It is a non-invasive technique in which sound waves of greater frequency than the audible range are directed towards the pelvis and abdomen of a pregnant mother,  waves bounce back to give a video imaging of the baby. This painless test is done using a plastic transducer to transmit sound waves. It is advisable to drink 2 to 3 glasses of water before the test for best results. A water-based gel is applied on to the abdomen and pelvic area, then a transducer is used to obtain black and white images on the screen. This process takes about 20 minutes and you may be asked to hold your breath while capturing images.

Regular ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy period provide  information of mother’s organs, placenta and the foetus’s position, weight, and growth. An ultrasound procedure known as anomaly scan checks the fetus for any birth defect. An early ultrasound is done from 6th to 8th week to confirm the date of pregnancy. Other reasons for doing an ultrasound during the first trimester are to check for the fetal heartbeat, to check for ectopic pregnancy and to examine the placenta, cervix, uterus and the ovaries.

During the 16th to 20th week, sex of the fetus can also be determined. Ultrasound at this time also helps monitor the amniotic fluid, diagnose any problems and measure the length of the cervix. If amniocentesis is to be carried out, ultrasound serves as a good guide. Multiple pregnancies can also be confirmed. The ultrasound  imost commonly done is called transabdominal ultrasound. If the mother has gestational diabetes, another ultrasound called Doppler fetal monitoring is done to check whether the baby is getting enough blood. 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are also used nowadays. Although this diagnostic test is harmless, health care practitioners discourage its use if there are no medical reasons to perform it.

Urinary Tract Infection

Another expression for bladder disease that you may have heard is UTI – Urinary Tract Infection. It occurs due to irritation of the urethra, holding the pee in, constipation, improper wiping and uncircumcised penis. It is mostly commonly a bacterial infection. The fundamental effects experienced include frequent and painful urination, fever and bad odour in  urine. Children also experience the urgent desire to urinate.

Umblical Hernia

Also known as belly button hernia; it’s a protrusion of abdominal contents through the abdominal muscles. They are most common in infants but also occur in adults. As the fetus and uterus grow, there is increased pressure on the abdominal muscles causing immense stretch and tear at times. This leads to the formation of a hernia in a pregnant woman. Some factors which promote the development of a hernia are:

1. Being overweight

2. Frequent pregnancies

3. Being pregnant with multiples

4. Persistent, heavy cough

5. Fluid in the abdomen

6. Stomach surgery

Pregnant women often complain of pain which can range from mild to severe. It is advised that during coughing or sneezing, physical support should be provided at the site of hernia to prevent further increase in size and to reduce discomfort. Other than that, hernias during pregnancy have no serious complications. The treatment for hernia in adults is surgery but the surgery is often deferred during pregnancy. If it is an absolute necessity then it can be carried out in the second trimester. In most of the cases, the hernia usually shrinks after delivering the baby. If you have a hernia and you plan to conceive, it is best to talk to your doctor about the situation to prevent any complications.

During pregnancy, an umbilical cord passes through an opening in the baby’s abdomen. Normally, the opening closes after birth but when it doesn’t it leaves a weak spot through which the contents protrude out leading to hernia formation in babies. The belly button protrusion is clearly visible. It can get bigger while laughing or crying and tends to decrease in size when lying down. They usually close on their own around the age of 1. Medical guidance should be sought when the baby seems to be in discomfort, pain,  when he starts to vomit, when the swelling is discoloured and tender to touch.