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Worries During Delivery
Q. I'm three months pregnant. I recently found out I have Chlamydia. I am now being treated. Will this cause me to have a C-section birth or will I still be able to deliver vaginally?
-Anonymous, South Carolina
A. Chlamydia is an infection that can be treated with antibiotics and will most likely clear up in a week or two. This should have no effect on your chances for a vaginal vs. C-section delivery.
Q. I am 30 weeks pregnant with my third child. I was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia around 20 weeks. I wrap my belly with a thick bandage for support, but still have much discomfort not only in the navel area, but also in the center above my navel all the way up to the breast bone. My doctor says natural delivery will not affect the hernia, although I told him it hurts to cough or sneeze! Walking, sweeping and picking up my two-year-old hurts! How can all the pushing from labor not make it worse and more painful? Should I be concerned about having further effects sustained from the labor/delivery?
A. I, too, had an umbilical hernia during my second pregnancy and had the same concerns about the state of my navel during childbirth. I'm happy to report that labor and a vaginal delivery had no effect on the hernia. In fact, I didn't have discomfort in the navel area from the onset of labor until a few weeks after my baby was born.
You may notice that your hernia is more painful when a bit of innards poke out through that hole in the muscle wall. Certain motions, like picking up a two-year-old, can make those innards pop out and-…ouch, that hurts! My theory is that during labor and delivery, the pressure and hardness of the contracting uterus prevent your innards from getting anywhere near the hole in the muscle wall of the abdomen.
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Q. I am 37 weeks pregnant and I have a yeast infection. I already took the seven day vaginal cream three times and it won't go away. I am worried that I could go into labor and the yeast infection might affect the baby. Can a yeast infection be passed to the baby during delivery?
A. If you have a yeast infection when you go into labor, there's a small chance that your newborn will contract it during delivery. Yeast infections in newborns are called thrush. Thrush symptoms usually begin 7 to 10 days after birth and are recognizable by white patches appearing in the baby's mouth. Try not to worry. Thrush is not serious and is easily treated.
Q. I suffer from herpes outbreaks, however they aren't vaginal. They actually break out on my lower back, about four inches above my anus. Will I still need the anti-viral medicine to keep my unborn child safe?
A. Unless your doctor recommends it, you should not take your anti-viral medication during pregnancy. (See the other suppressive therapy question for more details.)
If you do have an outbreak near the time of delivery, your doctor may decide to do a Cesarean delivery to avoid infection. Or, your doctor may feel there is no risk of transferring the virus to the baby since the outbreak is not in the vagina, and deliver vaginally. I recommend discussing the possibility of an outbreak with your doctor well before delivery to go over your options.
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Q. I have a partial denture. Will it have to be removed when it's time to deliver the baby?
-Anonymous, North Carolina
A. Note: A partial denture is a removable appliance replacing one or more missing teeth.
I cannot see any reason why you would have to remove your denture during labor and delivery unless you were to go under anesthesia for a Cesarean section. (However, do mention it to your doctor and delivering nurse, just in case.) If your denture is comfortable enough for you to breathe heavily and occasionally clench your teeth, then I think you can keep it in. It's really up to you and what your comfort level is.
Q. Is there a surgical procedure that can be done during pregnancy that widens the hips to allow natural childbirth?
A. There may be a surgical procedure that can widen the hips, but I highly doubt any OB/GYN or midwife would condone it during pregnancy. Any kind of surgery, especially one that involves the use of anesthesia, should be avoided to prevent miscarriage.
I don't think you need to be overly concerned about having hips too narrow to deliver your baby vaginally. Late in your third trimester, the baby usually drops into the pelvis and puts pressure on the bones to gradually open up. During labor and delivery the pressure from the baby pushing against the pelvis widens the opening and hips even more. If your OB/GYN or midwife is concerned about your hips being too narrow to open up enough, and/or your mother had a problem delivering because of narrow hips, you may be a candidate for a Cesarean section. I'm sure a C-section is a lot less complicated, risky and painful than a surgery to widen your hips.
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Q. If a person who is about to have a baby injects heroin and cocaine into her blood, how long does it take for the drugs to get out of the baby and mother's systems?
A. Heroin and/or cocaine use during pregnancy can cause serious complications including miscarriage, premature delivery and stillbirth. Children born to drug addicted mothers are also at greater risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Cocaine and heroin probably take a few weeks to completely disappear from a person's system. If you or someone you know is trying to quit cold turkey during pregnancy, you may want to advise that it's probably not a good idea. Although heroin use is harmful, pregnant women should not be detoxified from it because of increased risk for spontaneous abortion or premature delivery. Treatment with methadone, in place of heroin, can help wean both mother and baby off the drug. Infants born to mothers taking methadone may show signs of physical dependence, but they can be treated easily and safely after delivery.
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