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Fertility and Pregnancy

Fertility and Pregnancy

When is a woman's fertility period?

A woman's fertility period is around the time of ovulation. In women with regular menstrual cycles of 28 days, ovulation happens on the 14th day from the beginning of the cycle. To conceive, it is recommended to try during day 11 -17 every 48 hours.

When suspecting a pregnancy, what's the best way and time to test for it?

If you suspect you're pregnant, you can use a home pregnancy test available from local pharmacies. Home pregnancy tests are very accurate and can be done within 24 hours after your period is late. Another way to test for pregnancy is through a blood test that measures pregnancy hormones. This test can also be used at later stages to monitor pregnancy – if any.

If pregnant, when should a woman visit her doctor?

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your obstetrician or gynecologist as soon as possible to conduct clinical and laboratory tests, in addition an ultrasound to ensure the safety of your baby. You will also get a prescription for prenatal vitamins to prevent any congenital anomalies during fetus development.

What are the routine tests done during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are scheduled for a number of routine tests to guarantee the safety of both mother and baby including:

First visit: During this visit, full clinical and laboratory tests are done to check blood type and hemoglobin levels, in addition to ensuring there are no dangerous common infections such as hepatitis.

Second visit (end of month 3): During this visit, an ultrasound is done to ensure the safety of the baby and ensure there is no risk of Down Syndrome (DS).

Third visit (end of month 6): During this visit, a blood and urine test are done to measure hemoglobin and blood sugar levels to rule out any risks for diabetes or anemia.

Fourth visit (end of month 8): During this visit, blood and urine tests are done again to ensure hemoglobin and blood sugar levels are in normal range. A vaginal culture may be required to ensure the vaginal canal is free from the Group B Streptococcus bacteria that cause recurrent infections for newborns.

Please note that weight, blood pressure, urine and ultrasound tests are done during each visit to your doctor to reduce pregnancy risks or complications.

When are the routine visits usually scheduled?

Routine visits to your doctor are scheduled as follows:

  • Two monthly visits during the first 3 months
  • One monthly visit during months 4-7
  • Two monthly visits during months 7-8
  • A weekly visit during month 9
  • An internal examination (middle of month 9) to assess the size of the uterus, pelvic dimensions and possibility of natural delivery

When can the expectant mother feel the baby's movement?

While the fetus begins moving from as early as week 1 during pregnancy, the expectant mother cannot feel the movement of her baby until much later. The first movement she can feel happens around the middle of the fifth month during the first pregnancy or beginning of the fifth month during other pregnancies.

Should the expectant mother monitor the baby's movement? How can she monitor it?

An expectant mother can feel her baby's movements on a daily basis by the 7th month of pregnancy. You can monitor your baby's movement by lying on your right side after lunch or dinner and counting the number of movements you can feel – be it weak or strong. If your baby makes around 6 movements during one hour, this is usually an indicator of your baby's health. If your baby's movements are less than 6, we recommend you consult with your doctor immediately.

How often is a 3D or 4D ultrasound test scheduled?

A detailed ultrasound, commonly referred to as a 3D ultrasound, is usually done once in the beginning of the 6th month of normal pregnancy. The ultrasound ensures the health of the baby's internal organs using a 3D or 4D ultrasound device.

When is an amniocentesis test needed and how is it done?

An amniocentesis test, conducted in weeks 15-20, determines the genetic makeup of the fetus. It is done by taking 20 mm of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby with a needle into the abdomen. The test doesn't take more than 15 minutes and causes mild discomfort for the expectant mother.

Your doctor can conduct this test if:

  • There is an obvious risk for any genetic diseases such as Down Syndrome (DS)
  • The expectant mother is over 35 years of age and further testing is needed to ensure the safety of her baby

Final results can take up to 20 days and there are little complications associated with this test.

What are the signs of going into labor and when should the expectant mother head to the delivery room?

There are three major signs of going into labor:

  • Continuous mild contractions that are 15 minutes apart during the day
  • Mild bleeding known as "showing" or “spotting”
  • Water breaking – this is due to the amniotic sacs rupturing and releasing around 1/2 a liter of amniotic fluid

If you experience any of these signs, you must head to the hospital immediately.

Are epidurals used to reduce labor pains safe?

An epidural is one of the best ways to reduce labor pains. An anesthesiologist administers an epidural and side effects are minimal depending on the doctor’s experience.

Common side effects include:

Blood pressure drops – this is usually stabilized by using prescribed blood pressure medication

Headache - this usually lasts for no more than 3 days and can be relieved by proper hydration and pain relievers

Back pain – back pain after an epidural can last for several days after administration.

It is important to note that contrary to common belief, epidurals do not cause any chronic backache or herniated discs in the long run as they are administered through a layer of muscle.

If you continue to suffer from back pain, please consult with your doctor regarding your posture when handling your child.

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