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Pregnancy And Miscarriage

Pregnancy And Miscarriage

Pregnancy 

Pregnancy – also known as gravidity or gestation – is the time in which a baby develops inside a woman’s womb. 

Stages of pregnancy - "trimesters"

Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks if calculated from the last menstrual period, and 38 weeks when measured from conception. The developing baby is usually referred to as an embryo for up to eight weeks in the pregnancy, and as a foetus from eight weeks until birth. 

Pregnancy is divided into three stages:

    The first trimester (weeks 1-13)
    The second trimester (weeks 14-26)
    The third trimester (weeks 27-40)

A multiple pregnancy, where twins, triplets or quadruplets (and more rarely, up to nine babies) are expected, occur with varying frequencies throughout the world, and are more likely to run in families or result from fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). 

What are its symptoms?

Early symptoms of pregnancy include:

    An absent period (menstruation)
    Breast tenderness
    Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting)
    Sensitivity to certain foods and smells
    Frequent urination

Later pregnancy is characterized by discomfort as the foetus develops, swollen feet and ankles, back pain, trouble sleeping, and even more frequent urination. 

How is it diagnosed? 

Pregnancy can be confirmed with a blood test that is performed by your doctor – this tests for the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, which is produced by the embryo after implantation. 

The other test option is a urine test, which tests for the same hormone; this one can be done at home too with a home test.

Pregnancy can be prevented

There are a number of methods of prevention, these are, contraception, also known as birth control or family planning.

The reason to use contraception and which kind is most appropriate are personal choices.

Common contraceptives include:

Barrier contraception, including the diaphragm, cervical cap, male and female condoms, spermicidal foam, amongst other periods of abstinence from intercourse intrauterine devices (IUDs) Hormone medications like the Pill.


A more recent development is the subdermal contraceptive device, which consists of a small matchstick-size implant that is placed under the skin, and defers pregnancy for up to three years, such as the Implanon insert. Emergency contraception, which is a pill that contains levonorgestrel. 

Further options include male and female sterilisation. 

These surgical procedures need to be discussed with your doctor. 


For more information about contraption follow the links below to be directed.

South African Government’s National Contraception Clinical GuidelinesSA Multiple Birth Association


The Association for Voluntary Sterilization of South Africa (AVSSA)


Miscarriage

It’s estimated that about 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before a woman realises she’s pregnant. This generally happens before the 20th week of pregnancy and because the foetus was not healthy. If a woman miscarries, she may need a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure, which is a quick surgical procedure where her uterine lining will be scraped to remove tissue in the uterus. This prevents infection or heavy bleeding. 

Termination of pregnancy (TOP)

An unwanted pregnancy or one where the mother or baby’s life is at risk may result in the decision to terminate.

If a woman is considering a termination of pregnancy, also known as an abortion, she must speak to her doctor or healthcare practitioner about the safest methods available.

It is also advised to undergo counselling before the procedure is performed. 

There are two PTO options available:

A medical abortion:

This involves taking medication and is available for women who are up to 20 weeks pregnant.

After taking the medication, symptoms of a miscarriage will present.  medication abortion can successfully terminate the pregnancy in 95% of cases, the but it is advised that anyone using this option has a check-up after 10 days to confirm that she is no longer pregnant.

If it has been unsuccessful, a surgical abortion option is recommended. 



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