregnancy. You can review details of this condition by clicking here.

Iron deficiency and a feeling of fatigue

Question: Can having low iron in pregnancy make you feel more tired? K.B. (UK)

Answer: Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of feeling lethargic and lacking energy in pregnancy. Remember, iron is the main component of haemoglobin, the red blood pigment that carries oxygen. The lower your haemoglobin, the less your capacity to carry oxygen. When your heart and muscles fail to get sufficient oxygen, you feel lethargic, tire easily and may experience palpitations and shortness of breath on slight exertion.

Identifying the baby’s gender using ultrasound

Question: Can you find out the gender of the baby at a 20 wk pregnancy anatomy scan? S. (USA)

Answer: The simple answer is yes. At 20 weeks, identifying the gender of the fetus is a fairly straight-forward affair. That is, unless the baby stays in an unfavourable position to see the genitalia.

Chicken Pox in early pregnancy

Question: My wife is pregnant.She had chicken pox before 6 weeks(3-4)weeks. Take medicines for anti viral drugs and anti-allergy, and antibiotics also.That time she had fever more than 100 degrees. Kindly advice us that there is any problem in future and if there is any problem what is the treatment? C.E. (Qatar)

Answer: In 90% of cases of a mother getting chicken pox in the first trimester of pregnancy, the baby will not be affected in any way. For the remaining 10%, the effects to the baby can range from scar patches on the skin at birth to a variety of neurological deficits which may manifest in the form of convulsions. It is important to stress that, only a small minority of babies are affected and even for these, the effects are mostly minor. The use of antiviral medication and antibiotics at such an early stage of the pregnancy is probably the more questionable part of this story. Whilst some antibiotics are safe in pregnancy, others aren’t.

Anti-viral medications have little or no role to play in managing chicken pox at any time. This is a self limiting condition and antiviral medication will not really influence the speed of recovery. In very early pregnancy, these types of medication could potentially cause more harm than good. Hopefully the baby was not affected (the vast majority are not).  However, if affected, treatment depends on the type of presenting complications. These are detailed here:

Scarlet fever in pregnancy

Question: Im just recovering from scarlet fever and I have now found out that im pregnant! Should I be worried about the baby? I.A. (Belgium)

Answer: Not at all. Scarlet fever is also known as Streptococcal disease. It is caused by a bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A Streptococcus. It has no relationship to Group B  Streptoccus (GBS) which has a potential to cause serious illness if passed on to the baby during childbirth. You can indeed relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

More questions and answers on the next page