Jeddah Blog

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15 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy


Please join me in welcoming our newest guest writer to Jeddah Blog, Dr. Saba Aslam Epthorp. Dr Saba is a gynaecologist from Delhi, North India and has worked at Al Abeer medical centre as a specialist from 2007-2012. She has a number of versatile interests which we will persuade her to discuss with us at some point in the future, but for now she has very kindly agreed to share her tips and information on pregnancy – a must read for all expectant mums (and dads), especially for first-time parents-to-be.

pregnancy-test

To experience pregnancy is every woman’s dream come true. Some conceive naturally and others through lots of treatment and struggle.

On a visit to the doctor during pregnancy, a couple may harbour many questions, such as whether it will be a normal delivery or whether it will be a C- section. One of the most common questions patients ask me is whether they can know the sex of the baby.

Well my dear ladies, the whole process of pregnancy is much more than knowing the gender of the baby or what kind of delivery you will have. You have a full 38 weeks to carry this pregnancy, in other words it is a 9 month process. No doctor in the world can tell you on your first visit whether it will be a girl or boy, or whether you will deliver normally, or otherwise. Especially if it is your first baby, keep in mind that each course of pregnancy is different. Even if your first child was delivered normally, the second is not guaranteed to also be a normal delivery. It all depends on a variety of factors.

Baby feet

THINGS TO REMEMBER ON YOUR FIRST VISIT

1) Confirm your pregnancy with a blood test if you have missed your periods for over 5 weeks. Always tell your doctor about your last menstrual date (if you remember).

2) If the test shows up negative you should still wait for ten days and do not take any medicines to start your periods, because sometimes, even if it is negative, you still could be pregnant.

3)  Likewise, if the home urine pregnancy test shows up as positive, that also does not confirm that you are pregnant.

4) Always confirm with a Serum Pregnancy Test which will show beta hCG hormones which are produced in large quantities in the blood during pregnancy. Non-pregnant levels are too low to show up in the test, so if this hormone level has increased and you have missed your periods, it confirms that you are pregnant.

5) Once it is confirmed that you are pregnant ladies, the next step is that you have to get your blood work done. This means that you need to get your Complete Blood Count, Routine Urine Test, Blood Group and Rh type. And you will need your screening for HIV, HbsAg, HCV and Random Blood Sugar Test.

6) All patients ask me why they must undergo these tests. Well dear ladies, it is for your own good and for the baby. When the doctor asks you for these tests, she is assessing your baseline which in medical terms we call pre-pregnancy blood work. Pregnancy brings about lots of changes in a woman, other than weight gain. For example, the heart changes, kidney function changes, blood volume , Haemoglobin, protein and liver. In non-medical language ladies, your entire body changes with the growing fetus.

7) Therefore always listen to your doctor when he/she asks you to get your investigation done. It for your own good and for baby. Regarding HIV/ HCV/ HBsAg,  it is a must-do test, which is made mandatory by the American Society and Royal Obstetrics Societies and WHO as HIV is a silent and dangerous disease which affects the baby too. If not detected during the screening in early pregnancy, and discovered only later in pregnancy then not only you but even the unborn baby is at high risk. You doctor will ask you to get yourself screened as there are ways to prevent transmission from mother to baby.

The next question I am asked by patients is why the blood group test is required. Blood group type and Rh is important in order to know your haemoglobin levels. Rh type decides whether you are A+ OR B+ OR AB+. In the event of any bleeding or complications during pregnancy, the doctor should be able to inform the blood bank in the hospital to keep your blood type ready in case you need a transfusion. Please note that this test is done only once. You don’t need to repeat it for each pregnancy.

8) HIV HCV and HBsAG is done every two years. Not more frequently than that.

9) Always be cooperative with your visiting doctor when you are asked to be examined for your blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature and weight. All this is important for your doctor to have your baseline. When you visit next, she will know how well your pregnancy is advancing.

10) Now coming to how often you should visit the doctor. It all depends on whether you are experiencing any symptoms of vomiting, abdomen pain, cramping or spotting etc. The warning signs will ascertain when you have to return for a follow-up.

11) According to the WHO and ACOG a woman must be registered. This means that you must go to the hospital and register yourself with your doctor. You must then complete at least three visits in the first three months, at least two visits in your second trimester and two in your last trimester.

In simple terms, make sure to visit your doctor every month in your first three months. Once you reach your fourth month, you have to visit twice; once in your fifth month and then in your sixth month.

12) Each visit you have to bring your previous visit reports and scan reports. The first scan is very important as it will give a clear idea of how old your baby is, and to check for any signs of any abnormality. So NEVER ignore your first scan. Even if the doctor has not specified it, as a patient you can ask your doctor to refer you for an early pregnancy scan if you are over seven weeks due.

13) Please take your medicines prescribed by your attending doctor. Do not ignore them. Apart from folic acid 5mg after food, you can take any other supplements, but avoid any other paracetamol or antibiotics as it does affect the growth of the baby.

14) If you have sadly had an early abortion in the past, or your baby had been born dead, or the baby died after giving birth, or even died after 4 years, you must tell your doctor. Giving all of your history to your doctor is absolutely vital as she will be better equipped to take care of you and your baby in this pregnancy. She will be able to advise you about precautions or don’ts in this pregnancy.

15) The most important thing is to trust your doctor because during the 9 month period it is important for us to develop a healthy relationship with the patient. In case you feel you cannot trust your doctor, then go ahead and change her.

I always tell my patients that if they think I’m not doing my job as a doctor then they can visit someone else. Since the role of the doctor is to take care of not only the mother but the growing baby too, if you cannot trust her advice and opinion then change the doctor. Of utmost importance is the health of you and your baby.

newborn-mother-hand-pa1

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS/ WARNING SIGNS TO VISIT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY

If you get any of the following signs or symptoms in first three months go visit your doctor immediately, irrespective of time and day. Do not delay.

1. Pain Abdomen; cramps, or backache.

2. Vomiting more than 3 times in a day.

3. Spotting/ Brownish red color discharge/ single episode of fresh bleeding.

4. Severe nausea, loss of appetite, severe gastritis or acid reflux.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms from 4-6 months of pregnancy

1. Any fresh bleeding or lower abdomen pain

2. Hardening of your abdomen. Very frequent or any watery discharge or fresh water.

3. Fetal movement less than 10 times a day, ie you haven’t felt your baby move at least 10 times in a day.

Symptoms which warrant a visit to the doctor in the last three months, during which you must visit the doctor every fortnight

1. Keep a watch on any watery fluid being discharged.

2. Fresh bleeding.

3. Severe cramps at regular intervals accompanied by bleeding.

If you have any questions that have not been covered by Dr. Saba in this blog post, leave a comment at the end of this post and we will pass them on to her. Good luck – we wish you all bouncing, healthy babies!

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8 thoughts on “15 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

  1. Hussaini on said:

    Assalamualaikum dr saba
    I am pregnant and this is my first pregnancy
    I had bleeding at around 7weeks for few hours and so was advised for duphaston tablet and proluteninjectoon
    Now i am 22 weeks pregnant and Alhamdulillah doc says that now i am normal and no need for duphaston
    Only iron and calcium supplements are being given

    But my major concern is, unlike in my native country india, my doc here in jeddah didnt advice for both nt scan and tiffa scan
    I am v much worried

    Can i get these scans done in jeddah and if yes, where can i get it done exactly and cost

    Please help me

    Like

  2. Hello ma’am I had a miscarriage again. I changed my previous doctor. This new doctor is good & cooperative. She has adviced me to avoid pregnancy for three months as that time my uterus will be ready. She told me to use contraceptives, and said to take folic acid tablets in the third month so that my body is perfectly ready. She said that I shouldn’t have got pregnant so soon as I had previous miscarriage just 2 months ago.
    Thank you ma’am for suggestion. I will also visit Al Abeer medical center soon as possible.
    Thank u so much for your cooperation & quick responses. Thank u Doctor!

    Like

  3. Assalamalaikum Doctor Saba, yesterday my doctor did ultrasound scan and she said again that it is not clear, Im supposed to be 6 weeks & 4 days pregnant but that doctor is saying may be it is miscarriage. I dont want this to happen again. I asked doctor to examine my thoyroid test, she said no need, & she told me to have B-Hcg test again, if it drops down result will be negative but if it is high then I will not refer to this doctor again! I hope you understand my situation now. I need hope & support from a good doctor ma’am. Can I have your clinic address? I will try to come to you if possible. If not please refer to mea good gynaecologist plz. My report will come on this Saturday 19th march. Please Im waiting for a response from you, eagerly..
    I had written a comment to you last time as well ma’am, Im really confused about my condition. Please help me.

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    • Anonymous on said:

      Go to Dr. Sajira in Sharfiyah Al Abeer I did mention in this in last post . You have to wait for your result , Beta – HCG . .and you still be to check your thyroid . My advice change your doctor

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Meher Malik on said:

    Assalamalaikum Dr. saba.. I had an abortion 3 months ago, because of my docor’s negligence. I had developed thyroid (low thyroid) and I had unreasonable spotting and the doctor didnot attend to me properly. Now that Im pregnant for 5 weeks. I again had spotting complain, but this new doctor handled it with injections, (dicynone & pauloton depote) I donot have the spotting now… Later, I have tested in the hospital for blood serum, B-HCG showed as positive, but when I was scanned it was not clear. The docotor has adviced me to revisit her after 10 days. She even said if my foetus doesnot show growth then I must go for abortion… Seriously ma’am Im depressed as Im undergoing mental strain due to last time and now all these threats, due to this Im crying sometimes at night or sometimes in day as well. Another problem Doctor… I have tested the early pregnancy test kit at home today (10-march-2016) it is showing late result. Ma’am I know Im pregnant. I have the symptoms.. But still Im depressed and confused as what to do.. Please guide me. Presently Im living in Saudi Arabia, so is it advisable that I should go back to my own country (India) for knowing about my medical examination more accurately? Please reply soon ma’am, Im eagerly waiting for your response. Thsnk you.

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    • Dr. Saba on said:

      Hi , dear really sorry to hear that you are so stress . Ok first thing first , you first need to get your Thyroid test done and if it’s positive then you need to start taking thyroid tablets or else you ll get early miscarriage again . Ok . No second thing if you have spotting again then it means you have a thyroid symptoms that’s why you getting spotting . Thirdly about scan , nothing will show till you are 6 weeks completed . Then you ll see the heart beat and early development of brain and spinal cord of fetus . So you still have time . And fourth of all you need to stop getting anxious , and stress . Stress is major cause for early miscarriages & spotting . Ok . Relax , eat well, and get your thyroid checked if your doctor doesn’t advice you tell doctor you want to check . Ok . So relax its too early for scanning don’t depend on that as its way too early to see anything .
      You can go to my friend her name is Dr. Sajira in Al Abeer Sharfiyah . And my sister is the radiologist there she can do your scan at 6 weeks . Tell My name . She s my younger sister . Ok . Dear . Keep me posted or ask any other query you have . Regards . Dr . Saba Aslam Epthorp

      Like

  5. Great tips. Keep going. Thanks again for the tips.

    Like

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