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2nd Pregnancy: 6th Visit to the Doctor

Week: 31

Blood pressure: 110/70

Urine: clear

Weight gain: 4kgs

Baby’s weight: 2.2kgs

Baby’s size: average 33 weeks

Symptoms: Braxton Hick’s contractions, irregular bowel movements, piles, and back pain.

It seems that with this second pregnancy, the doctor’s had highlight my eating habits at just about every appointment.  Though I teasingly blame my SIL, I still can’t help but wonder how I manage to put on so much weight so easily.  Then again, since Gareth is looking like a large baby and has put on about a kilogram since my last check-up, at least I can account for where one of those four kilos came from!

Gestational Diabetes

All in all, the check-up was fine.  Both Gareth and I appear to be healthy and doing well.  The only anomaly was the fact that I have a little too much amniotic fluid.  That coupled with the fact that Gareth is looking a tad on the large side (he’s about the size of an average baby at 33 weeks) is suggestive of:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Foetal abnormality
  • Nothing

Since we’ve already done the detailed scan and found no abnormalities in foetal development, that possibility has been ruled out.  With a family history of diabetes, it is possible that I might have gestational diabetes.  Although my urine test has always been clear, it apparently isn’t a fool-proof check for diabetes.  The best test is to take a glucose tolerance test.

If it turns out I have diabetes, the first step would be to control my diet.  Dang!  There goes my position as “taste tester” for The Haute Food Co.  I’m supposed to fast overnight from midnight until the test the following morning.  I tried to make the most of it by having my last snack at 11:30pm and tried one heavenly piece of meringue that had just come out of the oven.

Aside from that, we learned a couple of other things at the doctor’s today…

On Bowel Movements

I’ve always been quite proud of the fact that I can practically poop on demand the moment I feel the urge to go.  Lately, that hasn’t been so.  In fact, I’ve been feeling the urge to go rather often even if I haven’t been able to go.  I’ve also had to go more often than my usual once a day.  This is apparently due to the fact that my pelvic floor muscle is weak and the uterus is now sitting on my bowels which creates the sensation of needing to go.  The reason why I find it difficult to go despite feeling the urge is because when I push the uterus further compresses the bowels and blocks the movement of excretion.

The piles have also returned accompanied by the occasional bleed despite the fact that I have not been constipated.  The first line of defence is to try to soften the stools further with an increase intake of fiber.  Seems to be working well for me.  Otherwise, we’ll have to use suppositories like Anusol, Xyloproct, Scheriproct, or Prep-H.

There are apparently two types of piles – the retractable ones that disappear  and the permanent ones that remain extended.  The retractable ones need to be treated with suppositories.  The extended ones can be treated with ointments.

Placenta Strangulation

Hubby was a bit concerned about the possibility of the placenta wrapping around the neck of the baby causing death by strangulation.  It was interesting to discover that this is a bit of an urban legend.  Babies in the womb don’t need to breathe.  All the oxygen babies require is provided through the placenta, therefore even if the placenta wraps around the neck of the baby, it should have no effect on the baby.  In our case, we would die ofasphyxiation because we wouldn’t be able to breathe.

What can and does happen (though rarely) is constriction of the placenta itself which reduces the flow of oxygen and other vital nutrients to the baby.  This can happen if the placenta wraps itself around any part of the baby, e.g. the leg, wrist, neck, etc.  Although it is common to find the placenta wrapping itself around some part of the baby, this is by no means a reason to operate because it is invariably harmless.  The doctor likened the probability of it causing death to that of being struck by lightning.  Although the possibility is there, it certainly doesn’t stop us from going out in the rain.  And if doctors were to operate every time they saw the placenta circulating some part of the baby, then the number of premature babies would be very high.

Usually what happens if there is some constriction of the placenta is that there will be a noticeable lessening in movements from the baby over a few days which eventually ends in no movement at all.  The best way to prevent this rare possibility is to monitor the movements of the baby and use your “maternal instincts”.  If you sense a decrease or weakening of the movements, then it is advisable to get it checked out at the hospital.  Other than that, there’s really not much else you can do.

So though it is easy to blame the doctor for negligence in the event that a baby dies from “placenta strangulation”, it appears the situation isn’t quiteso clear cut after all.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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