Ask the Doctor: How many scans should a pregnant woman have?
Posted Monday, October 28 2013 at 01:00
A pregnancy ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to see how a baby is developing in the womb. In the second and third trimester, an ultrasound can be carried out to determine the growth, position and sometimes gender of the foetus.
Dear doctor, how many scans should a pregnant woman have? Is it good to carry out a scan every time one visits a hospital for antenatal care?
Dear Assumpta, although there have always been concerns over ultrasound scanning in pregnancy, including fear that the scanning can cause overheating of foetal cells, and may lead to abnormalities, ultrasounds unlike x-rays are generally safe.
The number of scans a pregnant woman should have depends on her antenatal clinic doctor, and this may depend on several factors including whether there is a suspected abnormality which the doctor wants to follow up, or not.
Generally ultrasound scanning in pregnancy may be done at about seven weeks, to confirm pregnancy, exclude ectopic pregnancy, or confirm the heart and therefore determine life and then the age. A second scan may be performed at between 18 and 22 weeks, mainly to look for abnormalities and in some centres, at around 32 weeks to assess foetal growth in cases of suspected growth retardation.
Since a pregnant woman requires a minimum of four antenatal visits, a total of three scans may result.
Dear doctor, I am 24 years old, and my mum tells me that I used to be fat when I was young. But now I do not know what happened to my weight. I do not have HIV since I have done several tests. What could be the reason for my weight loss? What should I take to regain my weight?
Dear reader, a person’s weight or size largely depends on genetics, type and amount of food that they consume, and physical activity. Many babies are fat because they are taking a lot of milk, yet they are not active. Eventually as they grow older, they seem as if they have been stretched out of their fatness. Usually as people age, genetics, physical activity, and diet will determine how big they will be.
Having taken an HIV test indicates that you are worried about your weight, and want to grow fat which is unfortunate because you seem to be small but healthy.
Even small people are at risk of high blood cholesterol, heart disease and stroke because of taking too much fat and avoiding physical activity in a bid to put on weight. Please be happy with your small and healthy weight. Engage in frequent exercise routines; avoid taking too much sugar, fat and food.
Dear doctor, I have only one testis on the left side. I fear to visit nurses because they will gossip about me. Is it true that men with single testis can only have boy children? Is there a way I can get a second testis? A man in our village has only boy children, and they say it is because he has only one testis.
Dear Mwalimu, it is a false belief that one testicle directs acquisition of sons while the other, daughters, so that having only one testis will mean having only one gender offspring. It is true that literally, it is the man who determines the gender of the baby a couple is likely to get. If a man supplies a sperm with an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl, and if he supplies a Y chromosome, it will be a boy.
If a man has a single testis, he can still supply sperms that contain both Y and X chromosomes. Contrary to popular belief in Uganda that a person will get only single gender children because of having one testis, they can actually get a mixture of boys and girls or single gender just like a man with two testes.
Anybody with a single testicle should visit a doctor for evaluation because often times, the other testicle may have got trapped somewhere in the body. Trapped or undescended testes have a likelihood of turning cancerous, and their removal in adults actually helps stem the cancer.
If a person is still young, then the undescended testis can be pulled into the scrotum, and will better be observed in case it turns cancerous. It is not helpful to get a testicle transplant (even if it was possible), or even get an artificial one because it is not necessary.
Dear doctor, I am 25 years old, and still a virgin. However, I have hair on my genitals. What can I do to get rid of it?