Question: I have been having early pregnancy symptoms (cramping, headaches, lightheadedness,
etc) for the last 2 weeks--as I did with my 2 previous pregnancies. I took a home
pregnancy test the day my period was suppose to start and it was negative. However,
the cramping continued and so did the symptoms--about 4 days after my expected period
was to start, I have started to bleed (bright red) which my periods are not. I am
still having cramping with the bleeding. Could I still possibly be pregnant or is
this a miscarriage or something else? C.L (USA)
Answer: The first question I am called upon to answer is, were you indeed pregnant?
The honest answer to this is ‘I don’t know’. With a vaginal bleed appearing four
days later than expected, it is entirely possible that what you are witnessing is
simply a delayed period. A delayed period normally occurs if you have not ovulated
in the preceding cycle. With this, the character of the bleed can differ significantly
from your norm. This is because, without ovulation, the build-up of the lining of
the womb continues unchecked. The subsequent bleed can be heavier than usual.
It is of-course still possible that you were pregnant and the pregnancy test was
false-negative. In that case, what you have witnessed over the last few days is an
evolving early miscarriage. Sometimes it can be difficult to know for sure what has
taken place. All in all, with the limited information I have, I think it is safe
to say there is very unlikely to be an ongoing pregnancy. If you continue to have
significant symptoms over the next couple of days or so, contact your new GP to see
whether a hospital blood test to quantify the pregnancy hormone beta-hCG can be arranged.
I think it is unlikely you will need this.
Am I pregnant?
Question: I had a miscarriage on 4 months ago and started having unprotected sex
about a fortnight after that fairly frequently. Just before my last period on **/**/****
(12 days ago) that lasted 3-4 days(normal) I've experienced bloatedness & a little
nipple tenderness. Still having unprotected sex before & once during my last period.
It's almost 2 weeks since my last period & I'm experiencing all of the above, i.e.
dehydration (drinking a lot more) exhaustion (needing a lot more sleep than usual),
going to the toilet more frequent than normal & nipples feeling more sensitive &
I've taken a Pregnancy test today which states I'm negative?!?... Could it be I could
still be pregnant but the results will show up on my next period? K (UK)
Answer: I am not at all surprised that the pregnancy test is negative. You say your
last period was 12 days ago and that it was normal. I am guessing that your cycle
is the usual 28 days or there about. You are now approaching mid-cycle. The possibility
of pregnancy is remote to non-existent.
I agree the symptoms you are describing are similar to early pregnancy symptoms but
you will agree with me also that such non-specific symptoms cannot be used to conclude
one is pregnant. You get these with many other conditions. Yo are probably keen to
conceive again hence your heightened sense of anticipation. That’s completely understandable.
I hope it happens for you soon but this clearly is not it.
Size of the gestation sac or fetal pole?
Question: Hi, If pregnancy size defined as +0.66cm-*1.00cm how many weeks already
been? A (Singapore)
Answer: I am afraid it is not possible for me to answer your question specifically.
Is the size you are referring to (presumably from an ultrasound scan) that of the
gestation sac or the baby? If it is the baby, is this what is termed CRL (crown-rump
length) or ‘fetal pole’ where the length from the top of the head (crown) to the
bottom or breech (rump) is measured in early pregnancy? It is important to know exactly
what you mean otherwise my answer could be misleading. Just as a guide, a CRL measurement
of 66mm (0.66cm) will be seen in a fetus of about 12 -13 weeks gestation. A gestational
sac is not usually measured after 6 weeks and instead fetal measurements are used.
Alcohol after a miscarriage
Question: Is it OK to consume alcohol after a miscarriage? L (Australia)
Answer: The usual considerations apply when it comes to alcohol intake after a miscarriage.
Pregnancy is no longer in the equation so plays no role. You do as you would in a
Absent sensation after forceps delivery
Question: My daughter has just had her first baby with forceps used she said she
hasn’t had any pain what so ever during and after labour and now she has no feeling
at all. She doesn’t know when she needs to go the toilet the baby weight was 6lb
9oz and she is only 4 ft 11 inches. I would be grateful for any information you may
have. M.M (UK)
Answer: The absence of sensation bothers me. I am assuming your daughter had an epidural
for pain relief during labour. That would explain her being pain-free both during
and after. An epidural would of-course abolish the sensation which gives a person
the urge to pass water. That is why there is always a urinary catheter inserted in
such circumstances. Once delivery is completed, the effect of the epidural wears
off gradually and in a few hours, the person is supposed to have the sensations back.
When you say she has no feeling I take it to mean that she is numb.
With the limited information I have, I would guess that she is experiencing prolonged
effect of a very dense epidural. However, even the effects of such an epidural should
wear off and be completely gone twelve hours after. If the duration since the epidural
was finished is more than that, this needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.
If she did not have an epidural (or spinal), the advice is the same.
Slow fetal heart rate in early pregnancy
Question: I am currently in my eighth week and my vaginal scan indicates that the
foetus' heart rate is too slow (70 bpm). What is the likelihood of this being a viable
pregnancy? Other than rest, is there anything I can do? L.U (Hong Kong)
Answer: Such a slow fetal heart rate is a legitimate cause for concern. Studies show
that when this feature is found, approximately 60% of these babies are lost within
the first trimester. It is important therefore to ensure that a close eye is kept
on the baby by performing regular scans, at the very least, once a week. A substantial
proportion of these babies are found to have a normal heart rate on a subsequent
scan. However, even for those, miscarriage in the later phase of the first trimester
and early second trimester is still well above average.
There isn’t much that you can do to influence this. Even rest that you appear to
want to do is not known to have any effect on eventual outcome. In some cases, it
might be counter-productive as it can be associated with a state of perpetual anxiety.
I hope it all works out well for you.