Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

When a woman is diagnosed with a miscarriage, she usually has three options: a D & C, an inducing medication, or wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. However, after reading many personal stories at misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com it seems that the third way, the “wait and see” option may be the best one, offering real hope that your baby may be alive and well despite predictions to the contrary.

Here are a few reasons that you may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage, when there is actually a healthy, developing baby inside.

Misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum: Also known as “anembryonic pregnancy,” a blighted ovum happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself. A blighted ovum usually occurs within the first trimester and a woman’s body tends to miscarry naturally. (Read more here: American Pregnancy.org)

It is possible that what looks like a blighted ovum may in  fact contain a healthy fetus.  When a Blighted Ovum is Not a Blighted Ovum is the personal story of a woman who had an ultrasound at 51/2 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, and 8 weeks, was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, and whose doctor strongly recommended a D&C. However she held out, mainly out of fear of D&C complications, and at her 9 week ultrasound found a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat!

If you have been diagnosed with a blighted ovum but are not experiencing miscarriage symptoms, you can choose to wait it out. Women with similar experiences say that up until 10 weeks is still to early to confirm a blighted ovum.  Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com has many more personal stories.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome: First recognized in 1945, vanishing twin syndrome is when one of a set of twin/multiple fetuses disappears in the uterus during pregnancy.  The most common symptoms include bleeding, uterine cramps and pelvic pain, which are generally associated with miscarriage. However, in this case there is still one living baby in the uterus. No special medical care is necessary with an uncomplicated vanishing twin in the first trimester.  If the fetal death is in the second or third trimester, the pregnancy may be treated as high-risk.  (For more information click here: American Pregnancy.org)

Fetus without Heartbeat: Early on in a pregnancy, up to 10 weeks, it is possible that an ultrasound will reveal a fetus, but will not detect a heartbeat. Keep in mind that when a doctor or technician tells you how far along in pregnancy you are, this can also be miscalculated. At your next visit there may in fact be a heartbeat and a healthy fetus.

These are just a few situations of misdiagnosed miscarriages. There are many more to be found at Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com, including misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancies, misdiagnosis after light or heavy bleeding,  misdiagnosis after slow-rising or declining hCG levels, and more.

One of the site’s moderators has the following words of advice for anyone who may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage:

1. Many of the stories will overlap. Often times the women who have empty sacs with hCG levels over 10,000 will also be told the gestational sac is big enough that a baby should be seen. They will also find their babies between, on average, 8 to 10 weeks although, as you can see, a few are even further along.

2. Often women with a tilted uterus will fall into a number of these groups. They’ll have the higher hCGs that will not be doubling (really, despite what your doctor may say, they are NOT supposed to double in 48 hours at this time but instead 96 hours or even more). They will also almost always be told they are one to two weeks behind even when there is no possibility of conception to have taken place then. Don’t worry, in the second trimester when you have your abdominal ultrasound, dates will be more accurate.

3. For women who fall in the “No Heartbeat Seen” category during the first trimester, we have been told you should wait at least a week and have a follow-up ultrasound to verify. Unless you are showing signs of infection or something is seriously wrong, ask to wait that week. As you can see, those little heartbeats can on occasion show up.

4. Women who have ultrasounds done by doctors are also frequently misdiagnosed much too early. Women should always turn down ultrasounds done by their doctors and only have them done by fully-trained ultrasound technicians. Research is showing that ultrasounds may not be as safe for our babies as we’d like to believe and you really do want a technician who knows what they are doing.

5. If you finally believe there is no hope and schedule that D&C, please, ask for one final ultrasound right before the D&C. We’ve had too many babies turn up at that ultrasound now.

6. Keep in mind, a number of women who were given no hope found their babies at nine weeks or beyond. Unless you are showing signs of infection or have a serious condition, eight weeks may just be too soon to have a D&C for a blighted ovum.

I am still adding helpful stories to this post. We just have so many misdiagnosed women’s stories here now that this is quite an undertaking in itself. As I add more stories, I’ll add more helpful information to this post.

I hope women find this post helpful. I am also hoping that once we get these stories ‘categorized’, we’ll have an easier time figuring out how to get the ultrasound literature changed so it reflects more accurate information. Also, if we can get doctors to realize that they are misdiagnosing too many women, maybe they can examine how they might handle these pregnancies differently.

Belly Mapping: How YOU can determine your baby’s position

Belly mapping is a way that moms can tell what position their baby is in, during the last couple months of pregnancy.  This is helpful because it can alert  you to potential complications that may arise during childbirth, which could lead to a complicated labor or a C-section. Often it is impossible for your doctor to know what position the baby is in by doing an internal examination– an ultrasound would be required. However, belly mapping provides a way to figure it out on your own! Then, your doula can help you to change the baby’s position.

Click here to read the complete article by DONA International, via SpinningBabies.com.

Download the free Belly Mapping parent handout in English,

Vitamin D Levels for Pregnant Women: Experts Recommend 8 Times Higher than FNB Levels

Thousands of studies over the last 10 years have shown that high doses of vitamin D are crucial to maintaining health in many areas. The Vitamin D Council, a highly regarded non-profit organization states: “Higher doses of Vitamin D help in many areas of health, among them: heart health, brain health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health.” (emphasis added)

For this reason, the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has created a tumult for stating that the high levels of vitamin D currently being recommended by many health professionals are unnecessary and may even be toxic (November 2010). The FNB only slightly increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU. In contrast, Harvard newsletter (December 2010) recommends 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Vitamin D Council recommends up to 5,000 IU a day.

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image credit: Mother Earth News

The fact that there is no difference between the amounts of D a 15 pound baby and a 300 pound man should take is deemed “absurd” by experts. When it comes to pregnant women, the FNB also makes no differentiation.  But respected vitamin D experts recommend at least 4,000 IU a day, and 6,000 for nursing mothers.

In response to the conclusions of the FNB panel, the Vitamin D Council statement responds:

“Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health… and ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years… Tens of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease, rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low levels are so common…

“Pregnant women taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women. Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts — like 5000 IU/day — is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along with it.

“My advice, especially for pregnant women: continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your 25(OH)D is between 50–80 ng/mL (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all American laboratories).

“Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal pneumonia, a doubled risk for preeclampsia, a tripled risk for gestational diabetes, and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section.

“Today, the FNB has failed millions of pregnant women whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB will comply with the spirit of “transparency” by quickly responding to our Freedom of Information requests.”

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

There are 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D: (Vitamin D Council recommendations)

  • regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible for 20–30 minutes (being careful to never burn). (Those with dark skin will need longer exposure time — up to six times longer.)
  • regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
  • take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Pregnant Women Step up the Pace!

You may have heard the advice that “gentle” exercise is good for your pregnancy, but that strenuous sports and activities should be avoided. This may not actually be the case, as I recently read here.  In fact, vigorous exercise appears to be quite safe during pregnancy, and has additional benefits for your baby too!

Benefits of Vigorous Exercise

The book “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” by James F. Clapp M.D. cites over 20 years of research into the pregnancies of competitive athletes. Dr. Clapp found that exercising at a fairly high level throughout your pregnancy, including full weight bearing exercises, is safe and actually has many positive effects. Some of theses outcomes are obvious, such as reduced maternal weight gain and fat accumulation,  and improving your mood, energy levels, and muscle tone. But some are more surprising, including:

  • reduced pregnancy-related symptoms
  • Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
  • May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  • good placental growth
  • fewer big babies
  • increased chance of delivering close to due date
  • shorter and less complicated labors
  • more rapid recover after delivery.

Changes in Your Body

Your body is changing in many ways during pregnancy. You should be aware of these, as they will affect the way you move and exercise.

  • Joints: Pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments supporting your joints to relax. This puts them at increased risk of injury, so you should avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions.
  • Balance: The extra weight you’re carrying causes your center of gravity to shift. It also puts stress on your joints and muscles, specifically those in the pelvis and lower back. This puts you at risk of back pain, loss of balance, and falls.
  • Heart Rate:  Growing a baby is hard work, and your body is working extra hard to deal with the weight gain and other changes.  Exercise directs oxygen and blood flow to the muscles being worked, and thus away from other parts of your body. It’s important not to overdo it if you begin to feel short of breath, faint, or exhausted.

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What’s Safe and What to Avoid

This may come as news to your Grandma, who has probably told you to stop carrying the groceries into your house, and to lie down and put your feet up. But there are, of course limits to how much your pregnant body can handle.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobics.  Other activities, such as running, racket sports, and strength training are good if you’re body is already accustomed to these exercises.

Activites that should be avoided during pregnancy include:

  • Downhill snow skiing: Your changing center of gravity can throw off your balance and cause falls and sever injuries. High altitudes with less oxygen may not be the best idea, either.
  • Contact sports can result in injuries to you and your baby as well.
  • Scuba diving: The water pressure can put your baby at risk for decompression sickness.
  • Excessive weight lifting.
  • Yoga poses that have you lying on your back or hanging upside down.
  • Activities that increase your chance of falling and injuring yourself, such as horseback riding, water skiing, and gymnastics.
  • Standing still for long periods of time should be avoided.

If you haven’t been exercising much before you became pregnant, start slowly and carefully. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor about what types of exercise are best.  You should also expect that physical exertion will become more difficult during the last trimester, and respond accordingly. Always incorporate a warm-up and cool-down stage for 5-10 minutes each.

Things to Watch Out For

Women with the following conditions will be advised against exercising during pregnancy:

  • Risk factors for preterm labor
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Premature rupture of membranes

The ACOG recommends the following guidelines for a safe and healthy exercise program:

  • After the first trimester of pregnancy, avoid doing any exercises on your back.
  • Avoid brisk exercise in hot, humid weather or when you have a fever.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that will help you to remain cool.
  • Wear a bra that fits well and gives lots of support to help protect your breasts.
  • Drink plenty of water to help keep you from overheating and dehydrating.
  • Make sure you consume the daily extra calories you need during pregnancy.

Stop exercising and call your doctor if you get any of these symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Uterine contractions
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina

Bottom Line: It’s good news for pregnant sports lovers and exercise enthusiasts! Exercise during pregnancy can help prepare you for labor and childbirth, in addition to staying fit and feeling good. And exercising afterward can help you get back into shape.  So put on those running shoes, get out your tennis balls and rackets, or head to the gym or nearest hiking trail. If there’s something you loved doing before pregnancy, chances are you may be able to continue in almost the same way that you always have!

feature image from Hello Beautiful

Vitamin D is Vital During Pregnancy

You may think, as I did, that if you’re taking a prenatal vitamin, you are getting all the right amounts of vitamins and minerals that you and your growing baby needs. However, the 400 IU of Vitamin D that most prenatal vitamins contain is a far cry from the amounts that are actually necessary!

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is technically not a vitamin! It is a “steroid hormone precursor” that is NOT naturally present in food. Your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight (sans sunscreen). Its major role is to increase the flow of calcium into the bloodstream, and is also necessary for bone growth.

What do we need vitamin D for?

According to Medical News Today, there are many reasons your body  needs adequate levels of Vitamin D:

It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones.

It is an immune system regulator.

It may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, say scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.

It may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is much less common the nearer you get to the tropics, where there is much more sunlight, according to Dennis Bourdette, chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University, USA.

Vitamin D may have a key role in helping the brain to keep working well in later life, according to a study of 3000 European men between the ages of 40 and 79.

Vitamin D is probably linked to maintaining a healthy body weight, according to research carried out at the Medical College of Georgia, USA.

It can reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms, and also the likelihood of hospitalizations due to asthma, researchers from Harvard Medical School found after monitoring 616 children in Costa Rica.

It has been shown to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women.

A form of vitamin D could be one of our body’s main protections against damage from low levels of radiation, say radiological experts from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to people with lower levels. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, in a study carried out by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

The Vitamin D Council adds that current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has effects on both the mother and fetus. The Vitamin D Council implicates it in cases of c-section, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and bacterial vaginitis.

During pregnancy, the active form of vitamin D increases significantly, according to Mayo Clinic, particularly in the second and third trimesters. During this time, the baby’s bones are developing, as are the brain, the nervous system, and the other organs.Your levels of vitamin D also play a role in determining your baby’s health later in life. Vitamin D deficiency been linked with low birth weight. It also appears that sufficient vitamin D in early life may decrease the risk of serious health problems such as newborn lower respiratory tract infection, diabetes, asthma, weak bones, schizophrenia, autism, brain tumor, heart failure, and a host of other maladies. (Read more here.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently recommended that all pregnant women have a 25(OH)D blood test, because Vitamin D is vital  for normal fetal development .  If your obstetrician has not referred you for this test, you may want to consider asking that he/she does.

The Sun Exposure Quandary

For decades dermatologists have been warning about the hazards of sun exposure and skin cancers. We know that excessive sun exposure is dangerous, and have been cautioned to stay out of the sun,  wear sunscreen, and protective garments if we will be outdoors. At the same time, Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels in the US (80-90% according to one expert). Getting just enough daily sun exposure to produce necessary levels of Vitamin D may actually be important for your health.

Further studies are required to address this dilemma. However, some health authorities are starting to change their recommendations. Medical News Today quotes the Cancer Council, Australia (2009):
“Sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanomas in Australia. However, exposure to small amounts of sunlight is also essential to good health. A balance is required between avoiding an increase in the risk of skin cancer by excessive sun exposure and achieving enough exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.”

Getting Enough Vitamin D

The current U.S recommended daily allowance is 200 international units of vitamin D, however the current “tolerable upper limit” is 2000 IU. The Canadian Pediatric Society and other Vitamin D advocates suggests that this level may be appropriate for winter pregnancies. (Mayo Clinic) Some experts suggest that pregnant women need even higher levels than this, up to 5000 IU.  Speak to your doctor, as too much Vitamin D can be toxic.

The Vitamin D Council recommends 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D:

  • Regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible (being careful to never burn).
  • Regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months. (For more info on this topic: Are Tanning Beds Safe?)
  • Take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Syphilis, Pregnancy, and False Positive Labs

Syphilis is a venereal disease which is fairly easy to cure, but if left untreated can cause serious health problems for both you and your child. For this reason, screening for Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes syphilis, is routine during pregnancy. It is recommended to do this at the first prenatal visit, because if treated early (before 4 months) it is curable and will usually not have infected the fetus yet.

Syphilis develops in three stages. The first state, primary syphilis, is characterized by an open sore called a chancre, which usually appears on the genitals, either internally or externally. If untreated, the disease can progress to secondary syphilis and tertiary syphilis. Other symptoms include fever, sore throat, a rash, hair loss and swollen glands. In its final stage, syphilis can cause dementia, blindness and damage to the nervous system.

How Would I Catch Syphilis?

The bacterium that causes syphilis can be acquired through sexual intercourse (the most common method), kissing, passage from mother to fetus through the placenta, blood transfusion or accidental contact with an infected lesion. (Your Total Health)

Syphilis During Pregnancy

Syphilis is extremely dangerous for a fetus, who can contract the disease through the placenta that nourishes it. It can cause miscarriage and result in a stillborn birth. It can be also transmitted to your baby through vaginal birth and possibly through a cesarean section.  Congenital syphilis can have some very severe symptoms, although they may not appear right away.

False Positive Lab Tests

If you do test positive for syphilis, don’t panic! NO TEST IS 100 PERCENT ACCURATE. According to Lab Tests Online, screening tests for syphilis are not highly specific, and a false positive result is quite common. The VDRL has a high sensitivity but low specificity, and is used as a screening test. Today, treponemal FTA-ABS or MHA-TP tests,with high specificity and sensitivity, are used to confirm the results.

How is Syphilis Treated?

Syphilis is treated with penicillin (PenVK), which is considered safe in pregnancy. t is not common for a fetus to be infected before the fourth month, so testing and treatment should be done as soon as possible. If you have a history of penicillin allergy, you should undergo skin testing. If skin tests are positive, you will be ” desensitized” and then treated with penicillin.

A baby that is born with syphilis will also be given penicillin injections to fight the bacteria.

If your tests keep coming up positive, even without any physical signs of syphilis, your doctor may recommend treating you with penicillin, just to be on the safe side.

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Pregnant? Think Twice about H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine

U.S. health authorities have made pregnant women one of the highest priority groups for getting the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, but is it actually safe for pregnant women and their babies? This is the question asked by Organic Health Adviser, and the answer may shock you. Miscarriage reports from pregnant women who have taken the H1N1 swine flu vaccine are starting to pour in from all over the nation.  Although many doctors, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, are urging their pregnant patients to be vaccinated, the package insert for the swine flu vaccines actually says that the safety of these vaccines for pregnant women has not been established.

If you want to read the stories of real women who got the H1N1 swine flu vaccine and then miscarried shortly afterward, click on this Baby Center June 2010 birth club message board. You can also read the article on the About.com Miscarriage/Pregnancy Loss blog, “Some Pregnant Women Fearful of H1N1 Vaccine.” See the comments that follow. Also, see the article and comments in the Organic Health Adviser.

Vaccines have been linked to other disorders and diseases, such as autism, multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders, although the research is often inconclusive. So the big question is, is there really a link between the vaccine and miscarriage, or are these stories mere coincidences? I am not able to pass judgement, but the fact that the vaccine is closely followed by miscarriage time after time makes the situation very frightening. Dr. Mercola agrees: “Perhaps some of the 20 women on one of the blogs would have miscarried anyway, but when a number of women have healthy, uneventful pregnancies up until they’re injected with a vaccine, and then suddenly miscarry, it most certainly warrants investigation!”

On the flip side, the Star Tribune points out that scientists have noticed a pattern: A disproportionate number of expectant mothers have been hospitalized with the flu. So far, pregnant women, who make up 1 percent of the population, have accounted for 6 percent of H1N1 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  According to doctors, pregnant women have weaker immune systems and the flu not only endangers their lives, but increases the risks of miscarriage and birth defects as well.  A counter-argument is examined at Swine Flu Alert — Shocking Vaccine Miscarriage Horror Stories, from Mercola.com.

For those who choose not to be vaccinated, there are ways of building your immune system naturally, to ward off the possibility of catching the swine flu (or any other type of flu).  This includes getting adequate levels of Vitamin D (whether through sunlight or supplements), exercise regularly, get enough sleep, address emotional stress, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your mouth and nose with unclean hands.

Whether or not to be vaccinated is a decision that no one can or should make for you.  However, we hope that you will make an educated decision on this topic, for yourself and your family, after weighing all the risks and benefits. Whatever your decision, the public should be aware that any time you take a pharmaceutical drug or vaccine of any kind, you need to report any and all side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). You can do this through your doctor– you should ask to get a copy of the report to make sure it was done– or you can report it yourself via the VAERS web site.

12 Benefits of Ultrasound

The first ultrasound is exciting, and each one, where the baby is a little more identifiably human, is anticipated more and more with each visit. By eight weeks the image resembles a lima bean with a pulse; by fifteen weeks the ultrasound image can show baby’s major organs; by the 20th week, the ultrasound pictures can often confirm the sex of your baby.

Twenty-year follow-up studies of thousands of mothers and babies who received diagnostic ultrasound have shown no apparent harmful effects. It is certainly safer than x-rays. There is a theoretical concern about whether the sound waves striking growing fetal tissues can cause any damage the cell. The National Institutes of Health Task Force on Diagnostic Ultrasound concludes: “We could find no evidence to justify the recommendation that every pregnancy be screened by ultrasound. In the face of even theoretical risks, where there is no benefit, then the theoretical risks cannot be justified.”

This means that, as fun as it is to see your growing baby on screen, the use of ultrasounds is really to check the baby’s progress and make sure he is developing properly. Dr. Sears lists 12 benefits of ultrasound:

1. Verify whether or not the mother is pregnant, when pregnancy tests and the usual signs of pregnancy are unclear.

2. Detect a possible ectopic pregnancy .

3. Obtain a more precise determination of baby’s gestational age when there is a discrepancy between uterine size and estimated due date. In the first half of pregnancy ultrasound can accurately date baby’s gestation within 7 to 10 days. In later months it is not as accurate and is useless for dating the pregnancy.

4. Evaluate baby’s growth if other signs, such as uterine size, suggest a problem.

5. Determine the cause of unexplained bleeding.

6. Confirm how baby lies in the uterus (breech, transverse, vertex) if the clinical signs are unclear late in pregnancy.

7. Detect suspected multiple pregnancies if mother’s uterus is growing faster than expected.

8. Detect problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa (the placenta being positioned too low or over the cervix) and abruptio placentae (the placenta is separating prematurely, causing bleeding).

9. Measure the amount of amniotic fluid if mother is losing amniotic fluid or not replenishing it at a normal rate.

10. Detect abnormalities of the uterus, especially in women with a history of previous miscarriages or problem pregnancies.

11. Detect developmental abnormalities in the growing baby that would influence where baby should be delivered and what preparations need to be made beforehand. Abnormalities of heart, lung, and intestinal development can, if detected early, alert parents and healthcare providers to deliver the baby in facilities equipped to begin management immediately after birth. Oftentimes, early recognition and early treatment can be lifesaving.

12. Assist in medical or surgical procedures: amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, trying to turn a breech baby, fetoscopy, or intrauterine transfusion.

Throwing a baby shower? Shop for baby shower favors here!

Pregnant women: Increase fiber, Decrease risk of preeclampsia

Fiber… it doesn’t just help you out in the bathroom department. Consuming enough fiber can also help pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy, according to WKRG.com.

Between three and seven percent of all pregnant women can face a dangerous condition called preeclampsia. “It consists of high blood pressure developing and then often the baby will be affected, be growth restricted and then the mother actually can get very ill from the disease and need early delivery,” said Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr. Tanya Sorensen.


Researchers took a look at 1,500 women and found that women who had normal recommended amounts of fiber – -around 20 to 30 grams per day — had lower risks of preeclampsia by 70% compared to women with lower fiber intake.

Good sources of fiber include whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals, and all manner of beans.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake, from the Harvard School of Public Health:

  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.

  • Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.

  • Choose whole grain cereals for breakfast.

  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.

  • Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.

  • Experiment with international dishes (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and legumes as part of the main meal (as in Indian dahls) or in salads (for example, tabbouleh).

In case you missed it: Exercise is GOOD for Pregnancy

photo from babyzone.com

You’re pregnant and you may feel like staying in bed and eating Crispy Creme donuts. But pregnancy is no excuse to indulge in high-calorie junk food and couch-potato behavior.

James Pivarnik of Michigan State University in East Lansing led a team that has written new physical activity guidelines for pregnant women as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.

He has studied the topic for more than 20 years, so I guess he’s the expert on pregnancy and exercise. His advice: at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

“There has been quite a dramatic change in regards to pregnancy and exercise,” Pivarnik said in a statement. “While it used to be thought that avoiding exercise meant avoiding harm to the fetus, research now shows physical activity can not only improve health of the mother but also provide

potential long-term benefits for the child.”

Bottom line: Stay active. It’s good for you and it’s good for your baby. And when you finally give birth, you won’t be one of those women moaning about how to loose all the extra baby weight.

source: UPI.com

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