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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

False-positive pregnancy test

Question: What are the causes of a test result to be positive,while later you do more test and they show that you are not pregnant. so the 1st one was wrong,what caused that? S. (South Africa)

Answer: yes, there is such a thing as a false positive pregnancy test. A test that shows a positive result when in fact you are not pregnant. This, however, is increasingly uncommon as the test kits are a lot more refined than even a few years ago. Causes could range from being on some types of medication to contamination of the urine sample from a vaginal discharge or blood. In rare cases, some types of cancer that lead to a production of hCG (the pregnancy hormone) will produce a positive pregnancy test. However, in this case, the test will persist in being strongly positive. Other cases of reported false positive tests are simply due to not observing instructions properly including waiting too long to read the results. A faintly  ‘positive’ result can then be seen. Yet another scenario is when you have actually been pregnant but the pregnancy fails quite early on, at around 5 weeks. A test done several days after this is likely to be negative.

Calculating timing of conception

Question:  Hi, I recently went for an early pregnancy scan and was given an estimated gestation age of 6 weeks 2 days. (This differs from my LMP date by over a week). Does this mean that conception occurred around 4 weeks ago? Thanks. L. (UK)

Answer: You are quite right. Since an ultrasound scan is quite accurate in calculating gestation at this early stage of the pregnancy, your conception would have taken place around about 4 weeks ago. You can narrow it down to around 3 or 4 days to the point 4 weeks and 2 days from the date of your scan.

Retroplacental bleed in early pregnancy

Question: I am 8 weeks pregnant an have a hemorrhage above and to the side of the fetus, what can cause the bleed and will i miscarry? N.Y. (New Zealand)

Answer: A bleed within the womb cavity in early pregnancy is not rare. Sometimes this is revealed and in some cases it is concealed. It is simply impossible to establish why this happens. When the bleeding is revealed it is simply managed as a case of threatened miscarriage. When it is incidental finding on a routine scan, it will be documented as a retroplacental haemorrhage but no attempt is made to explain why it happened because that cannot be answered. The majority of these cases resolve spontaneously and the pregnancy carries on as normal. Any case of threatened miscarriage in the first trimester has a roughly 1 in 10 chance of ending in a  pregnancy loss. That’s a 90% chance that it will be OK.

Needle-phobia in pregnancy

Question: I have a phobia of needles which has stopped me from having any blood test so far in this pregnancy (I’m 22 weeks) My midwife is not very understanding and although I have arranged some counselling that will start in my 24th week. I feel very pressured which appears to be making my anxiety worse. My midwife said I should take sedatives before seeing her, I have taken no other medication in this pregnancy and would like to know if she is saying this because she is impatient with me or if sedatives are the only option? Are they safe? Thank you. L.L. (UK)

Answer: Needle phobia is a difficult problem in pregnancy. It is a real conundrum. As the person affected, there is not much you can do about a condition you have no control over, the prospect of which leaves you terrified. The care-givers on the other hand want to be sure nothing significant is missed and, of-course, that is with regard to you and your baby’s well being. How does one square this circle?

Needle phobia is tackled in a variety of ways, none of which guarantees success. Counselling that you are due to receive is probably the most important component. Sedatives can be used and standard ones such as Diazepam are perfectly safe in pregnancy for one off uses. Will they work? Difficult to say. Alternatively you can use the option of applying a local anaesthetic cream (EMLA) or what is known as a eutectic mixture, isolate the limb behind a curtain, the person taking the blood ensures the area is completely numb before inserting the needle away from your field of vision and with only a touch sensation for you to feel. The anaesthetic cream needs to be applied at least an hour before the attempt to take blood.

This situation requires a lot of patience and understanding by all parties. It is important that a working solution is established before you get near term as requirements during labour cannot be predicted. Best wishes.

Missed period; negative pregnancy test

Question: I been expecting my period on time by the 2nd week of each month. but this last month of august i missed my period. I make a pregnancy test but it was showing negative and till now i haven't felt any unusual signs of pregnancy. When i was pregnant with my 1st child i was having this morning sickness and everything. But now no.. I’m 26 yrs old and i am scared maybe i had some problems in my uterus or reproductive system. At this age, am i Possible to have a myoma or ovarian cyst? What would be the reason for my missed period? its very hot in my place isn't this 1 of the factor affecting my missed period? when is the best time to have pregnancy test? i have my test early morning 2nd urination 2 days ago from this email..what are the signs of myoma or ovarian cyst?.. right now i am having lower back pain specially in pelvic area and right abdomen. Appreciate your response. Thanks a lot. S. (UAE)

Answer: When you are not used to missing periods, it can be a cause for worry but in the majority of cases, it is nothing really. Many women do miss an occasional period and it is mainly due to some changes in the hormone environment in the body. Others will miss a period or two as a result of a stressful situation, either physically or psychologically. Myomas (fibroids) do not cause missed periods but they can cause periods to be heavy. Ovarian cysts are almost always symptom-less. I do get a feeling that you are getting yourself worked up. I think the explanation for your missed period will most likely be a straight-forward one. Pregnancy too cannot be ruled out yet. At more than 3 weeks since your period was due, it may be time to  repeat the test. An early morning sample is best but modern kits are very sensitive and this does not matter much. If the test is still negative and you are  very concerned, a pelvic ultrasound scan is your only solution to get clarity.