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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Stretch marks on the legs

Question:  Can you help? I have developed stretch marks on the inside of my legs and around my hips that are really unsightly. It is to an extent that I cannot wear a short dress and, bikini... that’s out of the question. I have not had a baby and have a really small waist but I’m terrified if I were to get pregnant I will end up with the same on my stomach and I can’t stand that. What can I use to get rid of them??? I’m only 21. Please help!A.S. (USA)

Answer: What you are describing is, unfortunately, not uncommon. We have touched upon stretch marks on the abdomen that are associated with pregnancy, details of which you can find here. The mechanism is in fact the same with stretch marks that affect other parts of the body, usually thighs, the outer parts of the waist area and upper arms. The common theme in all these is the stretching of the skin that results in breaking of the underlying connective tissue (collagen fibres). You have not said this in your question but I suspect the development of the stretch marks on your legs has followed a significant and possibly rapid weight gain. That is what usually triggers their development. There are a lot of skin preparations marketed with the claim of being able to ‘cure’ stretch marks. You should take these claims with a large pinch of salt. There is really nothing out there with scientific evidence behind it to support such a claim. Depending on your complexion, with time, stretch marks on the legs should fade especially as you are so young. They may not disappear altogether but you can get make-up skin preparations which can very effectively mask them. That, in reality, is the best you can and should aim for.

Late period; is it a pregnancy?

Question:  I had sex on the 31st Oct My period was due the 5th Nov but im now 2 days late any chance i could be pregnant ??? R. (UK)

Answer: If you had sex so late in the cycle ( 5 days before your period was due), it is very unlikely that you could have conceived. Though not impossible, conception so late in the cycle is quite unlikely. The egg would have been released and ‘died’ more than a week before.

Syntocinon in labour

Question:  When do you administer syntocinon in labour? D.N. (Norway)

Answer: Syntocinon, the generic name of which is Oxytocin, is utilised in the form of an intravenous infusion to either start labour off (induction) or to augment the contractions if these are deemed to be weak and/or ineffective. It is mostly deployed for augmentation of labour. It can therefore be administered at any stage of labour if the progress is slow and weak contractions are assessed to be the cause of that delay. Syntocinon is also used to facilitate contraction of the uterus after delivery to minimise the risk of heavy blood loss (postpartum haemorrhage). For this, it can be used as a one off injection or as a continuous infusion over a number of hours.

Anaemia and the fetus

Question:  What are the effects of anaemia on the fetus? A

Answer: I am assuming from your brief question that you are referring to maternal anaemia. Well, most cases of anaemia in pregnancy are due to iron deficiency. Since the fetus is completely dependent on the mother for its iron and since maternal stores will be depleted, the baby is born with hardly any iron reserves. That means the infant will be at risk of developing anaemia himself/herself within weeks of birth. The lack of iron also affects the immunity making the infant susceptible to infections.

Missed periods; negative pregnancy tests

Question: i have not had a period for 6 weeks i have waves of nausea and tender breasts but i have had negative test results my cycle is usually 21-25 days never late i had a miscarriage in June. C.M. (UK)

Answer: If you have missed your period and this is out of character and also you have pregnancy symptoms, I would advise that you see your doctor to explore the possibility of having an ultrasound scan and possibly a blood test to quantify the pregnancy hormone (beta hCG).

The blood test is definitive and if no hormone is detected in your blood, that will confirm that you are not pregnant and the cause of your missed periods and the nausea episode will need to be sought elsewhere.

Twins on a scan

Question:  Can twins be shown on a two weeks pregnancy? F. (Nigeria)

Answer: If you mean seeing twins on an ultrasound scan at two weeks gestation, the answer is definitely No. You cannot see anything on a pregnancy scan, be it one or more babies, before 5 weeks of gestation. The identification and confirmation of presence and viability of pregnancy using a scan does not differ between a singleton and twin pregnancy.

Rhesus Negative in early pregnancy

Question:  I am a RHESUS"D"NEGATIVE its also discovered that salmonella paratyphi shows significant antibody titre. Please i need to know what to do because am in my early pregnancy. Thanks. A.K. (Italy)

Answer: Your being Rhesus D Negative is normal. What you need to be aware now that you are pregnant is that any case of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy after the first 10 weeks will require you to have an anti-D injection to prevent you developing antibodies which could adversely affect future (not current) pregnancies. Even without any bleeding episodes, all Rhesus Negative mothers are given an anti-D injection at some stage of their pregnancy for this very purpose. Programs for administering anti-D vary from country to country but in general one or two injections are administered, typically with the first one being given at 28 weeks which is around the start of the final trimester. There is more information on this subject here:

Regarding the Salmonella paratyphi antibodies that you have been found to have, I am not sure why you had the test done in the first place. It is not a standard antenatal screening test. It is possible you had presented with gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) and your doctor suspected possible salmonellosis hence the test. In any case, this has no direct bearing on your pregnancy.

Skin preparations which are effective in masking stretch marks are available