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Diagnosing chromosomal disorders

There are more than 700 topics on women’s reproductive health covered, all up to date and all fully accessible

IVF for the older mother: In the UK, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the proportion of women over 40 seeking fertility treatment rose from 10% in 1998 to 15.5% in 2006. In fact, over the past 15 years, the number of cycles of  fertility treatment given to women aged between 40 and 45 has increased more than tenfold. Considering that the actual number of women seeking this treatment has not fallen, this is testimony of a clear trend of more and more older women attempting to start a family or even have more children at a later age. In some private clinics, the proportion of women over 40 is reported to approach 50%. More…

Sex and contraception after childbirth: How soon after delivery a woman resumes an active sex life differs quite widely among individuals. This is because of varying circumstances which may be cultural, her physical state (is there a healing episiotomy or tear?), her psychological state (relaxed, very stressed or with postnatal depression), her home situation (is there a partner? is he supportive?) and many others. More…

Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal disorders: Out of every 700 babies born, one will have the condition known as Down's syndrome. This chromosomal disorder gives the affected individual specific recognisable physical characteristics. However, more significantly, the person is likely to have considerable learning difficulties with an average mental age of five or six years old by the time he or she reaches adulthood. Moreover, a Down's syndrome baby is prone to other major abnormalities of such vital organs as the heart, lungs or gut. More…

Excessive body hair (Hirsutism): It is estimated that up to 15% of women are affected by the distressing condition of hirsutism or excessive body hair. In the vast majority of cases, there is an underlying hormonal (endocrine) problem, the biggest culprit being polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).The most important hormones determining distribution and thickness of hair are the androgens, also loosely called ‘male sex hormones’. This latter term is not strictly correct as women do normally produced androgens even though it is not to the levels seen in men. In conditions such as PCOS, the level of active androgens in circulation tends to be higher than the normal female physiological range. More…

Stretch marks: Causes, prevention and treatment

Stretch marks and other skin changes: Stretch marks are a direct result of the distension of the abdomen, which causes rupturing of the connective tissue beneath the skin. This is why stretch marks are invariably a late feature in pregnancy. Some people are more prone than others. Obesity increases the risk of this happening. Among Caucasians, blonde women are more prone. The stretch marks may actually become pigmented, sometimes becoming dark brown, even black. The pigmentation fades after delivery, leaving silvery-white irregular lines (known as striae). More…

Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease are collectively called haemoglobinopathies. This is because the problem is with the oxygen-carrying blood pigment called haemoglobin. The haemoglobin produced in these conditions is defective, which leads to chronic conditions characterized by anaemia and other health problems to varying degrees, depending on the severity of the defect. These are genetic conditions and therefore are of special interest where pregnancy is concerned. More…

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or ‘Polycystic Ovaries’ is the commonest endocrine disorder to affect women. It is commonly shortened as PCOS or even simply as PCO. Estimates range from 5 – 10% of all women being affected to some degree.  Some estimate put the prevalence significantly higher than that. What is not in dispute is that at least 1 in 20 women are affected by this condition. It affects women of all races roughly equally. More…

Emergency Contraception has been with us for over 3 decades now. The intended user is a woman who wishes to prevent unplanned pregnancy following unanticipated sexual intercourse or failure of a barrier method of contraception such as a ruptured condom. Emergency contraception is supposed to be very effective if used in the recommended period. There are several options available to suit almost every woman. More…

Chronic pelvic pain is a fairly vast and complex subject. We are going to try here to summarise it is as much as possible without creating the impression that this is a straight-forward subject with set solutions. That will be misleading. However, it is important to realise that there are many causes, not all of them gynaecological and a systematic approach in identifying the cause and, hence, the solution, is essential. More…

Umbilical cord blood banking has been with us for several years now. The new twist o the phenomenon is the explosion of private cord blood banking all around the globe. In the United States where this started, it costs anything between $1000 and $2000 for the service. Usually there is also an annual fee of around $100 – 200. In the UK, the private companies charge in the range of £1000 to £1600, with or without an annual fee. More…

Fibroids and Pregnancy: Fibroids are the commonest type of benign tumors to grow in the womb. They are extremely common and the prevalence is estimated to range between 20 and 50% of all adult womenTypes of fibroids. They are commonest among women of black African ancestry but they are seen in women of all races. The prevalence increases with increasing age and therefore they are rarely seen in women in their teens or early 20s. They are commonest in women in their 30s and 40s. They will tend to gradually shrink after the woman has gone through menopause, which usually occurs in the late 40s and early 50s. More…

Drug misuse in Pregnancy and remedial options: Drug abuse is a scourge that is now a fact of life and has to be confronted as such. While it has, mercifully, remained a "minority sport", some communities in the UK and elsewhere have been quite significantly hit. Pregnancy adds an important dimension to the whole issue of drug abuse. There are various groups of drugs that have different effects on pregnancy, some more serious than others. It is important to stress that no abused drug is considered safe in pregnancy. The management of a situation where a woman conceives while dependent on a substance will depend on the type of substance and the degree of addiction. More…

Weight and Pregnancy:  Ideally, if there is a weight problem - be it underweight or over­weight - this should be tackled in the pre-pregnancy period to optimise conditions for pregnancy. Ideally. Since we do not live in an ideal world, we need to deal with situations where women conceive while having a significant weight problem at each end of the spectrum. General measures will be to give appropriate dietary advice and monitor its effect on the mother and the pregnancy. This may even be a multi­-disciplinary endeavour. It is important that each case is individualized. In between these two groups are those women whose body ­weight is within the normal range but who may be concerned about the aftermath of pregnancy on their bodies. More…

Infections and Pregnancy:  There are a good number of viruses which infect children and adults alike. To the majority of these, the body's immune system responds promptly and the infection is literally shrugged off in a matter of days. In a number of instances, the individual may be unaware that he or she has been suffering from an infection. Some types of viral infections have specific signs and symptoms and are easily identifiable. These include such infections as measles and chicken-pox. The differences in the behaviour and course of viral infections do not end there. More…

Some of the more popular ‘Hot Topics’. Click to get there

…more Hot  Topics

 Down’s Prenatal Diagnosis (Non-invasive)

 Cervical cancer vaccine

 Chlamydia infection and Fertility

 Group B Haemolytic Streptococcal Infection in Pregnancy

 Breast Cancer Screening

 Battle of the Breast and the Bottle

 Home Birth

 Induction of Labour: Can you ‘DIY’?

 Obesity and Fertility

 Phantom Pregnancy and Concealed Pregnancy

 Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

 Preserving Fertility after Cancer Treatment

 Vitamins and other nutritional supplements

 Choosing the sex of your baby

 Vaginal Discharge

 Multiple caesarean sections

Rhesus disease in pregnancy

 Endometriosis, pelvic pain and sub-fertility

 Overweight and Pregnant

 Pelvic infection (PID)

 Hypoactive Sex Desire Disorder (HSDD)

 HELLP syndrome

 Swine flu and pregnancy

 Heavy Periods and other menstrual disorders

Female Reproductive Health Books: Get yours instantly

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Hysterectomy A-Z: Why, When, How and What After

Menopause A-Z: Staying in Control

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Ovarian Cysts: Facts, Myths and Solutions

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Useful Free Utilities

Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs):  Many women find themselves in need of a contraceptive that they can use safely and reliably over a long time without the worry of an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy at that particular time. Those who have completed their family and those who are absolutely certain that they do not and will not want children could consider sterilisation. This is permanent and in many cases irreversible. For the reminder, the most effective option is a long acting reversible contraceptive that is ideally user-independent. This means, it is applied, it works and the user does not need to remember to do or take anything. More…

Parenthood through surrogacy: The basic tenet of surrogacy is that a woman bears a child for another woman or couple and surrenders the child at birth. The one carrying the pregnancy for other people is therefore the surrogate mother. This is still the case even if she was using her own egg. We shall discuss this further very shortly. The prospective parents are known as ‘commissioning parents’ Surrogacy is almost always a private social (rather than medical) arrangement. Exact figures of the rate of surrogacy are therefore hard to come by. More…

Bleeding in Pregnancy:  There are few more anxiety-provoking incidents in pregnancy than vaginal bleeding. In early pregnancy, this invokes panic of an impending miscarriage. In spite of the understandable fright, in the majority of cases, the bleeding will pass off unexplained and without any lasting effect on the pregnancy. The figures speak for themselves. In an average pregnant woman where a pregnancy has already been clinically recognised, there is only a 10 per cent chance of a miscarriage before the halfway (twenty weeks) mark. The possibility of late miscarriage or preterm labour is even less, in fact much less, than this. More…

Cancer and Pregnancy: Pregnant women are inevitably in their youth or occasionally in their early middle age. This means that they are at risk of those cancers that affect people in this age range. Cancer of the cervix, ovary, breast, blood (leukaemia), skin (melanoma) and lymphatic system (lymphoma) come to mind. While it is true that most of these are commoner in late middle age and beyond, they are also seen in the younger reproductive age groups. This is why roughly one in a thousand pregnant women will be found to have cancer. More…

Treating dyspareunia:  Dyspareunia is the medical term to describe painful sexual intercourse. It is estimated that at least 1 in 10 sexually active women suffer a significant degree of painful intercourse (dyspareunia). The classification of dyspareunia is either based on timing of onset or the location of pain. Primary dyspareunia describes painful intercourse which starts from the first time the woman becomes sexually active and persists thereafter. Secondary dyspareunia is when the woman has had normal painless sexual intercourse before and then starts experiencing pain later on in her active sex life. This could be years after her sexual debut. More…

Normal Pregnancy

Nine Months




Asthma and Pregnancy

Anaemia in Pregnancy

Thrombosis in Pregnancy

Sickle Cell

Thyroid disease

Epilepsy and Pregnancy

Diabetes in Pregnancy

Blood Pressure

Amniotic Fluid issues

Trauma in Pregnancy

Cancer and Pregnancy

Neural Tube Defects

Bleeding in Pregnancy

Smoking and Pregnancy

Drug misuse

Taking medicines in Pregnancy

Chromosomal disorders

Skin problems in Pregnancy


Weight issues


Preterm rupture of membranes

Preterm Labour

Prolonged Pregnancy

Pain in Pregnancy



Pain relief in Labour

Abnormal Labour

Forceps and Ventouse

Caesarean section

Water Birth

Post-delivery issues

Breast feeding

Medicines and breast feeding

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