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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Inadequate breast milk production

Question:  What are the causes for not producing Breast milk after given birth to babies in some women? Why do some men have increase desire for sex? J.S.M. (Kenya)

Answer: The two most important things for a newly delivered woman to do in ensuring adequate milk production is a good fluid intake and regular breast-feeding. The baby should ideally be put on the breast on demand rather than on schedule. It is also important to ensure the baby’s latch on the breast is correct. A poor latch can be disastrous for milk production. If a mother is observing these basic principles and the milk production is still inadequate, then there is very little she can do to improve matters. This occasionally happens but is very unusual. The reasons are not well understood.

Your second question is unclear. Did you mean to say some men have increased desire for sex when their partners are breast feeding? I am not sure this is true and if it is, the connection to breast feeding is tenuous at best.

Morning sickness bracelet

Question:  Is the bracelet advertised for treating morning sickness effective? Can it do any harm to the baby in the womb? I’m only 9 weeks. Thanks. S.J. (Ireland)

Answer: There is considerable evidence that, some women at least, find the morning sickness bracelet quite effective in overcoming this problem. It doesn’t work for everybody but if you can afford it, it is certainly worth a try. It works via the acupuncture principle and the bracelet is supposed to work on the P6 acupressure point  on the wrist. The same principle applies with the bracelet used to prevent motion sickness. The absence of any drugs mean there is no direct effect on the baby. It is therefore safe in this regard.

Accurate calculation of gestational age

Question:  My friend had her LMP on **/**/2009. She had a scan at 12 weeks 4 days by dates (ie **/**/2009). Will the scan be able to tell her the exact date of fertilisation and so a more accurate gestational age rather than gestational age just by LMP. She normally has a 28 day cycle, ie ovulation would have been around **/**/2009. The crown-rump length was measured 66mm. M (UK)

Answer: Let me start by correcting a misconception here: The gestational age calculated using a scan is completely independent of the dates of the last menstrual period. That date does not feature at all. That is why, sometimes, the expected date of delivery calculated from the last period does sometimes differ by several days, even weeks, from the one calculated from the ‘dating’ scan. As you correctly observed, the measurements of the size of the fetus, in this early trimester, the crown-rump length (CRL) is the only parameter used to calculate the gestational age and extrapolate from that the expected date of delivery. A crown rump length (CRL) of 66 mm does indeed reflect a gestational age of just under 13 weeks. If the individual concerned wanted to pinpoint the actual date of conception then she needs to take two weeks off the calculated gestation and count backwards. In this particular case, she will need to count 10 weeks and 4 days back to get that date. Word of caution: Even at this early stage, the scan has a margin of error of about 2 days (either way). This means for the date that she arrives at, conception could have taken place at any date within a five day spectrum. It is not neat but nature rarely is.

Ecstasy use in early pregnancy

Question:  A friend of mine took two ecstasy tablets and smoked some cannabis  a couple days ago, she has since found out that she is 6-7 weeks pregnant, she is very worried and is considering a termination as she is sure she has damaged the fetus. She never takes illegal drugs and only took them this time as she was at her hen party. What damage has she done to the baby, is there any chance the baby will be ok as she really does not want a termination. P (UK)

Answer: This may be a less than satisfactory answer but the fact is that not much is known about the effects of ecstasy use in pregnancy. There has been very few studies of good enough quality to give evidence-based advice on this subject. Even these small studies have had conflicting results with some showing no increased risk and another study showing results which suggested there may be an increased risk of congenital heart defects and club foot. Having said all that, it is reasonable to assume that if this was indeed a one-off use of these two substances, the likelihood of having caused harm to the fetus is very small indeed.

The general rule of these types of illicit drugs and their effects on pregnancy is that risk is significant when they are used repeatedly especially in early pregnancy.

Ecstasy is of-course a type of amphetamine. Its proper scientific name is methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine or MDMA. Studies done in the past about amphetamine use in pregnancy  did not show increased risk of birth defects. Issues regarding cannabis use in pregnancy are discussed here. The important thing for this mother would really be to stay away from these substances now that she knows she is pregnant. I do not see the story as presented here to be a reason to consider termination of pregnancy.

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