Dr. Michael O'Connell O&G https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie Expert Pre and Post Natal Care Fri, 29 Sep 2017 23:55:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-Dr-OConnell-Logo_small-32x32.png Dr. Michael O'Connell O&G https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie 32 32 5th Blog: How do I know I’m pregnant? https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/5th-blog-how-do-i-know-im-pregnant/ Mon, 22 May 2017 11:14:09 +0000 http://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/?p=672 How do I know that I’m pregnant? Reproductive Cycle The reproductive period of a woman begins at menarche and ends at menopause, usually extending from 13-45 years on average, with pregnancy rare to occur under the age of 12 years and after the age of 50 years. However, there are exceptions! Calculating Pregnancy Pregnancy is […]

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How do I know that I’m pregnant?

Reproductive Cycle

The reproductive period of a woman begins at menarche and ends at menopause, usually extending from 13-45 years on average, with pregnancy rare to occur under the age of 12 years and after the age of 50 years. However, there are exceptions!

Calculating Pregnancy

Pregnancy is calculated from the first day of the last period and lasts 280 days (+/- 14 days). This assumes a 28-day regular menstrual cycle. If your cycle is irregular calculations can be made to allow for this giving you your expected date of delivery (EDD).

Early Signs of Pregnancy

The first indication of pregnancy is a missed period and a time of amenorrhoea (no periods) and the pregnancy is generally confirmed by one of the many available urinary pregnancy tests. These tests are readily available from pharmacies and even supermarkets. They are very sensitive tests generally measuring the pregnancy hormone βhCG usually at a value of 50mIU/ml.

Symptoms of pregnancy 

  1. Morning sickness which in itself is a misnomer as it can occur at any time during the day. This occurs in about 70% of pregnancies and typically lasts from 5-13 weeks. A good trick to help it is to eat and drink small amounts frequently
  2. Passing urine frequently usually is a  symptom from 8-12 weeks as the womb is enlarging within the pelvis and pushing on the bladder
  3. Breast discomfort usually occurs after 6 weeks and is felt as a full feeling more commonly is first pregnancies
  4. Tiredness is frequently encountered and should not be underestimated. Remember if this occurs to rest.

REMEMBER: YOU DON’T HAVE TO EXPERIENCE ANY OF THESE  SYMPTOMS TO HAVE A HEALTHY PREGNANCY

Ultrasound Scans

Ultrasound is the gold standard for diagnosing pregnancy and it’s viability. A gestational sac where the baby develops can be seen on transvaginal ultrasound from 29 – 35 days post missed period, the fetal pole and fetal heart can be seen from 6 weeks post a missed period and the fetal age (gestational age) can be assessed  by measuring a Crown rump length (Baby from head to bottom) between 7-12 weeks (with a +/- 5 days). You can often see the baby moving on the scan from about 7 weeks.

There is no evidence to suggest having a scan in early pregnancy causes any issue for your baby even if the scan is transvaginal (Internal).

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4th Blog: Difficulty Getting Pregnant https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/4th-blog-difficulty-getting-pregnant/ Sat, 08 Apr 2017 15:09:19 +0000 http://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/?p=667 I’m having difficulty getting pregnant – what do I do? First, don’t panic and don’t lose hope. 80% of couples will get pregnant within one year of having regular intercourse, with another 10% achieving pregnancy within two years. Generally, if you have not got pregnant after a year of trying then it’s advisable to seek […]

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I’m having difficulty getting pregnant – what do I do?

First, don’t panic and don’t lose hope.

80% of couples will get pregnant within one year of having regular intercourse, with another 10% achieving pregnancy within two years.

Generally, if you have not got pregnant after a year of trying then it’s advisable to seek help.

There are 3 main reasons why you are having difficulty getting pregnant.

1.You are not ovulating (producing and releasing an egg)

This can be determined by simple blood tests in the first instance, by checking Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) in the first 7 days after the period starts and a Progesterone hormone level one week before your periods is due.

2.You have a problem with your fallopian tubes.

This can be determined by either an ultrasound or x-ray test which involves injecting a saline solution or dye into the cervix and watching it pass through the tubes with either an ultrasound scan or x-ray. This is performed when you are awake but gives limited information concerning the internal organs.

The alternative is to perform a laparoscopy and dye test. This is done as a day case and involves a general anaesthetic. You will, therefore, be asleep for this procedure and in addition to getting information about the tubes additional information regarding the pelvis like endometriosis, adhesions, evidence of old infections or polycystic ovaries and their treatment can be found.

3.You have an issue with the sperm

This is determined by a semen analysis which looks at the volume, number, shape and motility of the sperm.

 

In general, following theses test we diagnose subfertility and would generally consider a tablet called Clomid to ensure ovulation and so help with getting pregnant.

 

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3rd Blog: Preparing for Pregnancy https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/3rd-blog-preparing-pregnancy/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:33:07 +0000 http://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/?p=652 How can I prepare for pregnancy? A planned pregnancy is always advisable. This enables you to be as fit as possible and as healthy as possible embarking on your pregnancy. Ideally you should take folic acid 400mcg per day for 12 weeks before and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. You should ensure that […]

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How can I prepare for pregnancy?

A planned pregnancy is always advisable. This enables you to be as fit as possible and as healthy as possible embarking on your pregnancy. Ideally you should take folic acid 400mcg per day for 12 weeks before and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

You should ensure that you are immune to rubella (German measles) and that you are up to date with your cervical smears if you are over 25 years.

Ideally your weight should be in the normal range for you, as measured by BMI (Weight in KG/Heights in metres x2). A normal BMI is between 19-25. You can use the calculator here to calculate your BMI. https://www.safefood.eu/Healthy-Eating/Weight-Loss/BMI-calculator.aspx

Keep a menstrual calendar so you know the date of your last period and how regular your three previous cycles were. This helps in determining your expected date of delivery.

Maintain a healthy diet, avoiding shell fish and unpasteurised cheese in particular.

Once you begin trying to become pregnant it’s best to avoid alcohol, although an occasional glass of wine won’t cause any problems.

If you have any underlying medical conditions, seek medical advice before embarking on pregnancy. In cases of underlying medical conditions, it’s best that they are as stable as possible prior to pregnancy.

Generally, most achieve pregnancy within a few months of actively trying to get pregnant. If you have not achieved pregnancy after 12 months trying then its best to seek medical advice, as it may be worth doing some investigations to identify any reasons for the delay.

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2nd Blog: Weight Gain in Pregnancy https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/2nd-blog-weight-gain-pregnancy/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:28:12 +0000 http://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/?p=650 What happens to my weight during pregnancy? Weight gain in pregnancy is variable, but in general there is an increase in weight of approximately 12 kg. As many women experience nausea and/or vomiting in early pregnancy (generally from 5-13 weeks of pregnancy), it is not uncommon to lose weight at this stage of pregnancy. Generally, […]

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What happens to my weight during pregnancy?

Weight gain in pregnancy is variable, but in general there is an increase in weight of approximately 12 kg. As many women experience nausea and/or vomiting in early pregnancy (generally from 5-13 weeks of pregnancy), it is not uncommon to lose weight at this stage of pregnancy. Generally, after this stage of pregnancy weight gain is progressive up to the last 2 weeks when it becomes static.

The weight gained is made up of the following;

  1. The baby – on average 3.5 kg
  2. The placenta (after birth) – 0.5kg approx.
  3. The liquor (fluid around the baby) – 1kg approx.
  4. The uterus (womb) – 1kg approx.
  5. The enlargement of the breasts – 0.4 kg approx.
  6. Accumulation of fat (mainly) and protein – 3.5 kg approx.
  7. Increase in blood volume – 1 kg approx.
  8. Increase in body fluid (up to 80% of women have oedema in pregnancy) – 1kg approx.

Previously all women were weighed at each antenatal visit, however this in practice only happens for women who have diabetes in pregnancy. The reason that we don’t now weigh women at every visit is because the average birth weight seen in times of want over times of plenty (e.g. in Holland during the second world war) was only 300g less approximately. This means that the baby takes what he or she needs to develop during the pregnancy regardless of the mother to be. We can now gain much more direct information using ultrasound examinations in pregnancy rather than using weight as a surrogate marker for pregnancy problems.

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1st Blog: Normal skin changes in pregnancy https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/what-happens-to-my-skin-in-pregnancy/ https://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/what-happens-to-my-skin-in-pregnancy/#respond Sat, 15 Oct 2016 16:41:58 +0000 http://drmichaelpoconnell.ie/?p=636 What happens to my skin in pregnancy? Skin changes are due to a number of hormones secreted in pregnancy. On the abdomen (tummy) you can develop a brownish pigmented line (Linea Nigra) in the middle of the tummy stretching from the belly button to the pubic bone. This can sometimes occur in women who take […]

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What happens to my skin in pregnancy?

Skin changes are due to a number of hormones secreted in pregnancy. On the abdomen (tummy) you can develop a brownish pigmented line (Linea Nigra) in the middle of the tummy stretching from the belly button to the pubic bone. This can sometimes occur in women who take the combined oral contraceptive pill. This pigmented line generally disappears after the pregnancy.

Stretch Marks (Striae gravidarum) are slightly depressed linear marks which are found in the tummy wall and sometimes over the thighs and breasts. During pregnancy they are usually pink and often become silver (Striae albicans) after pregnancy. They are due to one of the pregnancy hormones and the stretching of the skin in pregnancy.

Vascular changes during pregnancy can cause veins beneath the skin to become more prominent. A reddening of the skin on the palms of the hands (palmar erythema) is also common.

An extreme but uncommon form of pigmentation is called the pregnancy mask (chloasma gravidarum), where increased pigmentation is seen around the forehead ,eyes and cheeks. This generally disappears after pregnancy.

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