Pregnancy, Fertility and Childbirth

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    ACraig T. Nakamura, MD, Pediatric Pulmonology, answered on behalf of Sunrise Children's Hospital
    How Does Prematurity Affect an Infant's Lungs?
    The lungs of premature infants are immature and prone to complications, says Craig Nakamura, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he explains what may affect lungs of premature infants and how doctors can help.
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    AMarijan Gospodnetic, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered on behalf of Johnston-Willis Hospital - HCA Virginia
    It is safe for women to receive routine vaccines immediately after giving birth, even while breastfeeding. This is also an important time to begin educating yourself on childhood vaccination schedules for your new addition. If you haven’t received your tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) vaccine during pregnancy, you should have it administered right after delivery. Also, women should receive the pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and varicella vaccines to reduce risks to both themselves and their infants.
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    AMarijan Gospodnetic, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered on behalf of Johnston-Willis Hospital - HCA Virginia
    Vaccines help keep pregnant women and their growing families healthy, and are necessary for the protection of your children and those in the community from vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to boosting your immunity during pregnancy, you should be cautious about travel to areas known to be common locations for vaccine-preventable diseases. Talk to your doctor about any planned international travel and work together on a care plan if the trip is unavoidable.
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    AMarijan Gospodnetic, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered on behalf of Johnston-Willis Hospital - HCA Virginia
    Among all the health questions that arise when a woman is pregnant, one of the biggest is: what medicines and vaccines are safe during this time? The most important vaccine during pregnancy is for influenza. The flu shot is given annually to combat the anticipated strains of flu circulating in that given year, and it is of paramount importance for pregnant women to receive the inactivated flu vaccine. Contracting the flu during pregnancy puts you at serious risk for complications and hospitalization, and symptoms can be detrimental to the pregnancy. You should also get the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis during each pregnancy. Ideally, this will be administered between weeks 27 and 36 of your pregnancy, in your third trimester.

    Some of a woman’s immunity to disease is passed along during pregnancy and protects her baby from some diseases during the first few months of life, before his or her two-month checkup, when initial vaccines are routinely administered.
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    ARonald Tolchin, DO, Physical Medicine/rehabilitation, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    Certain hormones produced in pregnancy may increase your risk for back pain. For example, the hormones estrogen and relaxin allow your pelvis to widen to accommodate your growing baby. Those hormones work on the ligaments in the sacroiliac joint, which connects your spine to your pelvis, causing them to stretch. That stretching can cause back pain. If you are having back pain, talk to your doctor about the best way for you to manage it during your pregnancy.
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    AScripps Health answered

    New parents may feel crowded by relatives and friends who want to be in the delivery room. Besides making a private affair feel congested, too many people can put a strain on the doctors and nurses who are there to ensure a safe delivery. Don’t hesitate to decline these requests; instead, invite them for a private visit at home.

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    AMarch of Dimes answered

    There are lots of changes happening in your partner after pregnancy. Her body has taken care of your baby for 9 months. It has to get used to not being pregnant any more. There are lots of hormones in her body after pregnancy. These hormones can cause the baby blues, which are feelings of sadness a woman may have 3 to 5 days after giving birth.

    Your partner may be cranky and she may cry a lot. This happens to lots of women. By about 10 days after the baby's birth, the baby blues should go away. If they don't, tell her health care provider. If she’s really sad for longer than 2 weeks, she may have postpartum depression. This is a more serious problem that requires medical treatment.

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    AMarch of Dimes answered

    The Rh factor may be a problem if mom is Rh-negative but dad is Rh-positive. If dad is Rh-negative, there is no risk.

    If your baby gets her Rh-positive factor from dad, your body may believe that your baby's red blood cells are foreign elements attacking you. Your body may make antibodies to fight them. This is called sensitization.

    If you're Rh-negative, you can get shots of Rh immune globulin (RhIg) to stop your body from attacking your baby. It's best to get these shots at 28 weeks of pregnancy and again within 72 hours of giving birth if a blood test shows that your baby is Rh-positive. You won't need anymore shots after giving birth if your baby is Rh-negative. You should also get a shot after certain pregnancy exams like an amniocentesis, a chorionic villus sampling or an external cephalic version (when your provider tries to turn a breech-position baby head down before labor). You'll also want to get the shot if you have a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or suffer abdominal trauma.

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    AMarch of Dimes answered

    Gallstones are not common during pregnancy, but they do happen. Elevated hormones during pregnancy can cause the gallbladder to function more slowly, less efficiently. The gallbladder stores and releases bile, a substance produced in the liver. Bile helps digest fat. When bile sits in the gallbladder for too long, hard, solid nuggets called gallstones can form. The stones can block the flow of bile, causing indigestion and sometimes serious pain. Staying at a healthy weight during pregnancy can help lower your risk of gallstones. Exercise and eating foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, like veggies, fruits and whole grains, can help, too. Symptoms of gallstones include nausea, vomiting and intense, continuous abdominal pain. Treatment during pregnancy may include surgery to remove the gallbladder. Gallstones in the third trimester can be managed with a strict meal plan and pain medication, followed by surgery several weeks after delivery.

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    AMarch of Dimes answered

    Postpartum bleeding is bleeding from the vagina after giving birth. It’s normal. However, heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging) can be a sign of other health problems. The most common causes of serious, heavy bleeding after birth are:

    • Uterine atony: This is when the muscle in your uterus (womb) doesn’t contract (tighten). When your uterus contracts, it helps manage bleeding. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. If you have twins or a large baby, or if you are in labor for a long time, you may be at risk of having uterine atony.
    • Retained placenta: During the third stage of labor, you deliver the placenta. If the placenta doesn’t pass within 30 minutes after your baby is born, you may have heavy bleeding.
    • Tearing: If your vagina or cervix (opening to the uterus that sits on top of the vagina) is cut or torn during birth, you may bleed heavily.

    If you have serious bleeding after birth, it most likely happens when you’re still in the hospital. Your health care provider may massage your uterus or give you fluids through an IV needle into your vein. This can help stop the bleeding. She also may give you oxytocin (a hormone that can help your uterus contract). In very rare cases, a woman may need surgery or a blood transfusion.