Fetal Health

What Is Fetus Papyraceous?

Definition

Fetus papyraceous occurs when a fetus dies in utero. During the first trimester, fetus death would trigger a natural abortion and would be expelled from the body. With fetus papyraceous, this miscarriage happens later in the pregnancy when the bones and other organic material are no longer able to be absorbed by the body. Depending on the length of time the deceased fetus is left within the womb, it will begin to decay and possibly even mummify.

Effects on Surviving Twin

Fetus papyraceous is generally found in the case of multiple-birth pregnancies and is therefore also called "Vanishing Twin Syndrome." The effects this death has on the surviving fetus(es) depends on how late in the pregnancy the death occurred, the amount of time that passes between the death and its discovery, and whether the twins shared the same placenta. If the death happens during the second half of the pregnancy, there's an increased risk of cerebral palsy in the surviving twin.

Effects on the Birth

Preterm delivery is one of the greatest risks with fetus papyraceous. With the decay of the deceased fetus, there's a risk of infection should the placenta become compromised. Depending on where the fetus is located within the womb, it can also affect the birth of the surviving twin. A vaginal birth may be impossible if the fetus papyraceous is low-lying, which would make the only alternative a cesarean section.

Causes

Studies so far have shown that it is not linked with the race or sex of the fetus. The age of the mother is something that may play a role. Women who conceive after the age of 30 have a greater risk of complications and genetic birth defects, which could lead to fetus papyraceous. Two possible causes are pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia.

Management of Pregnancy

It is possible that doctors may not discover the death of a fetus in a multiple birth until delivery. Its placement within the womb might make it invisible to ultrasound and therefore impossible to detect. If it is detected within the second trimester it becomes a balancing act between ensuring the survival of the living twin against preterm birth and possible physical side effects. Since the cause of the deceased twin's death is unknown during gestation, delivering the surviving twin as early and safely as possible is essential.

Is It Normal to Have Baby Movement Right Above the Belly Button Beginning in the Second Trimester?

Location of the Movements

At the beginning of the second trimester, your baby is still quite small. Between 14 and 16 weeks gestational age, your baby is approximately 6 inches long and weighs 4 ounces, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Your uterus has grown so that the fundus, or top, is at or near the level of your belly button. Your little one has a lot of room to turn and flip, so you'll probably feel flutters all over the place, including above your belly button.

When to Worry

The beginning of the second trimester is very early to feel fetal movement. Depending on the position of the placenta, you may not feel your baby move until as late as 25 weeks. If you still have not felt kicks, your doctor may order a sonogram and Doppler screening to make sure the baby is healthy.

What Is the Role of the Placenta in the Fetal Development?

Physical Attributes

An average full-term placenta has a diameter of 8.6 inches, a thickness of 1 inch and weighs about 1 pound, states physician Joseph F. Yetter III in “Examination of the Placenta,” published by American Family Physician. The placenta should have a dark maroon color with an umbilical cord attached. The average length of the umbilical cord is 23 inches and it has two arteries and one vein that fuse near the point where it connects with the placenta. The placenta develops and attaches to the uterine wall. As the uterus expands, the placenta grows and repositions itself in conjunction with uterine growth, according to the University of Maryland Medical System. The placenta should be in the top half of the uterus to ensure that it does not obstruct the cervical opening at the bottom of the uterus. If the placenta adheres near or covering the cervical opening, the mother has placenta previa. Because placenta previa can cause life-threatening bleeding, a physician monitors this condition closely.

Hormones

During pregnancy, the mother’s body produces human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood and urine. This hormone sustains a healthy pregnancy. Human placental lactogen aids in fetal development and helps to stimulate milk glands for breastfeeding. Estrogen is also essential for the well-being of the pregnancy. The placenta produces these hormones continually throughout pregnancy, according to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Nutrients and Oxygen

The placenta serves as an exchange spot for both maternal and fetal blood as it flows in and out of the umbilical cord, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Maternal blood flows through the placenta first as it moves to the umbilical cord, carrying the life-sustaining blood to the fetus. The baby receives nutrients through this blood. The baby also receives oxygen because the placenta exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide with maternal circulation.

Blood Barrier

As blood moves through the umbilical cord, a blood barrier in the placenta prevents nutrients and oxygen from mixing with waste products that the fetus must eliminate, according to the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The blood barrier also filters out undesired particles from passing through the umbilical cord to the fetus.

Frequency of Baby Movement During Pregnancy

Early Movements

The first movements you feel, which can occur as early as 13 to 16 weeks of gestation, generally aren't in any predictable pattern. The first light movements might even feel like gas or slight fluttering, and many first-time mothers don't recognize them as fetal movements at first. After those first few movements, you should notice an increase in fetal activity as your baby gets bigger, but don't be alarmed if your baby's movements don't match up to what you hear from other moms-to-be because frequency and strength of movement vary widely in early-to-mid pregnancy.

Peak Baby Movement

You'll probably notice your baby's movements peak at about 28 to 32 weeks gestation, according to the American Pregnancy Association. At this point, your baby is big enough for you to really feel any movements he makes but small enough to still have lots of room to kick, push, twist and twirl around in the amniotic sac. As you progress toward your due date, your baby's motion will slow down because he's running out of space to move as he gets bigger.

Monitoring Movement

In some cases, your doctor might want you to keep track of how often your baby moves. This generally involves recording any movement, whether slight or large, and keeping track of how long it takes for the baby to move at least 10 times, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Most babies make 10 or more movements within an hour or two, although a baby might move much less if he's asleep in the womb. Many moms-to-be find that their babies move most at night or right after a large meal, so if you don't feel 10 movements within two hours the first time you try, have a snack and try again later in the evening. Lying down on your left side can also help make it easier to feel fetal movements for counting.

Concerns

If your baby's movements have slowed or stopped completely for more than a few hours and you are past your seventh month of pregnancy, contact your doctor as soon as possible to check for any potential problems. Your doctor might want to monitor your baby further using ultrasound or a fetal heart rate monitor. A 2009 study in the "Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology" found that 26.6 percent of women who reported decreased fetal movement had an actual problem with the pregnancy. However, multiple instances of decreased fetal movements or a decrease in movement occurring in conjunction with other pregnancy problems could indicate that your doctor needs to keep a closer eye on you during the remainder of your pregnancy.

What Does Indigestion Feel Like During Pregnancy?

The Facts

Indigestion is a common problem among 80 percent of pregnant women. It is caused when the esophageal sphincter, a band between the lower esophagus and the stomach, relaxes and allows digested food and acid back into the esophagus. A common hormone in pregnancy, relaxin, is part of the culprit. Relaxin eases your joints and bones to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal during labor, but it also relaxes your muscles and sphincters.

Time Frame

Although indigestion can occur anytime during pregnancy, most women report the worst cases of indigestion in the second and third trimester when the baby starts putting more pressure on the abdominal organs.

What it Feels Like

Indigestion often feels like an intense burning in the center of your chest behind your breastbone. This is caused from all of the stomach acids that are necessary to break down your food. You may also feel very full or bloated even if you didn't eat a large meal. And you may feel extremely gassy. Belching may help some but will not totally relieve the symptoms.

Prevention/Solution

You may not necessarily be able to prevent indigestion from happening, but you can try to minimize its frequency or intensity. To do this, try to avoid eating greasy, fatty or spicy foods. Avoid eating large meals in a single setting, eating very quickly or lying down immediately after eating.

Natural Cures

To combat indigestion naturally, eat five or six small meals per day. Never wear clothes that restrict the stomach area or make eating uncomfortable. Always raise your head if you must lie down immediately after eating. Use a support pillow or try to lie with your body lower than your head. Follow your health care provider's guidelines on healthy weight gain. Gaining an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy could make the indigestion worse. Consume papaya paste or raw papaya enzymes before and after a meal to help with acid absorption.

Misconceptions

Many pregnant women believe the myth that having indigestion during pregnancy means the baby will have a lot of hair. It may be coincidental with some women, but it certainly isn't fact. Most babies are head down in the third trimester when indigestion is the worse and fetal hair has no effect either way.

Warning

Indigestion should be reported to your doctor immediately if you are spitting up blood, have black or bloody stools, are losing weight rapidly, having trouble swallowing or breathing, or experience excessive vomiting.

Where to Buy a Fetal Doppler

Retail Stores

Many chain stores that cater toward parents of babies or infants, like Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby, will typically have a small selection of fetal Dopplers. However, retails stores will typically only carry the less sensitive type and not the hospital-grade type of Dopplers often sought after. If you are okay with purchasing a fetal Doppler that is a bit less sensitive but also less expensive, buying at a local retail store may be a good option for you. If, however, you are looking for a more expensive, hospital-grade fetal Doppler, it may be in your best interest to look elsewhere.

Hospital Gift Shops

There are some hospitals that will allow you to purchase a fetal Doppler in the gift shop. Unfortunately, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule, so it is always best to call the hospital and ask before making the trip out to purchase the fetal Doppler. Calling around to the local hospitals in your area may reveal several different types of hospital-grade fetal Dopplers available for purchase.

Amazon and eBay

Amazon.com and eBay.com offer used and new fetal Dopplers for sale. Both of these sites are different from other retailers because they allow you to compare several different brand names at once. Not only that, but both sites offer reviews or feedback from people who have used each type of fetal Doppler. Reading these reviews can provide you with enough information to make an educated choice if that particular model or type is best for you.

Other Online Retailers

In addition to Amazon and eBay, there are a number of other online retailers that sell fetal Dopplers. However, it is always best to go with a company that is well-known and reputable. Some good choices to check out are storkradio.com, babybeat.com, bellybeats.com and sweetbeats.net. Compare prices, availability and shipping costs to determine which online retailer would work best for you.

What Causes High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy?

Introduction

High blood pressure during pregnancy typically begins near the middle or end of the second trimester. If high blood pressure wasn't an issue before pregnancy, it is often caused by protein in the mother's urine from kidney problems that developed during pregnancy. Most women with slightly elevated blood pressure are able to carry their babies to term with a natural delivery, but this condition needs to be monitored by a doctor. For women who have never had high blood pressure before, this condition is called gestational hypertension.

Typical Pregnancy

Most women experience a drop in blood pressure sometime during the second trimester. Occasionally, a slight increase will occur, and this isn't a problem as long as it is monitored by the doctor.

Effects

Women with high blood pressure before pregnancy often see their condition worsen while carrying the baby. This can damage the mother's organs, particularly the kidneys. A lower birth weight for the baby is often the result. Preeclampsia, also known as toxemia during pregnancy, can be life threatening if the condition becomes severe. Low birth weight and premature birth can result.

Worst-Case Scenario

Severe preeclampsia can cause seizures; this is when the condition becomes eclampsia, which is one of the leading causes of death of the mother and baby.

Risks of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

High blood pressure decreases the baby's supply of oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood and delivered through the placenta. This can cause the placenta to pull away from the uterus. When this happens, the baby might need to be delivered early to prevent further complications. Women who have gestational hypertension are more likely to have heart disease later in life.

Signs of Preeclampsia

Signs of preeclampsia include headaches, blurred vision, abdominal pain and unexplained sudden weight gain (more than five pounds per week).

Prevention of High Blood Pressure

Before getting pregnant, check your blood pressure and get it to a healthy level. Limit salt intake, increase physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. Before taking any medications, discuss them with your doctor. If you are already on high blood pressure medication before the pregnancy, talk to your doctor and find out if the dosage needs to be adjusted.

Will an ultrasound date pregnancy from conception?

Function

According to the American Pregnancy Association fetal ultrasound uses sound waves to scan a woman's pelvic area to view what is inside your womb, creating a picture called a sonogram. A radiologist is able to estimate the date of conception based on measurements of the foetus.

Types

There are seven different types of ultrasounds including transvaginal, standard, doppler, 3-D, advanced, 4-D and fetal echocardiography. To date the pregnancy from conception, a transvaginal ultrasound may be used, which can see smaller details and is used earliest in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Effects

Ultrasounds are used to determine if the pregnancy is viable and then to track the baby's development. Ultrasounds may be done to date the pregnancy based on fetal measurements or to check for abnormalities.

Benefits

Ultrasounds are useful in determining conception in early pregnancy, which then creates a time line for proper fetal growth and development. Some early problems can be determined via ultrasound and fixed during pregnancy.

Warnings

There is scientific debate over whether the sound waves in ultrasounds cause harm to the foetus. Dating conception may be difficult in early pregnancy, before exact fetal measurements are easy to make. Although there is no evidence that the procedure is invasive, it should only be done when medically recommended.

Considerations

Ultrasounds are used in conjunction with blood hCG levels and last menstrual period dating to determine when your baby was conceived. In early pregnancy an ultrasound can be as much as five to seven days off on the conception date, according to the American Pregnancy Association.