In this section we deal with the common questions that relate to women's health. We will attempt to give a comprehensive yet uncomplicated explanation to these questions below.

I am pregnant . When should I see a doctor ?

You should see a doctor as soon as possible . This is to confirm the pregnancy and to accurately date the pregnancy . An early ultrasound scan will show at the earliest 6 weeks a viable pregnancy . The other reason is to detect an ectopic pregnancy i.e. when the pregnancy is outside the womb.

What should I eat if I want a healthy baby ?

You should have a balanced diet with either milk or vitamin supplements . A blood test done early will determine if you need iron therapy . Blood tests will also screen for thallesemia a genetic blood disease which can be fatal . However if you are a smoker or drinker , you have to cut down on alcohol and cigarettes .

I have 2 miscarriages . What is the chances of having another miscarriage?

You have a 20% chance . Some doctors will do a barrage of tests but some will only investigate if you have 3 recurrent miscarriages . In the end in the great majority of cases no cause can be found . In such cases it is wise to see the doctor early because hormone pills and injections may help in a number of cases .

I am 35 years old . What is the risk of me having a baby with Downs syndrome?

The cut off age for amniocentesis used to be 37 but now it is recommended for women 35 years and above. The risk at 35 is about 1 in 300 but it rises significantly every year . Amniocentesis is a procedure by which amniotic fluid is aspirated from the water bag . It is done at 16 weeks is relatively painless and the result is ready about 2 to 3 weeks later . The rate of miscarriage after the procedure is about 1 in 200 .

We have been trying to get a baby for 2 years but I am only 26 . Should I see a doctor ?

Any couple who have been married for 2 years and have not been using any birth control should see a doctor . We can do tests to ascertain if there is indeed a reason why you are not pregnant and can start treatment . Please ask your husband to accompany you on your first visit so that he can see what we are trying to do .

I am 25 years old . I have been having painful periods since I was young . It is getting worse recently. What shall I do?

You should see a gynae as we can rule out more serious causes of period pain . A simple ultrasound will determine if you have fibroids or cyst which nowadays can be removed in the majority of cases using keyhole surgery . If no abnormality is found on ultrasound you may need laparoscopy or minor surgery to find out the cause .

My gynae has told me that I have fibroids . Is there a medication I can take to get rid of it ?

At present there is no medication to remove fibroids. Since they are hormone dependent fibroids will shrink after menopause . Surgery or operation is the only way to remove fibroids . Whether we remove the fibroids only or the whole womb will depend on a number of factors which your doctor will discuss with you . In general we operate on fibroids if they are causing symptoms i.e. heavy or painful periods and if they are more than 5 cm in diameter.

I am pregnant . My friends tell me there is a pill I can take to abort the pregnancy. Is it true?

In Singapore at present the abortion pill RU486 is not allowed . What your friends told you is of a pill that is not specifically used for abortion but causes miscarriage. This pill frequently causes incomplete abortion and the patient frequently will need to see a doctor to get it washed out . To do self abortion is illegal in Singapore so it is better to see a qualified doctor and get it done by trained people . It pays to be safe than sorry .

I have been on hormones since my operation to remove the womb . I am scared now that I read reports of these hormones causing cancer . What shall I do?

You should see your doctor and discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy . Suffice to say there are many types of medication to prevent osteoprosis.

I had an abortion recently. After one week I am still bleeding heavily . What shall I do?

You should see your gynae as soon as possible because you may have an incomplete abortion which may require you to have the procedure repeated . It is a relatively common complication so please do not be too upset about it .

I am breastfeeding . Can I still get pregnant?

Yes you can get pregnant even while breastfeeding . Yor doctor will be able to recommend you a suitable form of contraception if you do not desire to get pregnant while breastfeeding

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