10 November, 2023
5 best ways to avoid premature labour
The average length of a human gestation is 280 days or 40 weeks. The gestation period is usually counted from the first day of woman’s last menstrual period. It’s good and healthier for babies not to be born before they’re due. If the labour starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy, then it is usually called as premature labour. In this case, the baby is not fully grown and is not entirely ready to come into the outside world.In premature labour, the mother is unable to carry her baby for the full 9-month term. There are a number of reasons behind the preterm labour, including traumas, accidents and unpredictable diseases. Although the reasons are not clear, here are the common and best advisable ways to avoid premature labour.Learn what you can do to prevent early labour!
See your health care provider early and regularly during your pregnancy.
Prenatal care is designed over the years to minimise the risk and complications of pregnancy. A good health care provider can ensure and plan your pregnancy. Attend all prenatal appointments with your doctor and have all the screening tests to check your health and your baby’s health. Understand the common problems of the pregnancy and check the root causes in case of complications. Understanding the root causes will help you and your doctor plan better labour for you.
Stay away from smoke, drink, or illegal usage of drugs.
Protect your baby’s health and well being by staying away from smoke, drink or usage of drugs. Indirect exposure or passive exposure will also cause tremendous issues. Get help to quit for your or your family members around you, if needed. Always remember tobacco and alcohol will cause harm to your pregnancy!
Stay or get to a healthy weight during pregnancy.
Overweight and underweight women have a higher chance of giving premature birth. Work with your doctor and understand the weight demands during pregnancy. Try to achieve a healthy weight based on what your doctor suggests. Don’t get discouraged; even a small change in your weight may lower the chance of giving birth to a preterm baby. Always keep your weight on check.
Track your chronic diseases and take care of them
Inform your health care provider in case of any chronic disease such as diabetes, blood pressure or gastritis. They have to be kept well controlled before, during and after pregnancy. However, if any of the chronic conditions worsen during pregnancy, the chances for premature labour are higher. Thus, tracking and taking care of such chronic diseases is highly important.
Practice a healthy diet and regular yoga
Taking care of your body and mind during pregnancy plays a vital role in the health of the baby. Eat a variety of foods and drink lots of water to maintain the balance of vitamins, proteins and minerals in your body. Do regular exercise or yoga to boost your metabolism and contain the stress levels.
Preterm pregnancies cant always be prevented. But following a healthy routine will definitely lower the chances of premature births. Studies suggest that women who get routine prenatal care are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and baby.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.
20 November, 2021
5 easy ways to reduce stress during pregnancy
No matter how happy you are about your pregnancy, stress during the pregnancy phase is unavoidable. Most of the time, it is because of the hormones that play around. But there are a lot of other factors that account to stress. Managing stress during pregnancy is an efficient way to enjoy your pregnancy period.
Knowing the changes and accepting them happening to your body will help you best during this phase. However, know more efficient ways to reduce stress during pregnancy.
Here are the 5 easy ways to reduce stress during pregnancy.
Eat well and sleep well must be a routine
Nothing can replace the best benefits of proper food and sound sleep. Ensure that you follow a balanced diet with all the necessary supplements that your body needs and take enough rest. A night of proper sleep will make your day brighter and keep you comparatively in a cheerful mood. Rest when you are tired. Do not overdo during pregnancy. A perfect routine for food and sleep will ease up your hormones.
Surround yourself with positive energy. Talk to your friends and family.
Pregnancy can put you through a lot of thoughts. It will make you think about the least possible negativity. Well, these are the instincts of the mother to safeguard her child. So it is no wonder that you get all such thoughts. However, do not put them all to yourself. Talk them out with your best buddies and family. Let them know your concerns and allow them to soothe you down.
Exercise must be your normal
We are not talking about heavy workouts and impulsive training. It is all about simple meditation and gentle exercise. Mild exercise during pregnancy will lower cortisol levels; the stress hormone is partly responsible for your stress. Thus, regular exercise will help you stay fit and help you check your stress levels during pregnancy.
You can choose simple exercises like walking, swimming, low paced stationary bike etc. Learn more about safe cardio exercises that you can consider during pregnancy here.
Take time out for yourself
You might feel upset over small things. It is normal to be so during pregnancy. Do not feel wrong about such instances. Instead, when you feel low or feeling upset over something, take some time out for yourself to calm you down. Pick your favourite activity that you love to do and spend enough time with it. Try it for yourself! Taking a break can do significant wonders for your mental health, especially during pregnancy!
Do not skip your doctor appointments
Visiting your doctor regularly for prenatal appointments will make you feel at ease. Knowing your condition and baby’s condition will help you better understand the situation. At times, a simple talk with your doctor can help you calm down. Regular appointments will also help you check for the complications of pregnancy. An excellent way to check your mental health and ease you as well!
Remember, it is perfectly alright to worry about your unborn baby. Whether the baby is healthy or growing out well inside. But, do not let these thoughts overcome the joy of your pregnancy. Follow the above-mentioned suggestions to reduce your stress during pregnancy and enjoy the blissful moments of your life!!
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.
25 October, 2021
Pelvic pain is pain in the lower part of the abdomen and pelvis. It can stem from multiple causes. Pelvic pain arises from the conditions associated with reproductive, urinary or digestive systems, or from muscles and ligaments in the pelvis. Pelvic pain can be due to irritation of nerves in the pelvis.
Chronic pelvic pain is constant or intermittent pelvic pain for six months or more. Pelvic pain may spread to lower back, buttocks or thighs. Pelvic pain can also be situational, such as while using the bathroom or have sex.
More than one condition can lead to Pelvic pain.
Common causes of acute pelvic pain
Ovarian cyst– it is fluid-filled bubble arising from an ovary and causes pelvic pain when it ruptures or becomes twisted
Acute pelvic inflammatory disease– a bacterial infection of the reproductive organs, which often follows a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection and needs immediate treatment with Antibiotics.
Ectopic Pregnancy (or other pregnancy-related conditions)
Miscarriage or intrauterine fetal death
Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain)
Appendicitis – a painful swelling of the appendix which usually causes pain on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen
Peritonitis– inflammation of the peritoneum; it causes sudden abdominal pain that gradually becomes more severe and requires emergency treatment
Urinary tract infection – it will cause pain or a burning sensation while urination
Constipation or bowel spasm – this could be due to changes in diet, medication, irritable bowel syndrome or, in rare cases, a bowel obstruction
Less common causes include:
Pelvic abscess –it is collection of pus in between pelvic organs requiring urgent treatment
Endometriosis – a condition where bits of endometrium is found outside the uterus, such as on the ovaries, leading to painful periods
Long-term pelvic pain
If pelvic pain persist for 6 months or more that is either intermittent or continuous, it’s known as chronic pelvic pain.
The most common causes of chronic pelvic pain are:
Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease – a bacterial infection of female reproductive organs which often follows a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection and needs immediate treatment with antibiotics
Irritable bowel syndrome – a common condition of the digestive system that can cause cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation
Conditions involving the muscles, joints, and ligaments in the pelvis, lower back, or hips.
Less common causes of chronic pelvic pain are:
Recurrent ovarian cysts
Recurrent urinary tract infection
Lower back pain
Prolapse of the uterus– where the uterus slips down along with other organs from its normal position and usually causes a “dragging” pain
Adenomyosis – endometriosis that affects the muscle of the uterus, causing painful, heavy periods
Fibroids – tumours(non-cancerous) of the uterus, fibroids can be painful if they twist, but uncomplicated fibroids aren’t usually painful
Chronic interstitial cystitis – chronic inflammation of the bladder
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) –It includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which affect the gut
Trapped or damaged nerves in the pelvic area
Worsening of menstrual cramps
Vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge
Painful or difficult urination
Constipation or diarrhoea
Bloating or gas
Blood seen with a bowel movement
Blood in urine
Pain during intercourse
Fever or chills
Pain in the hip area
Pain in the groin area
To begin with, your doctor will do a complete examination to look for problems with your reproductive system. The doctor will need complete information about past and present health and symptoms. You might need to undergo some tests, such as:
Blood and urine tests for signs of infection.
A pregnancy test.
Tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)– vaginal culture
Emotional issues can be a big part in chronic pain. Inform your doctor about any depression or stress that is adding to your problem. Your Doctor will need to know about any past or current sexual or physical abuse. It can be tough to talk about these things, but all this information is needed to provide right treatment.
If initial tests don’t suggest anything significant, then you might have to go for other tests that show pictures of the organs in your belly. These may include:
Abdominal and pelvic X-rays.
Hysteroscopy (procedure to examine the uterus).
Stool guaiac test- tests microscopic blood in stool sample
Lower endoscopy such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis
Finding the cause of pelvic pain can take long time. You should keep record about the type of pain you have, timings and any precipitating factors.
Once your condition is diagnosed- you will be treated for that problem. Some common treatments include:
Birth control pills or hormone treatment for problems related to your periods.
Surgery for removal of a growth, cyst, or tumor.
Medical management- such as an antibiotic for infection or medicine for irritable bowel syndrome.
If you are not diagnosed foe the condition causing pelvic pain-you can be offered treatment to help you manage the pain. Best results are seen from a combination of treatments such as:
Pain relievers called NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen.
Tricyclic antidepressant medicine or anticonvulsants, which can help with pain and with depression.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy or biofeedback, to help you change the way you think about or react to pain.
Counselling, to give you emotional support and reduce stress.
Physical therapy to help you relax your muscles, improve your posture, and be more active.
Pain relievers that are injected (local anaesthetic) into specific areas to help with pain.
You may need to try many treatments before you find the ones that help you the most. If the things you’re using aren’t working well, ask your doctor what else you can try. Taking an active role in your treatment may help you feel more hopeful.
03 October, 2021
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
What you need to know about pelvic organ prolapse?
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Uterus (womb), bladder & rectum (back passage) are the organs present within a woman’s pelvis. They are normally held in their place by ligaments and muscles called pelvic floor. If these support structures are weakened there will be bulge of organs from their natural position into the vagina. When this happens it is known as pelvic organ prolapse.
Is it common to have prolapse?
It is very common especially in older women. As many women don’t go to doctor or talk about it, it might be difficult to know exactly the proportion of women who can have this problem. It is estimated that at least 50% of women over 50 years of age will have symptoms with pelvic organ prolapse.
Why does pelvic organ prolapse happen?
Being Pregnant and giving birth are most common reasons for weakening of pelvic floor. More births the woman had, more difficult births, more bigger babies, more likely is the chance of you having the prolapse.
After menopause it is common. Being overweight, constipation, persistent cough, and prolonged heavy lifting can also increase the chance of having the prolapse. Sometimes there is hereditary tendencies too.
What symptoms will be there if I have a prolapse?
Sometimes there might not be any problem at all and we will know only when examination is done. Most of the times, it is the sensation of lump coming down is the symptom.
Backache, heaviness or dragging discomfort in the vagina can be there.If bladder is also prolapsed – You may experience need to pass urine frequently, incomplete emptying, frequent urine infections.
If bowel is also prolapsed – You can have constipation or incomplete bowel emptying.
Some women might have to push the lump back to be able to empty bladder or bowel. Sex might be uncomfortable and lack of sensation during intercourse can be distressing.
Will I need tests?
Prolapse is usually diagnosed by performing a vaginal examination. Your doctor will insert a speculum (a metal or plastic instrument used to separate the walls of Vagina) to assess the prolapse and to determine exactly which organs are prolapsing.
Urine test will be done to check for infection. If you have leakage of urine special tests like Urodynamics will also be done.
What are the treatment options?
If mild prolapse and no symptoms, you might choose to take wait and see option, however losing weight if you are overweight, reducing cough, avoiding constipation, avoiding heavy lifting can help to reduce worsening of the problem.
Kegels or pelvic floor exercises will help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.If you are unable to do these exercises you will be referred to a physiotherapist to guide you doing the right way. Vaginal hormone might be recommended.
Other options include pessaries or surgery.
Pessary – Is a good way of supporting the prolapse. If you don’t wish the surgery or if surgery is too risky for you due to any medical condition you will be given this option. Pessary is made of plastic or silicone. There are many varieties and sizes of pessaries available. Your doctor will advise the right one for you. Most commonly used pessaries are ring pessaries. Fitting the right size pessaries can sometimes take more than one attempt. They have to be changed frequently. You have to report to your doctor if you experience any irritation or bleeding.
Surgery – Choosing surgery will depend on severity of your symptoms, effect on quality of life and if other options are not helpful. There will be some risks with any operation especially if you are overweight or have any medical problems. The usual surgery that is done is removal of uterus and pelvic floor repair.
Lifting up the uterus or vagina to a bone of your spine or a ligament within your pelvis are also available especially if prolapse is recurrent.
Closing off the vagina will be considered only if many surgeries are unsuccessful or you are in very poor medical health.
How successful is the surgery?
In 75% of women surgery is successful. However in 25% of women, prolapse can come back and might require further surgery at a later date.
24 September, 2021
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by bacteria. It is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge that happens in reproductive-age women. It can cause a “fishy” odor and vaginal irritation in some women. Others may not have any symptoms.
Most of the females with bacterial vaginosis will not have any symptoms but when they have, it includes-
Burning feeling while micturation
Fishy smell mostly after sex
Thin white, gray, or green discharge
It is rarely seen in females who are not sexually active. It most commonly affects-
Have an intrauterine device (IUD)
Have multiple sex partners
Have a new sex partner
Have a female sex partner
Perfumed bubble baths, vaginal deodorants, and few scented soaps
Washing underwear with strong detergent
BV is due to an imbalance of natural vaginal bacterial flora. Why this happens is not clear.
The role of bacteria
Bacteria is present allover our bodies, but some are beneficial while others are harmful. These bacteria become infectious when number of harmful bacteria increases.
The vagina is house for mostly “good” bacteria and some harmful bacteria. BV occurs when the harmful bacteria outgrows the good bacteria in number.
A vagina should contain bacteria called lactobacilli. These bacteria produce lactic acid, making the vagina slightly acidic. This prevents growth of other bacteria.
Acidity of vagina decreases if levels of lactobacilli decreases leading to growth of other bacteria’s. However, exact relationship of these harmful bacteria with BV is not known.
Bacterial vaginosis doesn’t generally cause complications. Sometimes, having bacterial vaginosis may lead to:
During pregnancy– In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis is linked to loss of pregnancy, early rupture of amniotic membranes, Chorioamnionitis, premature deliveries and low birth weight babies due to preterm labours.
After Delivery-Postpartum Endometritis, an irritation or inflammation of uterine lining.
Sexually transmitted infections– Bacterial vaginosis makes women more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, herpes simplex virus, chlamydia or gonorrhea. If you have HIV, bacterial vaginosis increases the chances of passing on the virus to your partner.
Infection risk after gynecologic surgery- such as hysterectomy or dilation and curettage (D&C).
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes cause an infection of the uterus and the fallopian tubes therefore the risk of infertility increases.
Studies have shown that success rate of IVF decreases in BV.
Minimize vaginal irritation- by using mild or nonscented soaps and tampons or pads.
Don’t douche- douching disrupts the vaginal balance and may increase your risk of vaginal infection.
Avoid Sexually transmitted diseases- Use a male latex condom, limit your number of sex partners.
Always wipe from front to back instead of back to front after using the bathroom.
Wear cotton or cotton-lined underwear. Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Cotton helps wick away moisture.
The doctor will:
Ask about your medical history- about previous STIs, etc.
Do an overall physical exam
Do a pelvic exam- for signs of infection, condition of pelvic organs
Take a sample of discharge from your vagina to look for bacteria
Test your vaginal pH. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is associated with bacterial vaginosis.
Often it remains asymptomatic, but women with signs and symptoms should take treatment to avoid complications.
Often antibiotics (metronidazole, clindamycin, tinidazole) are required to treat BV. This could be a tablet or a cream or gel you put into your vagina. Most females need to take treatments for 5 to 7 days. Finish full course of medicines, even if the symptoms go away. Incomplete medications course can lead to recurrence.
Since BV can be spread through sex, so it is advisable to avoid sexual contact till treatment is finished. Female sexual partners should see their doctor to find out if they need treatment.
IUDs users with BV can opt for other forms of contraception.
To treat bacterial vaginosis, following medicaions can be prescribed:
Metronidazole- This is given as oral forms mostly. Metronidazole is also be given as a topical gel to insert into the vagina. It is the most commonly used antibiotic. It is preferred over other antibiotics if the woman is breastfeeding or pregnant.
Clindamycin -This medicine is available as a cream that you insert into your vagina. Clindamycin creams are known to weaken latex condoms- so take adequate precautions for atleast 3 days after stopping the treatment.
Tinidazole-This medication is taken orally. Tinidazole reacts with alcohol, so avoid alcohol during treatment and for at least three days after completing treatment.
Secnidazole -This is an antibiotic you take orally in one dose.
Generally it is not necessary to treat an infected woman’s male sexual partner, but it can spread among female sexual partners, so female partners should be tested and treated accordingly. It’s especially important for pregnant women with symptoms to be treated to decrease the risk of premature labour.
Around one-third of women whose symptoms disappear with treatment will have a recurrence within 3 months, and half will have a recurrence within 6 months.
If more than three episodes occur within 12 months, the doctor may prescribe a vaginal metronidazole gel to use twice a week for 3 to 6 months.
While current research shows there may be some benefit to probiotic therapy, more research is needed on the subject.