Why did scans show that I was carrying a girl?

Monday February 4 2019

Therefore, the number of scans a pregnant woman

Therefore, the number of scans a pregnant woman should have depends on her antenatal clinic doctor and this may depend on many factors, including whether there is a suspected abnormality. WHO PHOTO 

I went to hospital and scans revealed I was carrying a baby girl. However, I gave birth to my fifth boy. I was also shocked that they kept carrying out scans which I have been told are not safe. Can a girl change back to a boy? Anna

Dear Anna,
Determination of gender with ultrasound scanning depends upon seeing the penis and scrotum in case of a boy and the labia in case of a girl. The absence of the penis should not always be taken as sufficient evidence of the foetus being a girl as this is likely to cause inaccuracies because the person scanning may not always get a good view of the private parts.

The correct visualisation of any foetal part depends on many factors, including how the foetus is lying (foetal position), amount of waters (liquor) and thickness of the abdominal wall or the type of ultra sound machine being used (with some being clearer and more accurate than others).
In Uganda, most equipment will determine sex at around 20 weeks (5 months) while in some modern equipment, the gender may be determined as early as 11 to 12 weeks though the earlier it is done the more inaccurate it may be.

Although there have always been concerns over ultrasound scanning in pregnancy including fear that the scanning causes overheating of foetal cells and may lead to foetal abnormalities, ultrasounds, unlike x-rays are generally safe.

Therefore, the number of scans a pregnant woman should have depends on her antenatal clinic doctor and this may depend on many factors, including whether there is a suspected abnormality. Generally, however, ultrasounds 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 is performed at 18 to 20 weeks mainly to look for abnormalities and in some centres eventually at around 32 weeks to assess foetal growth in cases of suspected growth retardation.

Why is my stool hard?

For the past three years, when I go to the toilet, my stool is first hard then later softens. I exercise, take lots of water as well as fruits and vegetables but this has not helped. A colonoscopy came back normal so what could be the problem? Erinerico

Dear Erinerico,
Nowadays, with Uganda being awash with a number of disease conditions, any change in bowel habits may be mistaken for a killer disease. Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms indicating bowel habit changes yet examinations show that the bowel is normal. It is, however, likely that you are normal without any disease condition to worry about and a little adjustment to your toilet habits is likely to help out.

Stool is propelled towards the rectum where it is stored when it has a higher water content and therefore soft. The rectum has a network of blood vessels that help remove water from the stool with the amount of water removed dependant on the body’s water needs and how long it is stored. The more water removed, the harder the stool will be.
Stool is packed in the rectum with the earlier arrival being near the anal end and it is, therefore, normal for the first passed stool to be harder.

Ugandans today are getting harder stool because of limited clean public toilet facilities which make them wait until they are at home to use the toilet. The rectum is a learner so, if one accustoms it to going to toilet only when at home, a person who spends a whole day at work in the city is likely to only go to toilet once a day or once in two days.

Please continue engaging in physical exercise, consuming lots of water and eating fruits and vegetables. Also, force yourself to pass stool every evening and morning so that the rectum gets used to the new trend to enable you to pass soft stool and at least twice a day.