Yes! Medicare makes a distinction between social infertility and medical infertility. A single women without proven infertility is considered to be socially infertile. There are no Medicare rebates for social infertility. Same sex couples are also considered socially infertile. Women without a male partner seeking fertility treatment would normally start with artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination or IUI) using donor sperm. They have to bare the full cost of treatment which is approximately $1000 – $1500 for each cycle. After 3 failed IUI cycles, a case can be made to class the woman as medically infertile.
Once this occurs, any further IUI or IVF treatment would receive a Medicare rebate. It is best for single women, especially those over 35 years, to talk to their GP or a fertility specialist about their options including options for fertility preservation. Egg freezing is becoming more common for those who have not yet found a life partner and do not wanting use donor sperm. Stored eggs can be used up to the age of 50 years.
There are lots of old wives tales that claim to bring on labour. None have been proven to be useful. Prostaglandins are responsible for priming the cervix and starting to labour process. Anything that stimulates the cervix helps release natural prostaglandins. For example, a vaginal examination with a membrane sweep or walking or intercourse.
Symptoms of pregnancy are first encountered about 2 – 3 weeks after conception. That is, as early as when the period is due. You may not necessarily have any symptoms except for a missed period. The commonest symptoms are tiredness, sore breasts and bloating. Nausea with or without vomiting may also be a prominent feature. Morning sickness is a misnomer as nausea and vomiting may occur at any time of the day. Other early pregnancy symptoms include frequent urination, constipation or diarrhoea, initial weight gain (fluid retention), a change in the taste of foods, a change in the sense of smell and mood swings.
In women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), periods may be infrequent or non-existent so a missed period is not a reliable sign of pregnancy. Often other symptoms are present which would prompt a pregnancy test to be performed.
Ideally couples should plan for pregnancy. It is best to see your GP for pre-pregnancy counselling and assessment. This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing condition such as thyroid disease, diabetes, clotting disorder and epilepsy to name a few. These conditions need to be well managed and medications need to be changed to medications that are “baby-friendly”. Babies should ideally be conceived when you are in as best health as possible.
For those women who are otherwise normal, it is also important to go through this process as your GP will look at your nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements (including folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, iron and iodine), screening tests (pap smear, breast exam) and check immunisations.
If you find you are already pregnant before any of this is done, don’t fret. Statistics show that less than 30% of women in Australia see their GP for pre-pregnancy counselling. The vast majority of women and their babies do well. Just book in to see your GP as soon as possible.
It is best to find a good GP in your area. Remember that your local GP will not only look after you but also your baby and any future babies. Ask your friends and neighbours about their experiences with the local GPs. Try to avoid bulk billing clinics and note that good GPs often have longer waiting lists for an appointment.
Yes, it is safe to have sex during pregnancy. There are very few instances where sex is unsafe in pregnancy. Your Obstetrician will normally let you know. The major concern is that the placenta may have developed low down on the cervix. In this case, bleeding may occur during or after sex. Usually, bleeding is minor, but it can be massive and a danger to the mother’s life and to the baby. Due to hormonal changes, bleeding may also arise from the cervix or vagina as a result of minor trauma during sex. Bleeding may also come from the anus (haemorrhoids) or urinary tract (bladder infection).
If you have any bleeding during your pregnancy, contact your Obstetrician, GP or the hospital where you are booked. If you have a rhesus negative blood type, an anti-D injection will be required.
Yes! Due to an increase in blood supply to the area, glandular activity is increased. Vaginal discharge can range from a murky watery fluid to a thick creamy consistency.
Usually it is fairly obvious when the “waters” have broken. Copious amounts of sweet smelling watery fluid gush out and then fluid continues to leak with smaller gushes. Often contraction pains may also be felt.
Difficulty arises when the leaking of fluid is slow. This may occur when the waters break at a very early gestation or there is a “hind-water leak”. Broken waters need to be distinguished from other causes of watery discharge in the second and third trimesters, such as urine infection, vaginal thrush infection, normal vaginal discharge and incontinence of urine (bladder leak). All these conditions are not life threatening except for true broken waters. The treatments for these conditions are also very different. If you are leaking fluid from the vagina, contact your Obstetrician or the hospital where you are booked.
There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy. The likelihood of an adverse effect related to alcohol on the fetus increases with the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption. Most women choose not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. If you are a regular drinker, please notify your GP or Obstetrician.
A common concern for women is that they had a few drinks around the time of conception or they continued to drink up to the time the pregnancy was diagnosed. This is not usually a concern unless the amount of alcohol consumed was excessive. Let your GP or Obstetrician know if you have concerns.
Yes, you can become pregnant while breastfeeding. Breast-feeding provides some protection against pregnancy but it is not 100%. Women usually have a return of their menstrual periods at about 5 – 6 months after delivery despite fully breast-feeding. Periods may come back as early as 4 – 6 weeks or as late as 12 months. Ovulation (release of an egg) may also occur as early as 4 – 6 weeks.
If you do not want to have your children too close together, it is recommended that you use additional contraception. Condoms alone are not very reliable despite correct use. It is recommended that you use a progesterone only pill or a progesterone only device (Implanon or Mirena). This is particularly so if your breast milk volume is low and you are supplementing with formula. Progesterone based contraceptives will not reduce your breast milk.
Once you cease breast-feeding, it is advised that you switch to a combine oestrogen and progestogen pill or to a device like Implanon or Mirena.
There are lots of hair dye products on the market. Hair dyes are safe to use during pregnancy as they do not easily absorb through the skin. It is advised to use hair dyes you have used before to avoid skin reactions or allergies. Hair dying should preferably be done at a reputable hair salon to avoid use of untested products.
Traditionally the date of your last normal menstrual period is used. A simple formula is to take the date of the first day of bleeding, subtract 3 months and add 1 week. For example, a period date of 31 December 2013 gives a due date of 7 October 2014. Happy New Year!!!!
Alternatively, you can google “Due Date Calculator” and enter your period date. Other options include downloading an app onto your phone.
These days an early dating scan is a more accurate way of determining the due date. This can be done as early as 5 weeks after the last period but is most accurate for determining dates at about 8 weeks. An early scan is recommended if you did not take note of your period date, if you fell pregnant soon after ceasing the pill or if you do not get regular periods.