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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 persary 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

Symptoms Of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

Do you know that three in four women will have a yeast infection at least once in their lives? In fact, susceptibility to this infection increases during pregnancy.

For most expectant mums, this period is marked by gladness and preparation. However, the increased risk and susceptibility to certain infections can make this wait quite delicate.

How will you know if you have a yeast infection?

In this article, you’d find the symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy, possible causes and how to prevent it.

First, What Is A Yeast Infection?

Yeast is a type of fungus. Yeast infections are also known as candidiasis. Vulvovaginal candidiasis, (or moniliasis), is a yeast infection that affects the vagina and vulva.

These infections are caused by a kind of yeast known as Candida albicans. However, other types of yeast, including Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis, can also cause yeast infections.

Yeast infections are common in pregnant women due to increased estrogen levels. This increase causes an imbalance between the yeast and bacteria population in the vagina.

Most times, this imbalance results in an overgrowth of yeast. Although they are usually unpleasant, yeast infections don’t harm your baby.

What Causes a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?

Yeast infection during pregnancy results from a number of factors. Some of them include:

  • Vaginal pH Variations: During pregnancy, the hormone levels change the pH (acidity/alkalinity) balance in the vagina. As a result of this, the vagina environment becomes more favourable for yeast growth.
  • Underlying health problems which aren’t properly managed e.g. diabetes, HIV.
  • Medications such as antibiotics may upset the yeast composition of the vagina, leading to a yeast infection.
  • Yeast infection can also be transferred to you from your sexual partner during sexual intercourse.

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

When you have a yeast infection during pregnancy, you may notice any of these:

  • Itchy Vagina: When you have to scratch your vagina consistently, watch it, it may be a yeast infection.
  • Pain or soreness in the vagina or vulva.
  • Burning Sensation: A burning sensation in your genital (especially when you urinate), may be because of a yeast infection.
  • Vaginal Discharge. The presence of a yeast infection may cause you to have a thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge.
  • Rash on the vagina and the skin around it. This rash may extend to the thigh sometimes.
  • Swelling or redness in the area outside your vagina.
vaginal discharge

How to Prevent A Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

  • Keep your vaginal area dry by wearing a cotton underwear and a pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
  • Avoid tight pants and underwear.
  • Always clean your vagina after each visit to the toilet. Remember to wipe from front to back to prevent passage of infection into the vagina.
  • Don’t wear a wet swimsuit for long. This helps to keep the genital area dry.
  • Avoid scented sanitary pads, tissue paper, bubble bath, and feminine hygiene sprays.
  • Avoid douching. Douching can upset your vagina and even cause your water to break in late pregnancy.
  • If you have diabetes, watch your sugar level and keep it under control.
Side Effect

Conclusion

Yeast infections can make pregnancy really stressful. Nevertheless, you don’t need to worry, because it doesn’t harm you or your baby. Although, it can be transferred to your baby at birth.

Avoid self-medication during pregnancy. See your doctor and use only prescribed drugs.

REFRENECES

Toilet Infections In Pregnancy

Itching…? Smelly vagina…? Nasty discharge…?  Yikes. Unfortunately, women have to deal with a variety of toilet infections occasionally. However, some expectant mothers wonder if they can still get an infection even while pregnant.

We would love to tell you that the answer to that question is no.

Sadly, you can get toilet infections even in pregnancy.

What are the most common infections in pregnancy? What are their symptoms? How do you treat them? How can you protect yourself?

Read on to find out!

Common Toilet Infections In Pregnancy

1) Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

The vagina has its own bacteria that lives in it naturally.

Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when these bacteria begin to overgrow and multiply more than normal. Sadly, the hormonal changes in pregnancy can influence this overgrowth.

This condition needs to be managed properly to avoid future complications that may affect fertility. In pregnant women, untreated bacterial vaginosis can cause preterm labour, premature birth and low birth weight babies.

Symptoms

  • Large amount of thin, grayish-white discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Irritation/ Itching/ Pain in the vagina or vulva
  • Fishy vaginal odor that gets worse after sex

Treatment

If you are pregnant, your doctor would be in the best place to recommend an antibiotic treatment for you.

Furthermore, if you are still early on in your pregnancy, he/she may advice you to wait till second semester before starting treatment.

Prevention

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of you getting an infection;

  • Choose comfortable cotton underwear that will allow your vagina to breath and reduce your risk of infection.
  • Skip the underwear at night to allow your vagina more room to breath.
  • Avoid sitting in wet bathing suits or sweaty panties after swimming or working out. Not only are they uncomfortable, they also make your vagina a perfect bacteria breeding zone.
  • Wipe front to back and never back to front after using the toilet. This prevents you spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina.
  • Limit your use of bath oils because they can trap bacteria.

2) Yeast Infection

This is also caused by an overgrowth of a fungus that naturally lives in the vagina.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy creates a suitable environment for the fungus to thrive.

Anything which changes the natural pH (degree of acidity/alkalinity) of the vagina can cause a yeast infection, like taking some antibiotics or having sexual intercourse. 

Symptoms

  • Painful itching around the vagina or vulva
  • Pain or burning in or around the vagina
  • Red and swollen vagina
  • Thick, whitish-yellow, cottage cheese-like discharge
  • An vaginal odor similar to that of bread or beer
  • Painful or burning during sex
  • Painful urination

Treatment

Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter antifungal medicine. However, pregnant women need to consult with their doctor or midwife before using these medications.

Prevention

  • Wear comfortable cotton underwear.
  • Sleep without underwear as often as possible
  • Drink enough water; at least 8 glasses per day.
  • Do not hold your pee. Frequent urination helps eliminate bacteria that can cause infection.
  • Reduce the amount of refined sugars you consume.
  • Enrich your diet with more yogurt. Yogurt has been proven to enhance digestion and decrease the risk of vaginal infections.

3. Group B Streptococcal Infection (GBS)

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that is commonly found in the body, especially in the vagina and rectum (a part of the intestines).

They are usually harmless and cause no symptoms, except in women with chronic conditions like diabetes or liver disease.

However, caution needs to be taken if you are pregnant as it can be transferred from mother to child. When this happens, GBS could prove harmful and even fatal in a newborn.

Symptoms

This infection may have no symptoms at all, or may be expressed as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in some people.

Common symptoms of a UTI include;

  • Painful urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Sudden impulse to urinate.

Treatment

Pregnant women are usually tested for GBS in their last trimester (36 to 37 weeks).

If you test positive, your doctor will administer IV antibiotics during childbirth to prevent you from passing the infection to your baby.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no known way of preventing GBS.

However, administration of antibiotics during labour has been shown to reduce the risk of mother-child transmission.

4) Trichomoniasis

This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Thankfully, it is also one of the most curable.

Although it is transmitted mainly through sex, it can also be gotten from damp or moist towels, clothing or toilet seat that get in contact with the genital area.

Recent research has shown that it can be gotten even from swimming pools!

Symptoms

  • Greenish-yellow discharge
  • Foamy, foul-smelling discharge
  • Itching and burning vagina
  • Pain or irritation during sex

Treatment of Toilet Infections

Your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics to deal with this infection. In addition, it is important to avoid over-the-counter drugs.

Prevention

  • Practice safe sex
  • Maintain good toilet hygiene
  • Avoid sharing towels, under wears or other personal items.
  • Frequent testing of you and your partner

How Will These Infections Affect My Baby?

A lot of maternal infections can affect a growing baby in three ways;

  1. Infections may harm or weaken the mother, making it more difficult for her body to nurture and nourish her child. Also, drugs used in treatment may prove harmful to the baby.
  2. These infections could not only harm the mother but also directly affect the baby. In severe cases, it can lead to some birth abnormalities.
  3. Maternal infections can lead to premature labour or a miscarriage.

Therefore, following all the preventive measures above would reduce the risk of you getting an infection or transmitting it to your baby.

In Conclusion,

Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, and increased vaginal discharge is one of them.

Although this is normal, sometimes it can be a sign of a toilet infection during pregnancy. If this happens to you, do not be scared.

Most women who get an infection during pregnancy do not have any serious complications.  They are easy to treat once diagnosed. To sum it up, if you experience any unusual symptoms while pregnant, speak to your doctor or midwife.

References

Cervical Cerclage

It’s another day and you catch yourself looking at the calendar again, counting down the few weeks left to meet your little bundle of joy. Although this pregnancy is just 7 months old, you still worry if it would be like the others; perhaps this one would also arrive too early.
Hopefully, it would be different this time. Especially when you remember all the precautionary measures you have put in place.
These measures are based on medical advice from your last antenatal clinic appointment. Actually, the doctor suggested a cervical cerclage.

From that moment, although the doctor did her best to explain, you still wonder if it would be enough to save your child.

What Is a Cervical Cerclage?

Cervical cerclage refers to a couple of procedures done to keep your cervix closed before delivery.
It is also called a “cervical stitch”.

The cervix is the funnel-shaped lower part of your womb. It opens during childbirth to allow your baby free passage out of the womb and into the world. However, opening of the cervix too early could lead to premature labour. Therefore, a cervical cerclage is done to help support the cervix during pregnancy, keeping it closed until childbirth or at least baby is mature enough to thrive outside the womb.

Source: Shutterstock

Why Is It Done?

The cervix is closed, long and firm in the absence of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it gradually softens, shortens and expands as your body prepares to ease your baby into the world.
In some cases, the cervix begins to efface (stretch and thin out) and open too early. This usually occurs in women with a short or weak cervix. It can lead to premature childbirth or in some severe cases, a miscarriage.

Cerclage
Shutterstock/ Medical Art

You may need a cervical cerclage if :

  • You have a short or weak cervix that starts to open in the second trimester (before 24 weeks of pregnancy).
  • There’s a history of miscarriage with painless dilation of the cervix in the second trimester.
  • You had a cervical cerclage in your previous pregnancy.
  • The previous pregnancy ended in a preterm delivery (before 34 weeks of pregnancy).

This procedure is usually done between 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. However, a doctor may recommend a cervical cerclage as late as the 24th week. Anything after this would be too risky.

A cervical cerclage cannot always be recommended as a quick fix for everyone at risk of premature delivery.

It is discouraged in cases where active vaginal bleeding, preterm labor, and an intrauterine infection are present. Your doctor is also less likely to recommend this procedure if you are pregnant with twins or more.

How Effective Is Cervical Cerclage?

Research suggests that a cervical cerclage helps reduce the risk of a premature delivery. However, this is greatly affected by some factors such as the timing and degree of cervical change before the cerclage.

What To Expect

  • Before The Procedure; An ultrasound image of your womb would be taken to check the health of your baby. Also, a swab of your cervical mucus may also be taken to rule out any infections.
An ultrasound scan should be done before and after a cervical cerclage
  • During the Procedure; A cervical cerclage is usually done through the vagina (transvaginal) or less commonly, through the belly (transabdominal). You would be given medicine to numb the pain before the doctor begins. This could be a pain-numbing injection in your back (such as an epidural) or something to sedate you. You may also fall asleep depending on what kind of medicine is given.
  • After The Procedure; You may experience some symptoms immediately after the procedure such as;
    • Mild Spotting
    • Mild Cramping
    • Increased Vaginal Discharge (colourless and odourless)

Spotting cramping and vaginal discharge after a cerclage all normal. If you notice any increase, please inform your doctor. Avoid any unnecessary physical activity for about 2-3 days after the procedure and just give yourself time to relax. Sometimes you may be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse as well.

  • Before Delivery; Your cervical cerclage stitches have to be removed before childbirth as the cervix is the only non-surgical passageway for your baby. Your doctor would recommend this when childbirth is around the corner, usually around 37 weeks of pregnancy. It might be required sooner if you go into labor.

Your stiches may be left in before childbirth if you are having a C-section, . You may also decide to keep it in for a longer period, but this should be discussed with your doctor as it may make it difficult for you to get pregnant.

Listen to your body..

In the end, the goal is for you to have a safe delivery and give birth to a healthy child. Therefore, it is essential to inform your doctor on time of any changes you may notice, seek and heed their medical advice as regards your pregnancy, to the ultimate benefit of you and your baby.

References
  • Zarei, M., Zahedifard, T., & Nori, R. (2018). Successful treatment with home care during the second half of a twin pregnancy complicated by a short cervix: A case report. Biomedical Research and Therapy, 5(02), 2045-2049. https://doi.org/10.15419/bmrat.v5i02.419.
  • Nivin Todd 2020, Cervical Cerclage and Your Pregnancy; What You Need to Know, WebMD, Viewed on June 3, 2020,

Managing Excessive Sweating During Pregnancy

Are you a new mom? Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to find your clothes and bed sheets completely soaked with sweat?

You overcame fatigue during pregnancy and swollen feet from water retention now this. Are you wondering why you have to deal with postpartum sweating along with a host of other unpleasant postpartum symptoms? How do you deal with night sweats and when should you call your doctor?

Read on to find out!

Postpartum Recovery: What is Happening to Your Body?

Even if you are a seasoned pro, you might find yourself asking this question in the weeks after you give birth to your baby.

Although a lot of changes occur during pregnancy, many women expect that things will go back to normal immediately after childbirth. Well, we are sorry to inform you dear mama that that is not always the case.

Even as you try to adjust to the life of a new mom, your body still has a lot of things going on. Therefore, you should expect to deal with a number of uncomfortable physical and emotional changes like:

  • vaginal soreness and discharge
  • occasional painful contraction of your womb
  • leaking urine from time to time
  • digestive problems
  • breast soreness, engorgement and discharge
  • hair and skin changes
  • mood shifts and depression
  • struggling to loose weight

In addition to all this unpleasantness, night sweating is also another thing that new mothers complain about in the few weeks after childbirth.

Why are You Sweating at Night?

Your body will gradually try to return to it’s pre-pregnancy state after you give birth. During pregnancy, there were a lot of changes to your hormone and fluid levels. Therefore, your body will try to adjust to new hormone levels after pregnancy.

In addition to this, it’d also try to get rid of all the excess fluids that sustained your body & baby while you were pregnant. Therefore, it’s normal to experience excess sweating in the days and nights after you give birth. Asides sweating, you may also notice that you urinate more often. This is another way your body tries to get rid of all that extra fluid.

At times, sweating at night may also be due to other reasons. You may find yourself waking up all warm and sweaty simply because your room is too warm or your blankets are too thick. Excessive night sweats can also be a side effect of some medications.

On the other hand, your night sweats can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue like anxiety, hyperthyroidism, obstructive sleep apnea, tuberculosis or menopause.

How Long Will The Sweating Last?

You should expect to experience night sweating in the few days and weeks after childbirth. It is usually no cause for concern. However, if your sweating lasts for too long, please contact your doctor.

What You Can Do:

Waking up warm and sweaty may be very uncomfortable. However, it is comforting to know that this unpleasant postpartum symptom will not last forever. Your hormones and fluids should regulate on their own in due time and the excess sweating should stop.

Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you feel better when your night sweats are at their worst:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Sweating so much can leave you dehydrated. Your body needs all the fluids it can get now, especially if you are breastfeeding. Pay attention to the colour of your urine; if it is dark or yellow, you need to drink more water.
  2. Change Your Nightwear: You need comfortable pyjamas. Go for one that is loose, light and made from cotton and other natural fibers. This will provide room for your body to breath and bring the sweating down a notch.
  3. Cool Down Your Room: You are bound to wake up sweaty if your room is too warm. So open your windows and put on a fan. You can also try an using an air conditioner to keep your room cool at night.
  4. Use Powder: Sweating a lot can make you prone to heat rashes and other skin issues. Try using some talcum-free powder on your body just before you go to bed. This will help prevent rashes from forming.
  5. Wipe Yourself Down : Try a warm bath before bed or wiping yourself down with a wet face towel. This is can be refreshing and help you cool down.

When to See Your Doctor

You should contact your doctor if your night sweating lasts for several weeks after delivery.

Pregnancy signs

Also inform your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms below:

  • fever over 38oC
  • unusual or smelly vaginal discharge
  • heavy bleeding that may contains large clots ( lumps of curdled blood) for more than 3days after delivery
  • pain or burning while urinating
  • pain, redness, or drainage at stitch or incision sites
  • warm, reddened breasts
  • severe abdominal cramping
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • feeling depressed or anxious
  • excessive weight-loss ( over 10%) despite a healthy appetite
  • cough lasting over 3 weeks

The Takeaway

As you try to adjust to your life as a new mom, you may have to deal with a lot of unpleasant changes.

We understand that having to wake up at night to feed, change, and soothe your baby is not easy. Not to talk of when you have to do it while you are all hot and sweaty. Good news it, this will not last forever.

Your body will be back to normal soon and then you can say goodbye to sweaty nights. Till then, you may have to keep your fan close and your air-conditioner, a little closer.

Are you having

How can I know when I am ovulating?

Ovulation involves the release of an egg from the female ovary in preparation for fertilisation and pregnancy.

Do I hear you say why should I care?

Source: Giphy

For women trying to get pregnant, knowing when you ovulate is quite important in determining the fertile window (that is, the period where intercourse is likeliest to lead to pregnancy).

The sperm can live up to five days in the female reproductive system, so having sex within this window greatly increases the chance of pregnancy.

eggs and sperm illustratedusing noodles and sunny side up eggs
sperm fertilise female eggs for conception

When does ovulation occur?

In a regular, 28-day circle, ovulation usually takes place around day 14. However, most women’s menstrual cycle are not usually this regular. In this setting, ovulation usually takes place within four days before or after the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.

How would I know I am ovulating?

Basal body temperature: The body temperature slightly increases after ovulation. By getting a thermometer specifically made for that purpose, track your body temperature over a period of time till a pattern emerges. Having observed this pattern, you can have sex just before you are expecting a rise in your temperature.

Change in cervical mucus: Before ovulation, you might observe that the cervical mucus becomes clearer (some people say it looks like egg whites), slippery and quite stretchy. This will be observed as a vaginal discharge

eggs and sperm illustratedusing noodles and sunny side up eggs
cervical mucous chages to an egg white consistency

Progesterone ovulation tests: These test strips check for progesterone metabolites levels in the urine. The level of these metabolites usually increases after ovulation, so studying your body and timing sex before a rise in progesterone levels help increase the chance of pregnancy.

Ovulation predictor kits: The levels of Luteinising hormone (LH) usually increase during ovulation, so these test kits give you a fairly accurate idea of your fertile window. By monitoring the levels of LH throughout your menstrual cycle, you would be able to determine your fertile window.

Conclusion

None of these methods are 100% reliable.

It is very important that you are patient with yourself and your body while you are trying to conceive. Please, also carry your doctor along in any steps you may be taking to get pregnant.

References

WebMD; 28/7/2020; https://www.webmd.com/baby/am-i-ovulating#1

Rachel Gurevich; 28/7/2020; https://www.verywellfamily.com/signs-of-ovulation-1960281

10 Reasons Why You Should Take A Pregnancy Test

Cynthia was too busy to be pregnant.

In fact, she just couldn’t be. It didn’t matter that she had missed her last period or she’d started to doze during those long, boring meetings at the office.

Some women get headaches with chills when they are pregnant

All that matters is that she just couldn’t be pregnant.

Or Could She?

You can't tell if you are pregnant for sure till you have a pregnancy test done
Source: GIPHY

Many women consider a missed period and/or morning sickness to be the hallmark of being pregnant.

However, there are other signs to look out for.

In this article, we’ve compiled 10 of these ‘other signs’ for you. They should prompt you to consider doing a pregnancy test.

1. FATIGUE

Most women tend to get tired faster during the early stages of pregnancy.

This is caused by increased production of a certain hormone called Progesterone. In addition, pregnancy causes the heart to work harder as it pumps more blood to send necessary nutrients to the growing baby.

2. MOOD SWINGS

pregnancy can make you irritable but there's no way of telling till you take a pregnancy test
Source: Giphy

Pregnancy comes with a lot of hormonal changes.

Sometimes, these hormones affect your mood. Most pregnant women claim to have started experiencing sudden mood swings as early as the first week of pregnancy.

3. WEIRD FOOD CRAVINGS

Many husbands dread this part.

Sudden food cravings are quite common throughout pregnancy
Image: Shutterstock

Sudden food cravings are quite common throughout pregnancy. In some cases, it is even difficult to eat a meal that you craved for just minutes ago. Certain food cravings can even last all through the period of pregnancy.

4. TENDER/SWOLLEN BREASTS

This symptom can arise as early as the second week of pregnancy.

early pregnancy may come with tender breasts

The hormonal changes during this period can make the breasts sore, swollen or even ticklish. In many women, the breasts feel heavier or fuller.

5. Headaches

Of course, no one likes this.

Once again, the hormones released during pregnancy can result in periodic but annoying headaches.

6. Slight Bleeding

This is different from the usual menstrual bleeding. In this case, the blood is slightly lighter in colour than menstrual blood.

The slight bleeding that occurs in the early stage of pregnancy is called Implantation Bleeding; this happens when the developing baby safely attaches to the walls of the womb.

7. Frequent Urination

Has the need to pee suddenly tripled?

You probably need to conduct a pregnancy test. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the pressure to urinate increases drastically. This is caused the action of a pregnancy hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HcG).

8. Morning Sickness

Nausea or Morning Sickness usually begins in the 2nd or 3rd week of being pregnant. It is also important to note that this feeling of nausea or irritation can be experienced at any time of the day.

9. CRAMPS

Again, the hormones are responsible.

Rapid hormonal changes in the first few weeks of being pregnant sometimes result in mild cramps. Although they are not as intense, women often write them off as the regular menstrual cramps.

10. VAGINAL DISCHARGE

During pregnancy, there are noticeable changes to this normal process.

Some women begin to notice an increase in the volume of vaginal discharge as soon as they get pregnant. Most times, this discharge is clear or milky white.

Eventually,

Cynthia bought a regular home test kit from a nearby pharmacy. Within minutes, she confirmed that she and her long-term partner were indeed expecting a baby!

Although these symptoms are closely associated with early pregnancy, they can also mean something else. In some cases, they may result from stress, medication change or lifestyle modifications.

If you really think you’re pregnant, the smartest option is to actually conduct a Pregnancy Test

REFERENCES

10 Reasons Why You May Experience Periods While Pregnant

Most women celebrate the news of a positive pregnancy test for many reasons, one of which is a much-needed break from monthly menstrual periods. During a menstrual period, the womb sheds off the extra lining it has built up in case of pregnancy.

Source: Shutterstock

Although a woman may experience uterine bleeding during pregnancy, it is not due to a period. It is not possible to have a true menstrual period during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes which prevent you from menstruating.

In addition, it is also impossible for your womb to shed its entire lining while maintaining a pregnancy. However, it is possible to have menstrual-like bleeding for a variety of reasons during pregnancy.

Some of these reasons include;

  • Implantation or Decidual Bleeding

Women who complain about having periods during pregnancy are simply experiencing Decidual Bleeding, in which a small part of the uterine lining might shed for the first few months of pregnancy.

Period like bleeding in early pregnancy can also be caused by a phenomenon called implantation bleeding, which is spotting that can occur in the first month of pregnancy. It usually occurs around the time of the first ‘missed’ menstrual period.

  • Changes in the cervix

The hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause alterations in the cervix, making it softer and more prone to bleeding. In addition, a harmless overgrowth of tissue may form in the cervix.

In both cases, spotting or light bleeding may be occur after sexual intercourse or a pelvic examination.

  • Vaginal Infection

A vaginal infection may cause spontaneous vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. The bleeding may be accompanied by an abnormal vaginal discharge

Vaginal Infections May Sometimes Occur During Pregnancy
Source: Shutterstock
  • Sexual intercourse

Most women continue to have sexual relations while pregnant, unless a doctor advises otherwise.

In some cases, certain women may experience light spotting or bleeding due to increased sensitivity of the vaginal and cervical tissues.

  • Molar pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is an abnormality of fertilization which causes an abnormal tissue to grow within the uterus.

This is not a typical pregnancy, but the growth within the uterus leads to the typical symptoms of early pregnancy.

A molar pregnancy cannot result in a normal fetus or delivery, however, vaginal spotting or bleeding can be a symptom of molar pregnancy.

Source: Shutterstock

Other Causes Are;

  • Ectopic pregnancy

Mild vaginal bleeding and increasing tummy pain may indicate the presence of an ectopic pregnancy. This condition arises when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.

Sometimes, an ectopic pregnancy may be located in the uterine tube. As the pregnancy grows and the tube stretches, the tummy pain becomes increasingly severe. Sometimes these pregnancies rupture the uterine tube, leading to significant blood loss. Sometimes the amount of visible blood lost bellies the actual amount you are loosing in your tummy.

Source: Shutterstock
  • Subchorionic hemorrhage

In this condition, blood accumulates between the wall of the womb and the sac of fluid encasing your baby. Normally, the body frequently reabsorbs these blood clots, however, dark blood or small clots may be discharged from the vagina.

  • Cervical examination

A doctor may inspect your cervix to check for any abnormalities. This procedure can result in some minor bleeding during pregnancy.

  • Uterine rupture

This is a medical emergency that occurs when the womb tears during labour. This condition is likely to occur in women who have previously had a cesarean delivery or surgery on the womb.

  • Placental abruption

In this instance, the placenta starts to separate from the uterus (womb) before the baby is delivered. It is also a serious medical emergency and the baby’s life is at risk.

What’s The Next Step?

If you experience any form of bleeding during pregnancy, it is advisable to note the colour (is it bright red or brown ?), amount (how many pads did it soak up?) and consistency ( were there clups or bits of tissue in it?). This info is important when you speak with the doctor during antenatal clinics. It will give the doctor a clue as to the source and severity of the bleeding.

Bleeding during pregnancy does not mean that you are experiencing a menstrual period. In addition, heavy bleeding may indicate a health issue that requires medical attention. Whenever bleeding during pregnancy is observed, it should always be reported to a doctor in order to rule out miscarriage and other complications. Learn about bleeding after delivery.

References
  • Nall, R. (2018). Can you have a period while pregnant? Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322598
  • Danielsson, R. (2020). Potential Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy. Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/is-it-possible-to-have-a-period-during-pregnancy-2371251
  • Blocker, W. (2019). Bleeding During Pregnancy (First, Second, and Third Trimester). Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy_bleeding_during_the_first_trimester/article.htm#what_should_you_know_about_bleeding_during_pregnancy
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Signs Of Pregnancy

For women who are actively trying to get pregnant, one question on their minds is “How do I know I am pregnant?”. While a pregnancy test is the only surefire way of knowing you are pregnant, there may be some early signs pointing to the possibility of a pregnancy.

However, it is equally important to note:

  • The presence of these symptoms does not mean that there is a pregnancy, and
  • The absence of these symptoms does not mean that there is no pregnancy.

What are the signs of pregnancy?

Implantation bleeding/spotting: After fertilisation, the fertilized egg moves from the fallopian tube to the uterus. Implantation of the baby in the womb may cause slight bleeding (or commonly called spotting) and this occurs 10 to 12 days after fertilisation. Although this is commonly confused with menstrual bleeding, it is actually seen a few days after ovulation and before normal menstrual flow. In addition, it is also far smaller than the normal flow of blood.

Cramps: Due to the rapid change in hormone levels, some women may also notice cramps. Although these cramps are also mistaken for menstrual cramps, its usually not as intense. 

Vaginal discharge: Some women may also have thick milky white/clear discharge. You might also see changes in the cervical mucus as the pregnancy matures.

Tenderness of the breasts: Progesterone, “the pregnancy hormone”, rapidly rises after implantation. This hormone causes the body to start getting ready for the baby. A major part is the production of breast milk via an increase/maturation in breast lobules/size.

Nausea a.k.a morning sickness: According to Nollywood movies, this is the most distinct sign of pregnancy. While it is not so dramatic, early morning sickness is a pretty distinct sign of pregnancy. However, this mostly occurs in the later stages of pregnancy and by the time it is significant enough, you would have had a positive pregnancy test.

The pregnancy strip remains the gold standard. Source:netdoctor.co.uk

Finally….

In all, the surest way to know you are pregnant is through an urine or blood pregnancy test. As stated earlier, these are not sure-fire pointers to pregnancy. In combination, however, they paint a pretty good picture of your pregnancy status.

Therefore, if you really think you’re pregnant, the best option is to take a pregnancy test.

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