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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Overcoming vaginismus

Question: Sometimes penetration with a finger painful. Penetration with a penis impossible; vagina too tight. Would a vibrator help? J.M. (UK)

Answer: Even though the details in your question are quite brief, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that you are suffering from vaginismus. Will a vibrator help in this? Very unlikely. There are ways of overcoming painful intercourse caused by vaginismus. Using a vibrator (in isolation) isn’t one of them. Please go to the section on vaginismus which has full details about the nature of this condition and ways of overcoming it. Let me just mention that, for most women with this condition, professional help is necessary. Do make that appointment with your doctor. Help is available.

Safety of multiple caesarean sections

Question:  I’m 34 weeks and yesterday went to hospital for a date for my caesarean. The doctor want me to be sterilised but I don’t want this. I don’t want more children but I feel  I will lose something as a woman if im sterilised. This will be my fourth caesarean. What do you think? M.M. (UK)

Answer: What I think is not important; it is what you really want that counts. You need to be honest with yourself: Are you reluctant to have a sterilisation because of the perceived loss of womanhood or because, deep down, you really think you may want to have more children? Once you have confronted this fundamental question, making a decision on this will be easier for you. As an obstetrician, I would definitely be of the same view that putting yourself in a position where you may have another pregnancy after 4 caesarean section is probably a risk to your health. There is no set number of caesarean sections beyond which a woman should not go. However, it is simply logical that the more caesareans you have, the higher the risk of potential complications, some of which can be life-threatening. If you are absolutely certain you do not want any more children, then please don’t hide behind this hypothetical ‘loss of womanhood’ concept. You are as much of a woman after sterilisation as before. There is no fundamental difference between being on the pill and being sterilised. Both are methods of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, the difference is that one is a reversible method and the other is permanent. Do think carefully and don’t put your life in unnecessary jeopardy, something that will have a devastating knock-on effect on your precious little ones also.

Endometriosis and placental abruption

Question: Has endometriosis got any connection with  placental abruption? J.B. (UK)

Answer: No, there is no connection between the two conditions. The only relationship between pregnancy and endometriosis is that the latter tends to go into almost complete remission for the duration of pregnancy, something that lasts for months after the delivery, especially if the mother breast-feeds.

What is more, some studies have shown that, for some obscure reasons, women with endometriosis are at reduced risk of pre-eclampsia. You may be aware that pre-eclampsia is one of the leading risk factors for placental abruption.

Getting back into shape post-delivery

Question: How can a woman maintain her health especially her body shape after the delivery? V. (India)

Answer: Pregnancy is accompanied by weight gain which, in some cases, can be quite considerable. The abdominal muscles are also inevitably stretched. Regaining shape post-natally therefore involves losing the excess pregnancy weight and strengthening the abdominal muscles. This is, apart from trying to regain general fitness. This task varies enormously from person to person depending on life-style and how fit the woman kept herself during pregnancy (exercise in pregnancy is discussed in this section). Post-delivery, it is important that the woman observes her diet. There is an unfortunate myth in many cultures that a woman with a little baby needs to eat above average. This is incorrect and of-course does not help her fitness and general health. A mother, even one who is breast-feeding just needs to ensure she has a normal healthy diet not too rich in calories. The only advice that remains valid is that she has to ensure a good fluid intake for optimal milk production. A newly delivered mother also needs to ensure continued adequate physical activity. If facilities allow, exercise to regain abdominal muscle tone and strength can be undertaken. In all this, ensuring a healthy diet and not over-eating is pivotal.

Exposure to measles in pregnancy

Question: What is the effect on your pregnancy when there your child has measles? G. (Philippines)

Answer: Most adults will have had measles during childhood or would have been immunised. Either way, such a mother is immune to the disease. That means, even if she is exposed to measles during a pregnancy, both herself and the baby in the womb will not be affected.

In the unlikely event that the mother is not immune, the effect will depend on whether she catches the disease. If this were to happen, there is increased risk of miscarriage or preterm labour (depending on the stage of pregnancy).

More questions and answers on the next page

KT Coates: Pole dancing instructor KT Coates: Eight weeks after delivery

KT Coates, a pole-dancing instructor (heavily pregnant, far left) competed in a body building contest in July 2009, eight weeks after giving birth. You can see that she looks marvellous (left) and actually earned a place in the final to be held later in the year. She credited it all on regular exercising during her pregnancy