Search Results for: vaginal discharge

Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: When Should You Worry?

VAGINAL DISCHARGE DURING PREGNANCY: WHEN SHOULD YOU WORRY?

The journey from pregnancy to childbirth is quite exciting. However, it can also be confusing for first-time mothers.

Your body is going through a lot of changes during this period and it may be difficult to tell what’s normal and what isn’t normal.

One of such changes is your vaginal discharge, which can change during pregnancy.

To a large extent, these changes are normal. However, they may also serve as an indicator of a problem. This would definitely raise the question: When should I begin to worry?

To answer this, you need to know when not to worry. This begins with knowing what is normal.

pregnancy hormones affect your discharge in many ways

WHAT IS NORMAL?

It is normal to have discharge whether you are pregnant or not.

However, pregnancy hormones affect your discharge in many ways. You may notice this change shortly after conception, even before you realize you are pregnant.

A healthy vaginal discharge ranges from;

  • Clear to milky white.
  • Thin to thick or mucus-like.
  • Mild-smelling or odourless.

Your discharge would become more noticeable as your pregnancy advances. The closer you get to your delivery date, the heavier your discharge would get. You may have to wear a panty liner. It is best to use an unscented one.

Also, avoid tampons.

Your discharge may contain streaks of blood in the last weeks of pregnancy. Do not panic if this happens. It is just an early sign of labor and is no cause for alarm.

WHAT IS ABNORMAL?

Abnormal vaginal discharge can be a sign of a bacterial or yeast infection. It may also be a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you are pregnant, it can serve as an indicator that something is wrong with the pregnancy.

You should be concerned if your discharge;

  • is yellow, green, or gray in color
  • has a strong and foul odour
  • comes with redness, itching or swelling
  • causes pain or soreness during urination or sex
  • changes drastically in quantity, colour and texture.  
You should be concerned if your discharges is yellow, green, or gray in color.
Image : Shutterstock

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

There is little you can do about normal vaginal discharge. Some women find it helpful to wear panty liners. Others may find it irritating. Whichever side you are on though, never resort to using tampons. They are highly discouraged during pregnancy.

Nevertheless, there are some little things you can do to keep your private area healthy. Some of them are;

  • Wipe properly; from front to back after using the loo
  • Change your clothes immediately after working out or swimming.
  • Reduce wearing tight pants, leggings or underwear, especially those made with synthetic materials. Wear more loose fitting clothing and cotton underwear.
  • Always keep your genital area dry.
  • Avoid scented pads or panty liners, bubble baths, deodorant soaps, or any other thing that may irritate your already sensitive skin.
  • Please, as tempting as it may be, do not douche. It disrupts the normal vaginal environment and increases your risk of getting an infection.
  • If you do develop an infection, consult your health care provider. A suitable vaginal cream or pessary may be recommended for you.
If you do develop an infection, consult your health care provider. A suitable vaginal cream or persary may be recommended for you.

Your vaginal health is very important during pregnancy. Do not take it lightly. There is no need to be ashamed to voice out any concerns you may have about your discharge.

Speak to your health care provider about any changes that may worry you. They are always there to help you and your baby.

REFERENCES
  • Juliann Schaeffer 2019, Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: What’s Normal?, Healthline, Viewed on July 27, 2020,  <https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy#1>.
  • Karisa Ding 2017, Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy, Babycenter, Viewed on July 27, 2020, <https://www.babycenter.com/0_vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy_270.bc>.
  • Tamekia Reece 2020, Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy, Healthline, Viewed on July 27, 2020, <https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pregnancy-health/discharge-during-pregnancy-whats-safe-whats-not/>.
  • Shutterstock

Types Of Vaginal Discharge And What They Signify

At least once in your life as a woman you may experience a vaginal discharge.

Sometimes, this inevitable event may cause you concern. You may start to worry about your health.

In this article, we would answer basic questions about vaginal discharge; the types, significance and causes.

What Is Vaginal Discharge?

A vaginal discharge is any secretion that is released from the vagina at any point in time. The discharge could come from the womb , the cervix or the walls of the vagina.

Often times, women wonder if a discharge is normal or not.

What’s A Normal Discharge?

In most cases, a normal discharge is made up of exfoliated (shed) vaginal skin cells, bacteria, as well as secretions from the vagina itself, womb and cervix .

Normal vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky and it may have a gentle scent that is NOT unpleasant or irritating.

The vagina actually contains a broad range of bacteria. 95% of which function to keep the vagina safe from other unwanted bacteria which cause several urinary tract infections (UTIs which is any infection in the kidneys, bladder, or the “pipes”that connect them to each other and the outside of the body ) .

A healthy vagina is expected to have a slightly acidic pH. Interestingly this wards off unwanted bacteria.

What Are the Types?

Vaginal Discharge varies over the course of a female’s menstrual cycle.

These changes result in the varying types of discharge. Some of them include:

Itching and the presence of curdled, white /cream vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese) is common in yeast infections (thrush)
Itching and the presence of curdled, white /cream, vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese) is common in yeast infections (thrush)
  • White: Most women observe a thick and white discharge at the beginning and end of their cycles. In normal conditions, this white discharge is not associated with any form of itching. Therefore, when itching occurs, the white discharge may be a symptom of yeast infection.
  • Yellow or Green: Greenish or yellowish discharge may signify the presence of an infection such as trichomoniasis.
  • Brown: Brown discharge may occur immediately after periods. This simply means your vagina is being ‘cleaned up’ because dry blood looks brownish.
Passage of dark to rusty brown discharge signal the end of the menstrual cycle
Passage of dark to rusty brown discharge signals “old blood” the end of the menstrual cycle.
  • Spotting Blood: Blood may be observed in vaginal discharge when you are ovulating, in the middle of your circle or after childbirth. Sometimes, a spotting like this occurs in the first month of pregnancy.
  • Clear and Slimy: In this case, the vaginal discharge means you are ovulating. It’s usually stretchy when felt between the fingers and varies in thickness.
  • Clear & Watery; This type of discharge occurs at various points of your cycle, especially after strenuous exercise.
Clear slimy vaginal discharge (like egg whites) usually signifies ovulation
Clear slimy vaginal discharge (like egg white) usually signifies ovulation.
Image: Shutterstock

When Should I Get Worried?

Not Immediately…

However, we advise that you take note of the various types of discharge listed above. In addition to this, it is advisable to speak with a qualified medical practitioner if you observe a coloured or bloody discharge.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor:

  • Rashes or blisters
  • Burning sensations on your genital region
  • Pain on your tummy or genital region
  • Itching
  • Sores

What Factors Affect The Sort Of Discharge?

Several factors may alter the volume, color and scent of a discharge. Some of these factors include:

  • Sexual activity and number of Sexual Partners
  • Medication and birth Control Use
  • Associating Medical Conditions (such as Diabetes)
  • The presence of foreign bodies such as cervical cerclage tape or intrauterine contraceptive device

In Conclusion

Vaginal discharge is inevitable.

What really matters is the volume, colour and scent of the discharge in question. It is advisable to remain observant and take not of any drastic or uncomfortable changes around your private area.

Do not hesitate to speak to a doctor whenever you notice these changes.

We are here to help you

Is Bleeding After Childbirth Normal ?
What you need to know about vaginal discharge

Differences Between Mucus Plug And Discharge

Immediately she noticed the milky white discharge, Flora worried for her baby. Of course, she didn’t want anything to happen to her precious little one. Little did she know that it was a mucus plug discharge.

Pregnancy in NIgeria, Pregnant, Miscarriage
Pregnancy in Nigeria, Pregnant, Miscarriage

Early the next day, she left for the hospital where a kind and gentle nurse requested to observe the discharge before explaining to Flora that it was a simple mucus plug discharge.

During pregnancy, women tend to experience an increase in the frequency of vaginal discharge. As a result, it’s quite difficult to differentiate between a mucus plug and a vaginal discharge.

This article presents you with concrete information about what a mucus plug is. It goes further to provide you with a number of differences between a mucus plug and a vaginal discharge.

What’s A Mucus Plug?

It is also known as cervical mucus plug.

Mucous Plug

This plug serves as a barrier to the womb during pregnancy. The mucus plug protects the womb from unwanted organisms like viruses, bacteria and parasites which may creep in and harm the growing baby.

A mucus plug is made up of secretions from the womb which unite to form a barrier during early pregnancy. When delivery time is near, the cervix undergoes certain changes called effacement and dilation.

During effacement, the cervix becomes thin which spurs the removal of the mucus plug.

What Does It Look Like?

The mucous plug has a classic egg white appearance.

In some cases, it may contain a tiny tinge of blood. During late pregnancy, the mucus plug is thick, sticky and quite transparent.

In the latter stages of pregnancy and just before labour, the mucous plug dissolves and leaves the vagina as a continuous discharge. This discharge may last for more than a day.

What’s A Vaginal Discharge?

A vaginal discharge refers to any secretion that is released from the vagina at any point in time.

In most cases, a normal discharge is composed of shed vaginal skin cells, bacteria and vaginal secretions. A normal vaginal discharge is usually clear and milky with a gentle scent that is not unpleasant.

discharge vs mucus plug

On the other hand, an abnormal vaginal discharge may be green or yellow. This is usually indicative of a possible infection.

Mucus Plug Vs Discharge

  1. A mucus plug is white in colour and odourless and may contain a tinge of blood. On the other hand, vaginal discharge can come in different colours and may have an unpleasant odour, depending on the cause.
  2. A mucus plug is seen inside the womb protecting the baby from unwanted organisms while a vaginal discharge is seen in the cervix.
  3. A mucus plug dissolves at the start of labour while a vaginal discharge can occur at any phase of pregnancy and post-pregnancy stage.
  4. Compared to vaginal discharge, a mucus plug discharge only occurs during pregnancy.

In Conclusion

Losing the mucus plug may be a sign of intending but not immediate labour. Your labour may take a few more days or weeks to start even after a mucous plug discharge

Please consult your doctor if you notice an unpleasant or uncomfortable discharge from your vagina. This may be a sign of an infection or sexually transmitted disease.

Above all, keep a close eye on your health as an expectant mum. Attend your clinics regularly and take very good care of yourself.

REFERENCES

Pregnancy and Ovulation | All You Need To Know

Ovulation is a stage of the 28-day menstrual cycle. Ovulation specifically refers to the release of the egg (ovum) from the ovary of a female. If the egg is not fertilized during that time, it disintegrates (breaks down), and menstruation (your period) begins approximately two weeks (14 days) later. In this post, you’ll learn all you need to know about pregnancy and ovulation.

Don’t stop reading.

What Is Ovulation?

Reproductive hormones cooperate to activate the ovaries during the menstrual cycle, which leads to the development of follicles. Every follicle contains an immature egg. Ovulation is the release of an egg, or ovum, from the ovaries.

Pregnancy and Ovulation

In most women, ovulation occurs on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle.

After ovulation, the egg moves through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. When the sperm and egg come into contact at the proper time, conception may occur.

Signs of Ovulation

There are specific signs and also various methods of detecting ovulation. A proper understanding of these signs and symptoms is helpful while trying to conceive. You can also read this post about 7 interesting signs of ovulation.

These signs include:

1. Fertile quality vaginal discharge

Cervical mucus production is enhanced by an increase in estrogen levels before ovulation. Cervical mucus also undergoes a change in appearance, going from having a stickier, clumpier texture to resembling raw egg whites.

2. Ovulation predictor test strips

Thankfully, there are also tests available that can tell you when ovulation is about to occur, you urinate on the test to acquire a result, they operate similarly to pregnancy tests. This test strip works by detecting luteinizing hormone in your bloodstream.

3. Ovulation monitor

The ovulation monitor is a fancier form of an ovulation test strip. Some digital ovulation monitors utilize urine test strips to evaluate hormone levels, while others determine upcoming ovulation by measuring saliva, cervical secretions, or temperature.

Pregnancy and Ovulation

4. Cervical opening

The cervix rises upward, softens to the touch, and opens slightly as ovulation approaches.

5. Basal body temperature

This is the most common method of determining ovulation dates. It depends on software that uses temperature data to track the progress of your menstrual cycle. However, this method is not reliable for women with irregular periods.

6. Typical cycle length

An ovulation calendar can help you determine when you are most fertile. Although it is not 100% accurate, the findings are adequate if you have regular cycles.

Conception and Fertilization

When an egg cell from a woman travels down one of the fallopian tubes from the ovary to the uterus and it combines with a sperm cell from a fertile man as it swims up through the vagina and into the uterus, conception occurs.

You can also read this article on how to calculate your conception date.

An embryo is the product formed when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Interestingly, the baby’s DNA and sex are determined at the time of fertilization. Your child will be a boy if the sperm carries the Y chromosome and a girl if the sperm carries the X chromosome.

The fertilized egg spends about 3 to 4 days in the fallopian tube after fertilization. Within the next 24 hours, this fertilized egg rapidly divides into multiple cells. It continues to divide as it slowly passes through the fallopian tube and enters the uterus.

At this point, your body begins to release various hormones that serve as the basis of a pregnancy test and promote prenatal development.

It is at this stage that a woman experiences a missed period.

Do you stop ovulating immediately after conception?

Yes, ovulation stops after conception.

After ovulation, the absence or failure of fertilization leads to menstruation or periods. On the other hand, if the ovulated egg is fertilized, your body knows that you’re pregnant and stops the process of ovulation. This is because the hormones that cause the various signs of pregnancy also inhibit ovulation.

ovulation

Furthermore, you won’t have periods while pregnant because the uterine lining remains fixed to ensure proper prenatal development during pregnancy. In the rare instance that you experience periods or heavy bleeding in the early stage of pregnancy, please consult your doctor.

Does Ovulation Happen During Pregnancy?

Although it is possible to get a positive ovulation test result during pregnancy, you cannot ovulate while pregnant.

This only happens in cases of false positive ovulation test results arising from fluctuating hormone levels. Remember, a lot of these home test kits are only about 99% accurate.

Additionally, because pregnancy causes a significant rise in hormone levels, those levels could be a little too high, causing the test to show a positive result for ovulation. Therefore, a positive ovulation test result may simply be the consequence of hormonal changes or, in that case, a flawed test.

Conclusion

Only extensive tests that look for many eggs or ultrasounds that check to see if an egg has been released can provide a 100% guarantee of ovulation. In some circumstances, your body may be just about to become pregnant or, regrettably, just about to have a miscarriage.

Since our biological mechanisms are designed to stop the ovulation cycle once the uterus has a fertilized egg to care for, ovulation stops once an egg is fertilized and the woman is pregnant.

IUD and Birth Control | All You Need To Know

Birth control is very important in preventing unplanned pregnancies. There are a number of options available to consider when choosing a birth control method, and this includes an IUD or Intrauterine Device.

Although it is not advisable for every woman, IUDs are often safe and long-lasting. One other importance of IUDs is that they are not permanent. This means you can stop it or get it removed when you are ready to have children.

This article contains the necessary information you need to know about IUDs including what an IUD is, the types available, how it is inserted, risks associated with using an IUD, and lots more.

Let’s Get Started!

What is an IUD?

IUD simply means intrauterine device. It is a small device shaped in form of a letter T. It is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. An IUD prevents pregnancy by preventing the sperms from reaching the eggs, thus, stopping fertilization from occurring.

IUD

An IUD can also be called an IUCD meaning intrauterine contraception device.

Are IUDs effective?

IUDs are one of the most effective methods of contraception. They have been tested to be over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

What are the types of IUDs?

There are five types of IUDs that are currently available. These include:

  • Paragard, also known as Copper T
  • Mirena
  • Skyla
  • Kyleena
  • Liletta.

These five types can be classified into two broad categories: hormonal and non-hormonal.

The Paragard is a non-hormonal type of IUD. It is also called the Copper IUD or Copper T because it is made of copper. The copper ions contained in Paragard are released into the uterus which then creates a hostile environment for the sperm. This renders the sperm powerless and unable to fertilize the egg.

The Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta are examples of hormonal IUDs. They contain progestin, the synthetic form of the natural hormone, progesterone. This progestin is released into the uterus, thickens the cervical mucus, and prevents the sperm from entering the uterus, thereby inhibiting the movement of the sperm, making it difficult for it to reach and fertilize the egg. The hormone also thins the lining of the uterus, so an egg is not likely to implant on it.

What are the pros and cons of IUDs?

Pros

  • IUDs are a very effective method of birth control.
  • They are reversible.
  • They are convenient
  • They can last for a very long period of time depending on the type. The time range from 3 to 12 years.
  • Ease of Access: For example, IUDs are completely free in all Government Health Centres in Nigeria.

Cons

  • IUDs can be very expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance.
  • They do not protect against STIs.
  • The insertion process can be very uncomfortable.

Who can use an IUD?

IUDs can be used by most healthy women. They are also best for women with one partner who are at low risk of contracting an STI.

You should not use an IUD if you have any of the following:

  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you have an STD.
  • If you have a recent pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • If you are bleeding from your vagina.
  • If you have cancer of the cervix or uterus.
  • If you have certain blood disorders that prevent your blood from clotting.

Also,

  • If you have an allergy to copper or Wilson’s disease (a disease that causes the excess accumulation of copper in the body), don’t use the Paragard IUD.
  • If you have liver disease, or breast cancer (or you’re at high risk for it), don’t use any of the hormonal IUDs.

How an IUD is inserted

IUDs are usually inserted by a health care professional. These professionals are known as FP providers or Contraceptive Care providers. The whole process does not take so much time; in about 30 minutes you should be done. The insertion procedure itself takes less than 5 minutes.

IUD

The process of inserting an IUD starts with you putting your feet in stirrups. The doctor places a speculum into your vagina to keep your vagina open. The IUD is then placed into a small tube which helps in the insertion process. The tube containing the IUD is inserted into the vagina and pushed up through the cervix and then to the uterus. Once the tube is in the uterus, the IUD is pushed out of the tube and the tube is pulled out of the uterus.

How to prepare for your IUD insertion appointment

The process of inserting an IUD can be very uncomfortable, so it is necessary that you make adequate preparation for it. The following tips can help you prepare adequately for your appointment:

  • Wear one of your most comfortable clothes. Think of one that is very easy to get off and back on.
  • Get an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief or one prescribed by your doctor. This will help you relieve any pain that you may feel after the procedure.
  • Taking the pain relief before the procedure can also help.
  • You will need a heating pad, some pads or panty liners after the procedure, so it’s best to get them ready before the procedure.

Risks associated with using an IUD

The following risks are possible with the use of an IUD, although the chance of them occurring is very low.

  • Infection: There’s a small chance that you will have an infection after an IUD insertion. This risk is highest within the first 20 days after the insertion and then drops drastically.
  • Perforation: The risk of the IUD getting perforated during insertion is very low. It occurs in about 1 to 2 in 1000 women.
  • Expulsion: If you have never been pregnant or are under the age of 20, the chances of your IUD falling out of place is high compared to those who are not in this category.

When can the IUD be removed?

You can remove your IUD at any time you feel like doing so. Just make an appointment with your doctor to get it removed.

Your IUD can protect against pregnancy as long as you have it in. It is advisable not to keep it longer than its expiration date. The expiration date depends on the type and brand of IUD that you’re using.

When to consult a doctor

IUDs don’t pose any serious threat or complication to you but you should watch out for some signs that may indicate that something has gone wrong. Call your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • If you have severe pain in your stomach or lower abdomen.
  • If the IUD feels like it has shifted or is coming out.
  • If penetrative sex becomes more painful.
  • If you bleed during or after sexual activity.
  • If the IUD string feels longer or shorter.
  • If there’s a change in the appearance of your vaginal discharge.
  • If you have a fever or chills.
  • If you have unprotected sex with someone who has an STI.
  • If you think you are pregnant.

Conclusion

IUDs are an effective method of birth control. Consult your doctor to know if this option is good for you and when you can get it done. If you also notice any side effects after getting an IUD, see your doctor.

Positive Signs After Embryo Transfer

The season of waiting for a child usually seems like it would go on forever. Most times, this period is characterized by anxiety and stress. In fact, this is heightened when you have done an embryo transfer and are waiting for a positive pregnancy result.

An embryo transfer is the last, most important, and most delicate step in the IVF (in-vitro fertilization) process. In this process, the embryo (or embryos) are carefully placed into the uterus of the mother. This is done using a transfer cannula and an ultrasound machine.

embryo transfer

Are you trying to conceive? Are you considering IVF as an option for conception? Did you just complete an embryo transfer and you simply can’t wait to know how it turned out?

This article is for you.

In this post, we’ve outlined 10 signs of a successful embryo transfer.

10 signs that your embryo transfer was successful

Here’s the fact: A positive pregnancy test result is the only accurate sign of a successful embryo transfer.

This pregnancy test is often conducted 14 days after the embryo transfer, but if you are in a hurry, you can go for the test at about 9 – 10 days. This is so because the estrogen and progesterone (hormonal treatment) taken before the embryo transfer, and the progesterone taken after the transfer can produce symptoms that mimic pregnancy.

Nevertheless, there are a number of signs that may suggest a successful transfer. These include:

1. Nausea

Nausea in pregnancy can be a result of increased levels of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. This hormone is also present after a successful embryo transfer and therefore may be the reason behind your nausea.

2. Cramping

Yes, cramping is a sign that your period is almost here but it can also be a sign that the “embryo is staying” following an embryo transfer.

embryo transfer

You need to remember that these cramps may be a result of the progesterone you took during the course of the procedure. In addition, the cramps may be the direct result of the entire IVF procedure.

3. Fatigue

Do you know that feeling that makes you just want to lie down and chill all day?

Yes, it may also be a sign of a successful embryo transfer.

In fact, this fatigue may begin after a successful transfer and last throughout pregnancy. Sometimes, it may even extend beyond!

On another note, fatigue may just be one of the many side effects of the hormonal therapy you were placed on during the transfer process.

4. Sore Breasts

For some women, sore and tender breasts are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, even before a missed period.

It may also be the same with you.

If you notice that your breasts are sore or swollen or if they are tender when you touch them, then it is very possible that embryo transfer was successful.

Asides from the soreness of the breasts, you may also notice harder than normal breasts, a tingling sensation in the nipples, or dark areolas.

5. Elevated Basal Body Temperature

A woman’s basal body temperature increases by about 1℃ at the time of conception and remains this way throughout pregnancy. If you notice a mild rise in your temperature, then you can rest assured in the fact that there’s a chance you’re pregnant.

6. Dizziness, Pins and Needles

These may be as a result of the hormones used to stimulate the ovaries or used to prepare the endometrial wall for implantation of the uterus. Furthermore, it can also indicate that the embryo transfer was successful.

7. Changes in Vaginal Discharge

If the changes and apparent increase in vaginal discharge are a result of a successful embryo transfer, you may notice a thin, white, mild-smelling discharge.

In fact, the vaginal discharge may be voluminous in the early days following the transfer. This is a result of the progesterone that was used to prepare you for the transfer.

8. Spotting

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy in a woman, which is often missed or misinterpreted, is bleeding or spotting. When you notice a little amount of blood in your underwear after an embryo transfer, it may be a sign that the transfer was successful.

This can mean that the embryo has successfully implanted into the wall of your uterus.

There can also be an associated spotting that is seen 2 to 3 days after the embryo transfer. This may be due to the vaginal progesterone applicators that touched the overly sensitive outer part of the cervix.

9. Increase In Urinary Frequency

Following a successful embryo transfer, there’d be a noticeable increase in bathroom breaks.

Cloudy Urine

This is often a result of the increase in the hCG and progesterone hormones. The increased need to pee can also be a result of the extra blood in your body after the successful embryo transfer.

10. No Symptoms

Yeah, you read that right!

That you have no symptoms can actually mean that you are pregnant too. If you aren’t experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you should not worry or get agitated.

Remember, a positive pregnancy test is the only accurate way to confirm that you are pregnant. When you’ve got that, you can be absolutely sure.

Conclusion

The two-week period of waiting following an embryo transfer can be very emotional. For most people, it is a period of time where all you do is just to hope for the best, and that all works out well.

As you wait, you need to remain calm and stay positive in your words and thoughts. You should also bear in mind that whether you have the symptoms listed above or not, the only specific test to be sure that the transfer was successful is a positive pregnancy test.

References

Chavez-Badiola, A., Flores-Saiffe Farias, A., Mendizabal-Ruiz, G. et al. Predicting pregnancy test results after embryo transfer by image feature extraction and analysis using machine learning. Sci Rep 10, 4394 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61357-9

Georgi Stamenov Stamenov, Dimitar Angelov Parvanov, Todor Angelov Chaushev, “Successful Pregnancy following Mixed Double Embryo Transfer in a Patient with Variable Window of Implantation”, Case Reports in Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 2018, Article ID 1687583, 4 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1687583

Water Breaking | Things To Note

If you’re like me, you probably have a proper record of all your special experiences, especially those related to pregnancy. Starting from the first positive pregnancy test, to the first ultrasound scan, and your little one’s first kick. In fact, we’re pretty certain that you’ve got a daily or weekly countdown to the end of your 9 months journey.

One of the signs you’d want to look out for and take note of is water breaking. In plain terms, water breaking is a sign that your baby is ready to be delivered.

In this post, you’d get to know what water breaking is all about; why and when it happens, how to know when your water has broken, and other important things to note in this period.

What is Water Breaking?

Water breaking is the process by which the amniotic sac (the fluid-filled sac that houses and bathes your baby in the womb breaks) and the water therein spills out.

The amniotic sac contains amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects your baby from injury. Asides from this, the amniotic fluid helps to regulate your baby’s temperature, provides room for baby to move freely, and the umbilical cord to float without being pressed.

Why the Water Breaks

Water breaking is a necessary event that must happen so that your baby will be born. If the sac does not break by itself, your doctor or midwife can induce the break artificially.

Although the actual mechanism of water breaking is not fully understood, research shows that it may be due to brain signals from the baby or fetal movement. This happens because your little one changes his/her position just before delivery; directing his/her head towards the birth canal. The pressure placed on the fetal membranes due to this movement can lead to water breaking.

When Does the Water Break?

In normal conditions, the water breaks during labor.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, it may break before labor. If this happens and labor does not start soon after, your health care provider may need to induce your labor so that uterine contractions can start. The labor will be induced because of the associated risk of infection for you and your baby.

This condition is known as prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM), and if it occurs before the baby is up to term, preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM). This can result in some complications which include:

  • Infections
  • Placenta abruption
  • Detached placenta
  • Premature delivery

How to Know When Your Water Has Broken

Knowing when the water has broken may not be so easy.

This is because it looks a lot like urine. It may also be that you’d only experience a feeling of wetness or trickle of fluid and not the gushing flood that some other women do. However, slight differences still exist between urine and amniotic fluid.

Firstly, you should watch out for the color and smell of the fluid. Amniotic fluid does not smell like urine. It can either be odorless or slightly sweet-smelling. The amniotic fluid can either be pale or straw-colored as opposed to urine that has a typical amber yellow color. You should also not confuse the amniotic fluid with a vaginal discharge which is usually thin and white.

Secondly, amniotic fluid tends to leak more when you’re standing than when you’re sitting. It may also leak slowly over time. You should be aware that you will not feel any pain when your water breaks because the amniotic sac is not associated with any pain receptors.

If you are unsure whether what you felt or saw is the amniotic fluid, you should reach your health care providers or go to the hospital.

When Will Labor Start?

If your labor has not started before your water breaks, it will start soon after.

However, as we mentioned earlier, this may not always be the case. If your labor doesn’t start soon after your water breaks, your doctor may need to induce it.

What if the Water Breaks too Early?

Water breaking before the 37th week of pregnancy is known as the preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM). The following factors put you at risk for PPROM:

  • History of PPROM in previous pregnancies
  • Infection of the amniotic sac
  • Vaginal bleeding in the second and/or third trimesters
  • Underweight with poor nutrition
  • Short cervical length
  • Smoking during pregnancy

If you have a PPROM and you’re 34-37 weeks pregnant, delivery will be recommended to you to avoid infection. For pregnancies between 24-34 weeks old, doctors may attempt to delay delivery until the baby is more developed. This will also prevent the baby from developing further complications due to premature delivery.

What To Do Next

It is expected that labor will start soon after the water breaks. However, if your labor does not start within 24 hours after your water breaks, you should see a doctor immediately.

This is to prevent and reduce the risk of infection.

Once your water breaks, you are ready to deliver. Therefore, you need to follow your midwife’s instructions at this stage.

You should go to the hospital immediately or call your doctor if you notice any of the following accompanying the water breaking:

  • Foul smell
  • Green or brown colored amniotic fluid: This can be an indication that your baby has had a bowel movement in the uterus.
  • If you are not at full term

Conclusion

Finally, it is important to remember that water breaking is a normal and painless event that helps you to know that your delivery time is very close. If your labor has started and your water has not broken, your doctor may need to break the sac artificially. This, also, is painless and does no harm to you or your baby.

If you are uncertain about other symptoms accompanying your water breaking, you should see your doctor immediately.

We’re always here to answer your questions.

References

Ruptured Membranes: When the Bag of Water Breaks. Volume 61, Issue 4, Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. Pages 545-546. July/August, 2016. Accessed on 20th January, 2022 from https://doi.org/10.1111/jmwh.12509

Cervical Mucus: All You Need To Know

Your body speaks to you in many ways. Sometimes, it may even be in the color, consistency, and amount of cervical mucus that you produce during a monthly cycle or pregnancy.

Like every other means of communication, it is possible to miss the signs and lose the message.

Thankfully, there’s a way out. In this article, you’d discover everything you need to know about your cervical mucus; what is it, its importance, and how it can speak to you.

Read on to learn more!

First, What Is Cervical Mucus?

In plain terms, cervical mucus is the fluid or gel-like discharge released from your cervix during your monthly cycles or in the early stages of pregnancy. Sometimes, it is also referred to as vaginal discharge.

Cervical Mucus

As we mentioned earlier, cervical mucus may vary in color, consistency, and volume during your monthly cycle and pregnancy.

Although these changes are usually mild, it is possible to identify them and use them as an indicator of pregnancy or fertility.

How Important Is Cervical Mucus?

This jelly-like blob discharge from your cervix serves the following functions:

1. Protection

Your cervical mucus protects your body from infection by preventing beneficial bacteria from leaving your urinary tract. In the right amount, these bacteria maintain the alkalinity of your vagina, thereby keeping it healthy.

During pregnancy, the cervical mucus thickens to form a plug that protects the cervix from unwanted organisms like viruses which may creep in and harm the growing baby.

cervical mucus

Furthermore, this important discharge protects sperm from the highly acidic environment of the vagina.  

2. Sperm Transport

At the most fertile period of your cycle, your cervical mucus helps move sperm from your vagina to the site of fertilization in your uterine tubes. At other less fertile points in your cycle, this cervical discharge becomes thick enough to prevent sperm entry and transport to the cervix.

3. Fertility Indicator

For many women around the world who are trying to conceive, the amount and consistency of their cervical mucous serve as a reliable indicator of the best time to conceive.

4. Lubrication

Cervical mucus lubricates your vagina. This really important function prevents irritation and pain during sex. In addition, this lubricating feature of your cervical mucus also serves to prevent vaginal infections.

What Your Cervical Mucus Says About Your Body

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s really important to understand the language of your cervical mucus.

Medical experts agree that normal cervical mucus is thin, clear, and has a mild odor that is not offensive.

As we mentioned earlier, observing the changes in your cervical mucus is a helpful tool while trying to conceive. In fact, certain medical experts argue that observing and following cervical mucus changes is about 90% accurate in predicting the most fertile periods of your cycle.

To help you understand this process better, we’ve compiled a list that explains the relationship between your cervical mucus and fertility.

Here you go:

1. Infertile Mucus

This usually happens right after a period. In most women, the infertile cervical mucus is often ‘blob-like’, thick, and dry. As a result, sperms cannot pass through the mucus to reach the cervix for conception to occur.

2. Potentially Fertile Mucus

Eventually, the infertile mucus thins out and increases in volume. At this point, sperms may pass through but it is unlikely that pregnancy would occur in the presence of potentially fertile mucus secretion.

3. Fertile Mucus

Fertile cervical mucus usually feels wet and very slippery. In most cases, the mucus is clear, cloudy/white in color. Most women also agree that fertile mucus is more abundant in volume than any of the other types of cervical mucus mentioned earlier.

4. Highly Fertile Mucus

As your body prepares for ovulation, your mucus will attain a classic ‘egg-white’ appearance. That is, it becomes thin, clear, and stretchy. As you’d expect, highly fertile mucus is thin enough for sperm to swim through.  

cervical mucus

However, it is important to remember that every woman’s body is different. Your cervical mucus differs from every other person’s. Therefore, you need to be patient and very observant while using cervical mucus as an indicator of fertility.

Abnormal Cervical Mucus

If you observe any of these features in your cervical mucus, it is a sign that something is not right:

  • Foul Smell
  • Green/Yellow/Gray Color
  • Itching
  • Irritation

If you notice any of these signs, it’s really important to consult your doctor for proper examination and treatment.

cervical mucus

How to Improve the Quality of Your Cervical Mucus

As we mentioned earlier, your cervical mucus is an indicator of the overall health of your reproductive tract and fertility status. Therefore, it is really helpful to keep an eye on the quality and quantity of your cervical discharge at every point of your cycle.

Thankfully, you can improve the quality and quantity of your cervical mucus by:

  • Regulating your caffeine consumption
  • Drinking enough water everyday

Click here to learn all you need to know about caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

Conclusion

Finally, it is important to remember that cervical mucus monitoring is not the most accurate indicator of fertility or pregnancy. Also, slight changes in your cervical mucus are normal in the early stages of pregnancy. Nevertheless, a proper pregnancy test is the best way to confirm pregnancy.

As you pay attention to the changes in your cervical mucus, understanding the significance of these variations may be all you need on your fertility journey.

References

Curlin M, Bursac D. Cervical mucus: from biochemical structure to clinical implications. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2013 Jan 1;5:507-15. doi: 10.2741/s386. PMID: 23277065

Kumar P, et al. (2012). Hormones in pregnancy. DOI:
10.4103/0300-1652.107549

MARCUS SL, MARCUS CC. CERVICAL MUCUS AND ITS RELATION TO INFERTILITY. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1963 Oct;18:749-72. doi: 10.1097/00006254-196310000-00027. PMID: 14052300.

Singleton Pregnancy: All You Need To Know

Each pregnancy is unique for every woman; from the symptoms to the duration, and even the number of growing babies. Although it is less common, it is possible to have more than one baby growing in your uterus at the same time. In this article, we’d walk you through the commoner alternative; a singleton pregnancy.  

Read on to learn more.

What’s A Singleton Pregnancy?

In plain terms, a singleton pregnancy means being pregnant with only one baby at a time. It is the direct opposite of a multiple pregnancy, which occurs when a woman is expecting more than one baby in the same pregnancy.

A woman with a singleton pregnancy

Are Singleton Pregnancies More Common?

Yes.

Medical studies show that singleton pregnancies are more common than multiple pregnancies. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association postulates that there are only about 32.6 multiples per 1,000 births per year in the United States.

This means that you’re 96.74% more likely to have a singleton pregnancy.

However, it is important to remember that any of the following factors can increase the possibility of having a multiple pregnancy:

  • Age
  • Genes
  • Fertility Treatments

Antenatal Care for Singleton Pregnancies

Proper antenatal care is an important part of pregnancy, even for singleton pregnancies.

This is a form of essential healthcare with the ultimate aim of ensuring a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery for both mother and child.

Regular antenatal clinics would help your doctor monitor your pregnancy, identify potential complications, and guide you to a healthy delivery.

A singleton pregnancy doctor with nylon gloves

During your singleton pregnancy, your antenatal care may include:

  • Routine Blood Tests: to check for anemia, HIV, blood type, genotype, hormonal fluctuations and other blood-related factors during pregnancy.
  • Blood Pressure Checks: This is very important to reduce the possibility of high blood pressure or preeclampsia during pregnancy.
  • Ultrasound Scans: to monitor your baby’s growth and heart rate
  • Weight Measurement
  • Dietary Advice

Your doctor may even recommend special breastfeeding or baby care classes that would teach you how to breastfeed and care for your little one effectively.

Postpartum Care for Singleton Pregnancies

Although most of the hype is usually about antenatal care and staying healthy in all the stages of pregnancy, postpartum care is also very important.

In most cases the postpartum period lasts for about 6 to 8 weeks, starting from the day your little one is born.

During this period, most women undergo a lot of physical and emotional changes as they learn to care for the newborn.

Proper postpartum care after a singleton pregnancy includes:

1. Proper Rest

Rest is super important for all new moms. With the right amount of rest, your body gets all it needs to return to its pre-pregnancy state. Getting enough rest also helps to keep your skin firm and healthy after pregnancy.

After a singleton pregnancy, you can get enough rest by:

  • Sleeping when your baby sleeps
  • Reducing your caffeine intake
  • Eating well
  • Receiving help from friends and family

2. Healthy Diets

A healthy diet is very important for every new mom.

In addition to providing your little one with all he/she needs for a healthy life, a healthy diet would strengthen you and help your body heal faster.

As you recover from the rigors of pregnancy, you can follow a diet that is rich in:

  • Fluids
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Protein
  • Healthy Fat

3. Proper Vaginal Care

Vaginal care is another essential part of postpartum care after a singleton pregnancy. If you’re experiencing any form of vaginal soreness, urination problems, vaginal discharge, or postpartum cramps, please visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Differences between Singleton and Multiple Pregnancies

1. A Smaller Bump

Although most moms-to-be may not notice this, one of the major differences between a singleton and twin pregnancy is the size of your baby bump.

Some experts agree that a singleton baby bump may be about 20% smaller than a multiple pregnancy belly. Thankfully, a lighter (or smaller) baby bump is less stressful for the uterus and mother.

2. Reduced Fatigue

Here’s the fact: more babies come with increased demands on your body and mind.

Although fatigue is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, women with singleton pregnancies usually don’t have to deal with as much fatigue as moms with multiples.

This may be a function of hormonal fluctuations, increased urination, and sleep interruptions during pregnancy.

To reduce the severity of fatigue during pregnancy, you can:

  • Drink less caffeine
  • Eat healthy
  • Move your bedtime earlier

3. Reduced HcG Levels

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is an important pregnancy hormone which forms the basis of pregnancy tests. In fact, home pregnancy test kits are specially designed to detect this hormone in your urine to confirm pregnancy.

If you’re trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatment, your doctor may conduct some blood tests to establish your average hCG level. After this, he/she will continue to monitor your numbers for any drastic changes.

In 2018, a research study showed that women pregnant with singletons may have lower hCG baseline levels than those pregnant with multiples.

4. Single Heartbeat

With a fetal doppler, it is possible to hear your baby’s heartbeat as early as the 8th or 9th week of pregnancy.

A singleton pregnancy due date calculator

In a multiple pregnancy, the doctor may detect a second heartbeat and schedule an ultrasound scan to get a clearer picture. However, this is not the case with a singleton pregnancy.

5. Reduced Weight Gain

Weight gain is a common concern for most moms-to-be.

A singleton pregnancy reduce weight gain

Although this difference may not become obvious till the later stages of pregnancy, women with singleton pregnancies usually don’t add as much weight as those with multiple pregnancies.

In addition to the changes listed above, studies show that women with singleton pregnancies tend to get to term and have vaginal deliveries a lot more than those with multiple pregnancies.

Conclusion

Every pregnancy, whether singleton or multiple, is an exciting and unique process. Although it comes with some changes and risks, it is important to focus on your health and seek proper antenatal care during pregnancy.

It is also essential to note that the early signs of pregnancy may not confirm whether or not you have a singleton, however, proper prenatal tests can.

If you have any concerns or worries about your pregnancy, please contact your healthcare provider.

We are always here to help you.

References

Cloudy Urine in Pregnancy

Frequent urination is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Sometimes, you may even observe different colors and consistencies of urine that were not present before you became pregnant. A typical example of this is the occurrence of cloudy urine in pregnancy.

In this article, we’d talk about the features of normal urine, different colors of urine, causes of cloudy urine during pregnancy, and how to reduce the symptoms.

What Are The Features of Normal Urine?

Normal urine is a clear, sterile, and pale-yellow fluid. It has a characteristic chemical-like smell that may be slightly offensive. Sometimes, your urine can appear to be colorless, especially if you’ve just taken large amounts of water.

How Common Is Cloudy Urine During Pregnancy?

Cloudy urine is one of the many changes that come with pregnancy. In fact, it is even more common than you may think. While expecting your little one, there’d be changes to your hormones, medication, and diet. These changes, as well as other important factors, can make your urine look cloudy.

cloudy-urine-in-pregnancy

As a result, cloudy urine is a common occurrence in pregnancy

What Causes Cloudy Urine In pregnancy?

The common causes of cloudy urine in pregnancy are:

1. Hormonal changes.

This is the primary cause of cloudy urine during pregnancy.

While expecting, your body undergoes diverse hormonal changes to support your growing baby. For example, there is an increase in the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the first trimester, which is passed out through urine. Sometimes, the increased presence of hCG can make your urine cloudy.

2. Dehydration.

Most times, pregnancy comes with nausea and vomiting. When this happens, the consistent fluid loss via vomitting can cause dehydration.

Dehydration during pregnancy will lead to dark and concentrated urine, that also appears cloudy.

3. Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Sadly, UTIs are common during pregnancy. When this happens, it can also result in cloudy urine.

During pregnancy, if you notice a marked increase in the frequency of urination, as well as a foul-smell, please consult your doctor immediately.

cloudy-urine-in-pregnancy-test

4. Excess Protein In Urine.

This condition is called proteinuria. Excess protein content in your urine can also make it look cloudy or foamy. This usually occurs in the second or third trimester.

If this excessive amount of protein in urine is accompanied by high blood pressure, it may be a sign of preeclampsia.

5. Dietary modifications.

No doubt, your diet and food cravings would change during pregnancy. You may even begin to crave meals you didn’t like before pregnancy. In some instances, these sudden and abrupt changes may cause your urine to appear cloudy.

This usually occurs if your new diet contains high amounts of phosphorous or Vitamin D. When this happens, you can just remove the foods you weren’t eating before pregnancy and watch out to see if that’s the actual cause.

6. Vaginal discharge.

Vaginal discharge is not strange during pregnancy. However, excess discharge can also cause cloudy urine.

cloudy-urine-in-pregnancy-vaginal-discharge

If you experience this symptom, please consult your doctor.

7. Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus causes an abnormal increase in blood sugar level. When this sugar moves into the urine, it can also cause it (your urine) to appear cloudy. In addition, diabetes mellitus may also cause urine to have a sweet or fruity smell.

Different Colors of Urine

As we mentioned earlier, normal urine should be clear, sterile, and pale-yellow. However, several factors can alter the color of your urine.

In this section, we’ve compiled some common urine colors and the possible causes:

  • Red or pink colored urine: This is usually due to the presence of blood in the urine and can be a symptom for a serious health condition. In other instances, red-colored urine may result from dietary modifications, like increased consumption of beets or blackberries.
  • Brown or dark orange urine. This is not a good sign at all. Brown or dark orange urine indicates that there is excessive secretion of bile, which could be a symptom of a serious liver problem.
  • Blue or green urine: Using certain drugs can make your urine appear bluish-green. However, if you are not on any medication and your urine looks this way, you should see a doctor.

How To Manage Cloudy Urine In Pregnancy

Treatment options for cloudy urine during pregnancy depend on the underlying cause. Some home therapies may help you alleviate some symptoms. In other cases, you may need to see your doctor.

how-to-manage-cloudy-urine-in-pregnancy.

Here are some simple home therapies to relieve cloudy urine in pregnancy:

1. Drink Water

Water is really important in pregnancy. In addition to keeping you refreshed always, water also flushes out toxins and makes your urine look less cloudy.

Furthermore, studies show that pregnant women need to drink about 10 cups of water daily to prevent dehydration.

2. Take Some Cranberry Juice

This juice contains a lot of phytonutrients which are helpful in relieving the symptoms of UTI, kidney stones, and other underlying conditions that may cause cloudy urine.

3. Don’t self-medicate

Self-medication may be the cause of cloudy urine during pregnancy.

Here’s the fact: It is wrong to self-medicate during pregnancy. In fact, it is advisable to receive prescriptions from only your attending physician in this period.

4. Use hot/warm compresses.

Sometimes, cloudy urine comes with abdominal pain. When this happens, you can relieve the pain by applying hot or warm compresses.

5. Reduce your salt and sugar intake

Meals with high sugar content may increase your risk for developing diabetes and, by extension, cloudy urine. Also, salty meals predispose you to kidney problems. Therefore, reducing your salt and sugar intake would reduce the symptoms of cloudy urine.

Conclusion

It is always good to consult your doctor if you notice any change in your body function during pregnancy. Although cloudy urine is not strange, you should keep an eye out for any drastic changes and report it to your doctor immediately.

References

Joanna Matuszkiewicz-Rowińska, Jolanta Małyszko, and Monika Wieliczko (2015). Urinary tract infections in pregnancy: old and new unresolved diagnostic and therapeutic problems. Archives of Medical Science. Accessed on 27th June, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4379362/#__ffn_sectitle