Category Archives: My well-being

Necessary prenatal tests

Your doctor will ask for a series of tests during your pregnancy to make sure everything’s running smoothly. These tests will depend on the trimester you are in. Aside from these tests, your doctor will check your blood pressure, abdominal growth, and your baby’s heartbeat, every time you have an appointment.

Here’s a list of the tests you’ll have to get each trimester:

First trimester:
•  Ultrasound: it’s done at the beginning of pregnancy. These will be done at least two other times during your pregnancy
• Medical history: done in order to know the parent’s health, check for previous pregnancies, and rule out any illness or allergy
• Pap smear and colposcopy: to check for vaginal infections, cervical cancer, or human papillomavirus
• Urine test: it can detect urinary infections as well as your kidney’s functionality. Urine tests can be done every month
• Blood test: it can detect your blood type, hemoglobin levels, infections like syphilis or toxoplasmosis amongst other things

Second trimester:
• Fetal ultrasound: to check for the baby’s growth as well as {his/her} organs
• Diabetes test: it’s done to rule out or diagnose gestational diabetes

Third trimester:
• Fetal ultrasound: done to check your baby’s growth, amongst other things
• Streptococcus bacteria: a test is done to check for this bacteria through rectal and vaginal fluids
• Fetal monitoring: done to check the baby’s heart rate

Further testing can be suggested by your doctor depending on your age or medical background to rule out any abnormalities or pathologies, such as Down’s syndrome.

First doctor’s appointment

Once you suspect you are pregnant, you should attend to your gynecologist between weeks 6 and 9 for your first pregnancy control. An ultrasound will be done to confirm pregnancy, and you will get an approximate due date. You will also be asked about your clinical history to rule out any diseases and allergies, and so your doctor can gain all the necessary background information.

In this first prenatal visit you’ll get your arterial pressure checked, as well as your weight, and maybe get a blood and urine test. This test will inform your doctor your blood type, blood hemoglobin level, urinary tract health, amongst other important factors.

Even though your estimated delivery date can give you an idea of when will your baby be born, most babies are born before or after. This is why your date will only be approximate. It’s normal for babies to be born around week 38 to 42, or a few days around the estimated day.

Feeling a whole load of emotions and jitters is completely normal. Your first prenatal control visit is usually a big day; since it’s when you get assured that your baby is properly implanted in your uterus, and ready to grow and develop.

Self-care and vaginal infections

There’s a group of controlled microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the vagina to maintain an adequate pH level, and protect it from other germs. However, if there is an alteration in the vaginal flora that these bacteria to reproduce, or let other germs colonize and cause irritation or vaginal infection.

Some factors that could cause vaginitis:

•Vaginal douches with cleaning products that have scent, condoms, deodorants or private soaps
•Allergy to synthetic underwear
•Hormonal changes and low estrogen levels that could cause irritation or infection
•Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) like chlamydia or herpes
•Trichonomas infection, microorganisms that enter when you have sexual relations

How can I prevent vaginitis?

•When wiping with toilet paper, do it from the front to the back, to avoid contamination of the vulva
•Drink enough liquid to pee before and after having sex
•Use cotton underwear
•Don’t wear a damp swimsuit for a long period of time
•Avoid tight clothing, especially if its synthetic
•Use a condom to decrease the chances of getting an STD

Get in touch with your doctor if you feel any kind of pain, irritation, swollenness, or any changes in your vaginal discharge. Getting diagnosed crucial in order to get an accurate treatment. Self-diagnoses could result in a very negative consequence.

Circumcision: risks and benefts

Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the foreskin, the skin that protects the penis from dryness and irritation, is removed.  In some cultures, circumcision is a part of a tradition, and it’s sometimes performed in a ceremony or ritual. In other cultures, circumcision is just a medical procedure. For example, in the countries in which Judaism is the main religion, all of the male babies are circumcised. On the other hand, in some European countries, only about 12% of male babies are circumcised.

Nowadays, there’s a big difference of opinions on whether all baby boys should be circumcised or not. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, circumcision is not for every newborn, since it poses some risks, and its benefits are not relevant enough. However, the AAP states that it’s the baby’s parents who should choose with their baby’s best interest in mind.

Some possible benefits are:
• Less probability of urinary infection
• Less probability of getting a sexually transmitted disease
• Less probability of getting penis cancer

On the other hand, the risks of circumcision include bleeding and infection after the procedure. Though this isn’t as common.

During pregnancy, it’s important that you and your partner talk about this issue, and make a decision that you consider is best for your baby.

Birthing methods

There are different ways to give birth. Natural birth is the traditional way, in which the high levels of oxytocin provoke your baby’s birth. Natural birth happens without the need of medication. After the baby is born, your body naturally discharges the placenta.

Vaginal birth is when some medication or instruments are used to help your baby be born. Sometimes the mother isn’t able to produce enough oxytocin; therefore, it doesn’t induce any contractions on the uterus. The doctor should make it happen with artificial oxytocin, a medication that imitates the effects of this hormone.

Abdominal birth, also known as cesarean delivery, happens when there are some complications and the baby is born through surgery in the abdomen. Some oxytocin must be injected when the baby is delivered through cesarean delivery, so the placenta can be discharged and thus ending the procedure.

On the other hand, water delivery is another method in which the mother is submerged in a tub with 10 cm of water at the moment she starts feeling contractions. Studies show that this style helps decrease the pain that the mother normally feels, and lets the baby have a more fluid transition.

Each woman should check her situation with her doctor to choose the way she wants her baby to be born. However, some women don’t have many options due to pregnancy complications. If you have any doubts on your delivery, be sure to talk with your obstetrician. You can also discuss it with your partner, and hopefully, that will help you to make a decision and create a birthing plan.

Preclampsia: symptoms and risks

Preeclampsia can pose high complications during pregnancy as it is characterized by protein in urine and arterial hypertension. Approximately 5% of pregnant women have preeclampsia. This complication usually starts around week 37, even though it can also occur during or after giving birth. Preeclampsia can range from mild to severe, and even though symptoms are not always noticeable, it can be dangerous for you and your baby. The earlier you get preeclampsia in your pregnancy, the riskier it is for you and your baby. This is why it’s so important to have your doctor diagnose it promptly and give you the proper treatment and guidelines.Why is preeclampsia dangerous?

When you have preeclampsia, your blood vessels contract causing blood pressure to increase, and blood flow to other organs decrease. This is why organs like the brain and the liver could suffer severe damage. Decreased blood flow to the uterus could affect the baby. If you have severe preeclampsia, your baby could be born preterm, which could cause problems in some of your baby’s organs.

What are the symptoms?

Swelling during pregnancy is common. However, if you notice swelling with no apparent reason or too much swelling it could be a sign of preeclampsia. The most noticeable swelling can be seen around the eyes, face or feet. Swelling due to preeclampsia is usually accompanied by other symptoms like a headache, nausea, pain in the upper abdomen, and change in vision. However, not all women manifest these symptoms, or they could be confused with the usual pregnancy symptoms. This is why it’s so important that your doctor checks your status in each of your prenatal appointments.

What are some of the risk factors?

Preeclampsia is more common in women who are pregnant with their first child, women who have had chronic hypertension, women who have diabetes, obesity, lupus, kidney disease, women who are having twins, or who are younger than 20 years of age or older than 40. Remember to visit your doctor if you notice any symptom or signs of preeclampsia.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes developed during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Having gestational diabetes means that sugar is not properly metabolized by the body causing high blood sugar levels. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes has a prevalence of 9.2%. This could affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. There is no known cause for a woman to develop gestational diabetes, but it’s known that it’s related to insulin resistance, and it may have a genetic predisposition.

How can gestational diabetes affect your baby?

When you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas works harder than usual to produce insulin, but this won’t reduce the levels of sugar in your blood. The extra glucose in your bloodstream penetrates your placenta and causes your baby to produce more insulin. Then, the extra glucose in your baby’s blood turns into fat and could cause your baby to develop macrosomia, (larger than average birth weight). Macrosomia could lead to birth issues such as shoulder damage and trouble breathing.

If you’re pregnant and have gestational diabetes, be sure keep your sugar levels at bay as soon as possible. Be mindful of what you eat, exercise regularly, and follow your doctor’s instructions. Controlling your sugar levels could help prevent difficulties during pregnancy and keep your baby healthy. If you have gestational diabetes, your sugar levels will most likely go back to normal after giving birth. However, be sure to take care of your pregnancy symptoms early on to avoid preeclampsia, occurring in 10% to 30% of women with gestational diabetes. Don’t worry, though. What’s important is that you attend to all of your doctor’s appointments, control your diabetes, and follow every single one of the recommendations your doctor gives you in order to take care of your baby’s health.