women

Ultrasound Pictures

An ultrasound is often easier to understand when it is actually being done. The pictures are more like motion pictures.

Don’t have one of those ultrasound “keepsakes” done at your local mall. Ultrasound at the mall can be risky to you and baby because untrained technicians doing the test may not use equipment correctly. In addition, in 2002, the FDA ruled that performing an ultrasound without a prescription is illegal.

If you look closely at the illustration, it may make more sense to you. Read the labels, and try to visualize the baby inside the uterus. An ultrasound picture is like looking at a slice of an object. The picture you see is 2-dimensional.

Ultrasound done at this point in pregnancy is helpful for confirming or helping to establish your due date. If this test is done very early or very late (first or last 2 months), the accuracy of dating a pregnancy may not be as good. If two or more babies are present, they can usually be seen. Some fetal problems can also be seen at this time.

Percutaneous Umbilical-Cord Blood Sampling (PUBS)

Percutaneous umbilical-cord blood sampling (PUBS), also called cordocentesis, is a test done on the fetus inside your uterus. Test results are available in a few days. The test carries a slightly higher risk of miscarriage than amniocentesis.

Guided by ultrasound, a fine needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen into a tiny vein in the umbilical cord. A small sample of the baby’s blood is removed for analysis. PUBS detects blood disorders, infections and Rh-incompatibility.

A baby can be checked before birth and a blood transfusion can be given, if necessary. PUBS can help prevent life-threatening anemia that may develop if the mother is Rh-negative and has antibodies that are destroying her baby’s blood. If you’re Rh-negative, you should receive RhoGAM after this procedure.

4. Changes in You

Stretching Abdominal Muscles

Your abdominal muscles are being stretched and pushed apart as your baby grows. Muscles attached to the lower portion of your ribs run vertically down to your pelvis. They may separate in the midline. These muscles are called the rectus muscles; when they separate, it is a hernia called a diastasis recti.

You may notice the separation when you lie down and you raise your head, tightening your abdominal muscles. It may look like there’s a bulge in the middle of your tummy. You might even feel the edge of the muscle on either side of the bulge. It isn’t painful and doesn’t harm you or baby. What you feel in the gap between the muscles is the uterus. You may feel the baby’s movement more easily here.

If this is your first baby, you may not notice the separation. With each pregnancy, separation is often more noticeable. Exercising can strengthen these muscles, but you may still have the bulge or gap.

Following pregnancy, these muscles tighten and close the gap. The separation won’t be as noticeable, but it may still be present.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 1 in every 1000 pregnant women. It’s an autoimmune disease that can attack your body’s joints and/or organs. During pregnancy, symptoms may improve and even disappear. Nearly 75% of women with RA feel better when they’re pregnant. Less pain may mean you need less medication.

Some medicines used to treat RA can be dangerous to a pregnant woman, but many are safe. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any medicine you take for your rheumatoid arthritis before you get pregnant.

Acetaminophen is OK to use throughout pregnancy. However, NSAIDs should not be used in later pregnancy because they may increase the risk of heart problems in baby. Prednisone is usually acceptable, although methotrexate should not be used because it may cause miscarriage and birth defects.

Enbrel is one of the newer medications used to treat RA. Don’t use this medication without checking first with your healthcare provider.

RA may not affect your labor and delivery; however, 25% of women with RA have a preterm birth. It may be harder to find comfortable labor positions if you have joint restrictions.

Dad Tip

Around this time, your partner may have an ultrasound exam of your growing baby. Your partner’s healthcare provider does one to learn many things. You might want to be there for this fun test—it’s the first time you can actually see baby moving! Ask your partner to consider your schedule when making the appointment for her ultrasound.

Your symptoms may return a few months after baby is born. See your rheumatologist within 4 weeks of having your baby. He or she may want you to restart medicine you stopped taking during pregnancy. If you breastfeed, discuss the choice of medications with your healthcare provider before resuming them.

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