I was a bit shocked when I recentlyread an article on public perceptions of miscarriage. It was from the USA but I am sure that the findings would be similar if the same study was carried out in Australia. It found that misconceptions regarding miscarriage are common. More than half of the people asked in the survey thought that miscarriage was rare. More than a third thought that they could have prevented the miscarriage. Many attributed the miscarriage to stress, lifting heavy objects, past history of sexually transmitted infections, past use of contraception or even arguing. Almost half of those asked felt guilty about the miscarriage, 41% felt they had done something wrong, 26% felt like

Screening for Down Syndrome

I spend more time with couples at their first antenatal visit explaining the maze of first trimester screening than I do discussing most other aspects of their ongoing pregnancy care. Why? Because it's a topic that couples want to know about. Downs syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal disorders and the most common cause of intellectual disability and we can screen for it - that is, we can do tests which direct us to which pregnancies are at a higher risk of Down Syndrome. Explaining these screning tests is like navigating a maze of information and it takes time. The greatest risk factor for the conception of a Down Syndrome baby is maternal age - the age of the mother. The older yo

Pregnancy, vaccination and Whooping Cough

Not that long ago vaccinations and pregnancy were mutually exclusive. Whilst the majority of vaccinations are still not recommended in pregnancy, there are a couple which are worthwhile getting. Influenza vaccination - Seasonal influenza vaccination was the first vaccination routinely recommended for pregnant women. Pregnant women are at increased risk of morbidity (getting sick) and mortality (dying) from influenza. Timing of vaccination is dependent on the time of the year, vaccine availability and influenza seasonality. Vaccination can take place at any gestation or during breastfeeding. There are no effects on the developing baby although a lot of women feel more comfortable until they a

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