Friday, 17 June 2011

Other concerns in early pregnancy

What are stretch marks and are they preventable?

Stretch marks are caused by the undue stretching of the collagen fibres in the skin that has been altered by the pregnancy hormones. They may occur on the abdomen, thighs, breasts. Alot depends on your skin type which is genetically determined. Some have more stretchable skin and do not get stretch marks while others may even get severe stretch marks all over. To avoid them, try not to put on too much weight, and avoid rapid weight gain. The bigger the baby the more likely you are to get stretch marks. They are generally unavoidable otherwise, and applying stretch mark creams are unhelpful. Stretch marks will lighten and turn to a silvery colour after birth.

I have developed brown patches on my face during this pregnancy, and a dark line down the middle of my abdomen. Is this normal?

The brown patches are known as melasma, and the line, linear nigra. They are the result of an increase in the pigment hormone melanin. Generally they will lighten and disappear several months after delivery. There are medications such as triluma to apply to remove them, but are not advisable to use during pregnancy.

I have been told that I have a retroverted or tilted womb. I am now 8 weeks pregnant. Will this in any way have  an effect on my pregnancy?

About 10% of women are born with a tilted womb. Although there are some reports of a higher risk of miscarriage it does not appear to affect the outcome of the pregnancy. The uterus will usually correct itself and assume the normal anteverted position at about 16 weeks. A retroverted womb may cause some backache, constipation and difficulty in passing urine. If severe, can result in urinary retention and the need for catheterisation. The neck of the bladder may be stretched by the enlarging womb that eventually it is so narrow that urinary retention results. If persistent, admission to hospital may be necessary and an indwelling tube in the bladder inserted.

I am in my 10th week of pregnancy and have found that I am having difficulty in passing urine. What is this due to?

If your obstetrician has told you that you have a tilted womb at your earlier examination, then that ios the cause of the difficulty in passing urine. The stretching and narrowing of the bladder outlet that is positioned over the uterus results in retention of urine. In the beginning there may be difficulty in passing urine and this may eventually lead to complete urinary retention. The treatment is admission to hospital and insertion of an indwelling catheter. The problem usually improves as the pregnancy advance s towards 16 weeks and the uterus rises out of the pelvis.

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