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FAQs

What is the Rh factor

Just as there are different major blood groups, such as type A and type B, there also is an Rh factor. The Rh factor is a protein that can be present on the surface of red blood cells. Most people have the Rh factor—they are Rh positive. Others do not have the Rh factor—they are Rh negative.

The Rh factor is inherited—passed down through parents’ genes to their children. If the mother is Rh negative and the father is Rh positive, the fetus can inherit the Rh gene from the father and could be either Rh positive or Rh negative. If the mother and father are both Rh negative, the baby also will be Rh negative.

The Rh factor can cause problems if you are Rh negative and your fetus is Rh positive. This is called Rh incompatibility. These problems usually do not occur in a first pregnancy, but they can occur in a later pregnancy. When an Rh-negative mother’s blood comes into contact with blood from her Rh-positive fetus, it causes the Rh-negative mother to make antibodies against the Rh factor. These antibodies attack the Rh factor as if it were a harmful substance. A person with Rh-negative blood who makes Rh antibodies is called “Rh sensitized.”

Problems during pregnancy can occur when Rh antibodies from an Rh-sensitized woman cross the placenta and attack the blood of an Rh-positive fetus. The Rh antibodies destroy some of the fetal red blood cells. This causes hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them.

Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Without enough red blood cells, the fetus will not get enough oxygen. Hemolytic anemia can lead to serious illness. Severe hemolytic anemia may even be fatal to the fetus.

 

What is sterilization

Sterilization is a permanent method of birth control. Sterilization procedures for women are called tubal occlusion. The procedure for men is called vasectomy.

  • Tubal occlusion is sterilization for women. Tubal occlusion closes off the fallopian tubes. This prevents the egg from moving down the fallopian tube to the uterus and keeps the sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Vasectomy is sterilization for men. The vas deferens is one of two tubes that carry sperm from the testes. In a vasectomy, these tubes are tied, cut, clipped, or sealed to prevent the release of sperm. This prevents a woman’s egg from being fertilized with the man’s sperm.

What is emergency contraception & its side effects

Emergency contraception is the use of certain methods to prevent pregnancy after a woman has had sex without birth control, if her current method fails

The side effects of emergency contraception pills

Nausea and vomiting may occur after taking the progestin-only and combination pills. Your next menstrual period may not occur at the expected time. You may have bleeding or spotting in the week or month after the treatment. Other possible side effects include the following:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

These side effects usually go away within a few days.

Possible ulipristal side effects include headache, nausea, and abdominal pain. Your menstrual period may occur earlier or later than expected. Spotting may occur.

What is endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the type of tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside the uterus. It occurs in about one in ten women of reproductive age. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s. Most often it occur in the following places:

  • Peritoneum
  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Outer surfaces of the uterus, bladder, ureters, intestines, and rectum
  • Cul-de-sac (the space behind the uterus)

Almost 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis. Inflammation from endometriosis may damage the sperm or egg or interfere with their movement through the fallopian tubes and uterus. In severe cases of endometriosis, the fallopian tubes may be blocked by adhesions or scar tissue.

Symptoms of endometriosis

The most common symptom of endometriosis is chronic (long-term) pelvic pain, especially just before and during the menstrual period. Pain also may occur during sex. If endometriosis is present on the bowel, pain during bowel movements can occur. If it affects the bladder, pain may be felt during urination. Heavy menstrual bleeding is another symptom of endometriosis. Many women with endometriosis have no symptoms.

 

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Common PCOS signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Irregular menstrual periods—Menstrual bleeding may be absent, heavy, or unpredictable.
  • Infertility—PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.
  • Obesity—Up to 80% of women with PCOS are obese.
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, or upper thighs—This condition, called hirsutism, affects more than 70% of women with PCOS.
  • Severe acne or acne that occurs after adolescence and does not respond to usual treatments
  • Oily skin
  • Patches of thickened, velvety, darkened skin called acanthosis nigricans
  • Multiple small cysts on the ovaries

Although the cause of PCOS is not known, it appears that PCOS may be related to many different factors working together. These factors include insulin resistance, increased levels of androgens, and an irregular menstrual cycle.

What is urinary incontinence

Leakage of urine is called urinary incontinence. Some women leak small amounts of urine. At other times, leakage of urine is frequent or severe.

Different types of urinary incontinence

  • Stress urinary incontinence—Loss of urine when a woman coughs, laughs, or sneezes. Leaks also can happen when a woman walks, runs, or exercises. It is caused by a weakening of the tissues that support the bladder or the muscles of the urethra.
  • Urge incontinence—Leakage of urine caused by overactive bladder muscles that contract too often or problems with the nerves that send signals to the bladder
  • Mixed incontinence—A combination of both stress and urge incontinence symptoms
  • Overflow incontinence—Steady loss of small amounts of urine when the bladder does not empty all the way during voiding. It can be caused by an underactive bladder muscle or blockage of the urethra.

Symptoms of urinary incontinence

  • Urgency—A strong urge to urinate whether or not the bladder is full, often with pelvic pressure
  • Frequency—Voiding more often than she considers usual
  • Nocturia—The need to void during hours of sleep
  • Dysuria—Painful voiding
  • Enuresis—Bed-wetting or leaking while sleeping

Causes of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontience can have short-term causes and long-term causes.

Short-term causes are easier to treat and include the following:

  • Urinary tract infection—Loss of bladder control may be caused by an infection of the urinary tract. Infections of the bladder (cystitis) are common in women. These infections are treated with antibiotics.
  • Medications—Loss of bladder control may be a side effect of medications, such as diuretics.
  • Abnormal growths—Polyps, bladder stones, or less commonly, bladder cancer, can cause urinary incontinence. Abnormal growths often cause urge incontinence and may be associated with blood in the urine. If you see blood in your urine, or if you are unsure about the source of any bleeding, it is important to alert your health care provider right away.

Long-term causes include the following:

  • Pelvic support problems—The pelvic organs are held in place by supportive tissues and muscles. These supporting tissues may become torn or stretched, or they may weaken because of aging. If the tissues that support the urethra, bladder, uterus, or rectum become weak, these organs may drop down, causing urine leakage or making it hard to pass urine.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities—A fistula is an abnormal opening from the urinary tract into another part of the body, such as the vagina. It can allow urine to leak out through the vagina.
  • Neuromuscular problems—These disorders can interfere with the transmission of signals from the brain and spinal cord to the bladder and urethra.

What is hysteroscopic sterilization

Hysteroscopic sterilization is a type of tubal sterilization procedure that uses the body’s natural openings to place small implants into the fallopian tubes. These implants cause tissue growth that blocks the tubes. No surgical incision is needed.

Hysteroscopic sterilization uses your body’s natural openings and does not require incisions in your skin. It can be done with local anesthesia. For these reasons, recovery from hysteroscopic sterilization usually is quicker than from other types of sterilization.

Hysteroscopic sterilization has the following risks:

  • It may not be possible to place the devices in one or both fallopian tubes. Even when the devices are placed in both tubes, there is a risk that one or both tubes will not become completely blocked. In either case, the procedure cannot be relied on for birth control.
  • There is a risk of injury to the uterus or fallopian tubes injury during the procedure. If this happens, the device can move out of place and embed itself in the abdomen. Surgery may be needed to remove the device.
  • Pregnancy is uncommon after any type of sterilization procedure. However, if it does occur, there is a higher risk that it will be an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can be a medical emergency.
  • In rare cases, women report pain that does not go away after having hysteroscopic sterilization. If this happens, the devices can be removed using hysteroscopy or laparoscopy.

What is morning sickness

Nausea and vomiting that happen during pregnancy, especially during the first part of pregnancy, often are called “morning sickness.” Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day.

If you experience morning sickness, there are several things you can do that might help you feel better. You may need to try more than one of these remedies:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid smells that bother you.
  • Eat five or six small meals each day instead of three large meals.
  • Eat a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning to help settle your stomach.
  • Eat small snacks high in protein (such as a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt) throughout the day.
  • Avoid spicy foods and fatty foods.

What is gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diabetes mellitus that develops in women for the first time during pregnancy. Some women found to have gestational diabetes actually may have had mild diabetes before pregnancy that was not diagnosed.