Ask The Doctor – The Answers

Latest Update on Zika Virus and Pregnancy

By Roger Marwood FRCOG Background The Zika virus is a relatively new virus that is rapidly spreading through Brazil and the Americas. It is important because it can affect pregnant women and may cause serious brain damage to their babies. It is transmitted by a mosquito bite and once the virus multiplies in the mother , it can cross over the placenta and cause a problem in the baby’s brain development. The defect is called microcephaly , which means small head , and therefore, small brain. It is likely that infection in the early part of pregnancy carries the greatest […]

Scared I May have contracted Zika Virus

I am 17 weeks pregnant and all is going well. Unfortunately I spent Christmas in Barbados which has been confirmed as a Zika location. Although there is relatively little information on the subject, I understand that additional scans to monitor the babies head growth may be beneficial and probably more importantly stop me worrying.. I had a routine appointment with the midwife this week but she did not know about the virus. I wondered what the best way to get additional scans would be. I’m happy to go private if required. It must be a worry , but help is […]

If money is a little tight…

When I first fell pregnant, I was running my own business and had just had a very bad year financially..we had just moved house, money was tight and suddenly it felt like the wrong time to be starting a new family. People will try and tell you that babies are cheap, they don’t really need anything except their mother’s love..blah blah .. but we all know that’s not really true! Even if you are lucky enough to be able to borrow the big money pieces, like the buggy and the bouncer and the sling, there are still so many little […]

The 5 Unpredictables of Pregnancy… no. 1

by Roger Marwood MSc FRCOG Roger is a consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. He has 40 years experience working in a busy NHS hospitals in West London and has personally supervised around 20 000 pregnancies and countless deliveries. He is also a Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Imperial College, where he is an acclaimed and popular teacher. Life is full of surprises and so too, of course, is Pregnancy. For many couples , getting there can be an ordeal, a mystery or, for almost half of all women, an unplanned and an unpredicted surprise. Once the initial shock of that […]

The 5 Unpredictables of Pregnancy…no. 2 -The Delivery

TWO – The Delivery Some lucky women , start labour by themselves, cope really well with TENS, a bit of gas and oxygen, jump in the birthing pool and after 4 hrs push out a beautiful 3.5 kilo baby who hardly touches the sides, cries immediately and jumps straight on the breast. No cut, no tear, like a big Orgasm! Dream on, I hear you say, but it does happen.   About 20 % of women do not find labour the worst thing that has ever happened and find they can cope with minimal pain relief and can push the […]

The 5 Unpredictables of Pregnancy… no. 3 – How are you after the birth?

THREE – How are you after the birth? Just imagine:- Breast feeding is easy, the baby feeds and sleeps , you are up only once in the night, and you can get back into your favourite jeans after two weeks. You enjoy your new role as a mother and just love all the attention, visitors, presents and are delighted to get back to the white wine and even the odd ciggy. The pelvic floor is in place and sex last night was not a bad you thought it would be, so there is definitely life after babies, and maybe we […]

The 5 Unpredictables of Pregnancy… no. 4 – The Baby!

FOUR – The Baby At last!  It’s why we are here, after all. And I see now that pregnancy and delivery were just the foreplay, or the prologue, the introduction to the real event. He regained his birthweight in a week and after a few broken nights is feeding six times a day and is easy to wind and settles nicely. I’m sure I’m going to get that first smile any time soon. His skin is perfect and the health visitor says he’s on the 60 th centile, and he’s quiet in restaurants and just loves it when his father […]

The 5 Unpredictables of Pregnancy… no. 5 – The Father

FIVE – The Father Perhaps the most unpredictable of the 5 phases You think you know he’s going to be, but reality turns out differently. It can, of course go both ways. The man who came to every clinic visit and class and was joined at the hip during labour, suddenly changes.  He starts to find work, travel, laptop and cellphone and the latest box set much more interesting than the screaming blob who insists on emptying his alimentary canal at both ends. What happened to our social life and those fantastic meals you used to cook and the random […]

Marwood’s 5 Unprecdictables…concluded!

Well there you have it. Marwood’s five unpredictables. I think I’ve seen almost every combination of Good /Bad in the 5 phases Does anyone ever get all five Goods. Well yes, a few lucky ones, who often do not realise how lucky they really are.  They tend to think that they have discovered the secret to the Universe, and often have special tips on diet, exercise, breathing, baby care and so on, which will enable you to have a similar experience. But really it’s so often down to good fortune. It’s extremely rare to get all five Bads. Perhaps a […]

What Cosmetics are Safe to use when Pregnant?

I am 9 weeks pregnant and have been reading up on the various ingredients found in cosmetic products that should be avoided. Even my most basic products such as those from the brand ‘Simple’ seem to have at least one ingredient that should be avoided. Is this scaremongering or should all these ingredients genuinely be avoided? I feel really confused and worried about harming my baby. I am unaware of any cosmetic preparations that are unsafe to be used in pregnancy.  A recent study of the literature fails to demonstrate any significant risks associated with the normal use of Cosmetic […]