Myths And Mistakes About Early Pregnancy Hospital Visits.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience. Infact, most women look forward to carrying their own babies, a desire that just comes with being a woman I guess.
Usually, a woman menstruates every month and the duration between the first day of a current menstrual cycle(which is the first day she sees blood) to the first day of the next cycle is an average of 21 to 35 days. If less than 21 days or more than 35 days, such a woman needs to see a doctor.
Therefore, the first sign to tell that a woman is pregnant is when she “misses her period” which is “amenorrhoea” (secondary) in medicine. Secondary amenorrhoea indicating that she has been menstruating regularly.
STEPS TO FOLLOW WHEN ONE MISSES HER PERIOD
* URINE TEST; Buy a pregnancy test strip and dip it into your urine. Two(2) red lines indicate pregnancy.
* BLOOD TEST; Go to the hospital and consult a doctor. He will send you to the laboratory to run a pregnancy test with your blood(serum). This may not be conclusive because other conditions can cause a serum pregnancy test to be positive.
* IMAGING; An ultrasound scan of the abdomen (Abdominopelvic USS) will show a fetus(baby) in the uterus (womb) and tell if it’s viable(alive and doing well) or not. Hence it is confirmatory of pregnancy.
After confirming pregnancy, the woman should book for Antenatal Care (ANC).
MYTHS AND DISPROVALS
1. An early ultrasound scan is not safe for the fetus.
This is NOT true. Ultrasound scans are the safest imaging investigations currently as they DO NOT emit radiations like X-rays and CT scans or magnetic waves like MRI which are destructive to the fetus in the womb.
2. There’s no benefit from an early ultrasound scan.
This is again NOT true as an early ultrasound scan is most reliable in telling the exact age of the pregnancy and the expected date of delivery. Most women do not remember the exact day they saw their period last and so the early ultrasound scan is very reliable in setting the records straight.
It also tells whether there’s any abnormality with the fetus(which can be corrected in some cases), the weight of the fetus, the quantity of liquor(fluid) in which the fetus stays and whether it is adequate or not.
Later in the pregnancy, it can be used to tell the sex of the fetus.
3. The hospital staff have no role to play in early pregnancy.
Of course they do. You will be registered for an Antenatal Care(ANC) during which a lot of health talks, trainings and the likes will be given to you to prepare you for the pregnancy journey and how to care for the baby when she/he is born and beyond.
Screening tests for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, malaria, bloodgroup, hypertension and diabetes will be carried out and if they turn out positive, the right treatment will be administered to protect the pregnancy, fetus and keep the mother healthy and also to prevent complications of these illnesses for the mother and fetus (or baby when born).
This also helps with early diagnosis of illnesses which is the bedrock of treatment.
4. No more sexual intercourse during pregnancy.
This is FALSE. Sex should continue during pregnancy except advised otherwise.
5. A pregnant woman should not lift a finger to do anything.
FALSE. In as much as strenuous activity is discouraged during pregnancy, mild physical exercise and simple house chores are encouraged as these keep her fit and healthy.
This list is not exhaustive but it’s a start.
Feel free to add yours.
What myths have you heard about pregnancy?