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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Suspected Edward’s syndrome

Question: I had a scan and my doctor says my baby may have edward syndrome. What does that mean and what will they do? K.H. (UK)

Answer: I take it from your question that following a detailed scan, your obstetrician has seen features suggesting your baby might have a chromosomal disorder and probably one called Edward’s syndrome. Now, it is important to stress again that an ultrasound diagnosis cannot make a definitive diagnosis of any chromosomal disorder. It can only be suggestive. What is Edward’s syndrome? Well, this is a much rarer condition when compared to Down’s syndrome for one. It is also much more serious as these babies do very poorly and survival for most is just a number of days or weeks.  In Edward’s syndrome, the underlying abnormality is an extra chromosome on set number 18. You may be aware that each individual has 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. In Down’s syndrome, there is an extra chromosome on Pair Number 21. That’s why that condition is also called Trisomy 21. In this condition (Edward’s syndrome), the extra chromosome is on Pair Number 18 and as you might have guessed, it is also known as Trisomy 18. When a chromosomal analysis is made, the map of the chromosomes will look like this image below. You can see that there are three strands on number 18 (arrow).

As for what will be done, I am sure your doctor is going to arrange a meeting with you promptly to discuss the implications of the suspected diagnosis. You will then be offered definitive diagnostic tests, all of which are invasive and therefore have their own set of issues to consider. Should you decide to have one of the tests offered, what follows after that will depend on the diagnosis (it may turn out not to be Edward’s) and, of course, your own wishes.

Pregnant, breast-feeding and fasting

Question: I am feeding my 8 month old and about 2 months pregnant also fasting. I just started bleeding. Am i harming my unborn child? Y. (UK)

Answer: There are three distinct issues here:

There is no problem with breast feeding while pregnant. It does not cause harm to you or either of the babies. However, there is a change in the content of your milk and the quantity is significantly reduced as you reach around the half way mark of your pregnancy. The change in the content means the taste is also different and the baby may not be too keen. At eight months you will have obviously already introduced supplements and, in my view, everything considered, it may be time to consider weaning the baby off completely, which brings me to the second issue:

You are fasting and continue to breast feed while at the same time you are pregnant. I am not an expert in shari`ah but through my experience gained via meeting mothers in your situation I understand that a mother has a discretion and in fact a duty to make a judgement whether she is in a position to fast without harming her health and/or that of her child. If the judgement is that fasting may cause harm, then she should suspend the fast and just complete the missed days of fast in the future when the situation allows. My view is that the situation you find yourself in is not conducive to continuing with the fast and it may be better to defer this until later. You are, of-course, in the best position to make that judgement and I will leave that to you.

The issue of bleeding that you have mentioned is not connected to the breast feeding or the fast. It is impossible to say why you are bleeding and that has got to be treated as a case of threatened miscarriage. You do need to arrange a visit to your local hospital’s early pregnancy assessment unit promptly where, at the very least, a scan will be arranged.

Acai berry supplements and missed period

Question: I’m sexually active, have a regular menstrual cycle. This is my 1st time that i miss my period.. i think i am pregnant but i didn’t feel any unusual feeling or signs of pregnancy.But, i am taking some a dietary supplement (acai berry) 2 capsule per day at 1,200 mg each capsule. What do u think, am i pregnant or my missed period is due to the high dosage of medicine intake? Thank you. Appreciate. S. (United Arab Emirates)

Answer: If your cycles are normally regular and you are sexually active, the possibility that you are pregnant is high. You have not said by how much your period is overdue. However, if it is more than a week, the best thing is to do a pregnancy test. Remember, not every woman gets early pregnancy symptoms. You might be one of those who don’t. Regarding the possible effect of acai berry supplement on your periods, it is not possible to say. The effect of this nutritional supplement on the menstrual cycle is not known, nor is the issue of a safe dose. With this product being unregulated, the effect on various body systems may remain unknown for some time. What is already known is that acai berry has high anti-oxidant activity with all the attendant benefit of this especially on the cardiovascular system. However, its claimed benefit in weight loss remains unproven.

Edward's syndrome (trisomy 18)