WEEK 8 – TO SCAN OR NOT TO SCAN

by | 2016, Holistic Pregnancy, Natural health, Pregnancy, Wellness

Weekly Baby News

Embryo: 1.5cm – size of a kidney bean

Webbed toes and fingers are poking out and the baby’s tail is disappearing fast, to loose its alien-look and embrace human-like instead. Eyelids are formed this week although don’t open until 24 weeks. Continuing to form are the brain, lungs, intestines and lengthening of limbs. Bub now is frequently moving about, yet you won’t be able to feel these flutters for numerous weeks, some say around 12 weeks they start to feel, while others is 16 – 18 weeks.

Naturopathic Perspective

Pathology: At 8 weeks, as a naturopath I like to recheck my mum-to-be nutrients via pathology, some I request earlier if preconception testing wasn’t completed. Nutrients I recommend and monitor are; Iron levels, B12, Vitamin D, Zinc, Folate, Calcium and other electrolytes

Scans: Ultrasounds are a really good question to ask. I will give my perspective of each conventional recommended scan as we go through. For now I’ll give you some knowledge that you can then make your own decision on whether to scan or not to scan.

An ultrasounds uses ulta-high-frequency sound waves, which travel at 1000 to 2000 cycles per second for audible sound. From these sounds the echo waves build a pattern of the underlying tissues that return to the electronic device. The strength of the returning wave denotes whether it is soft tissue or bone. There is also a vaginal ultrasound now that due to being closer to the baby and with less tissue to shield the baby, more heat will be transmitted to the baby.  Then there is the 3D & 4D scans, which a lot of mums are going for these days so they have a cute little photo of their unborn child. Please know that many medical associations due to the unknown affects on the foetus do not approve this scan. My recommendation would be to hold off on the cute 3D pictures for once bub is born into the world and a lot less sensitive.

Scans are used for routine surveillance, investigations and to uncover potential risks. These routine prenatal ultrasounds (RPU) are controversial as the medical system scans ALL pregnant woman regardless of complications or not. The information collected doesn’t always give the reassurance or clear answers you would expect, rather leaving the mother with worry and concern. It is a individualised decision as some mothers find comfort in seeing the baby and hearing the heart beat however it is important to understand the risks also.

Effects of Ultrasounds:

  • Ultrasound waves heat the tissues that are being scanned. Heating depends on the machine and whether the hand held device is held still for longer periods. Bones of the baby will heat quicker than the soft tissues. Thus causing discomfort for the baby and can also affect developing of tissues

  • Cavitation: pockets of gas, that vibrate then collapse with the heat of the ultrasound these gas pockets can release a number of chemicals that can be toxic for the foetus. These changes from the gas pockets are suggested to also change the membrane permeability, which may have detrimental effects on the development of the foetus.

  • From animal studies (yes cruel) have found ultrasounds to effect low birth weights, harmful changes in brain cells and neurological functioning, damage to the myelin that protects nerves, increased thickness of red blood cells, to name a few.

  • Evidence has also found the ultrasound also creates a sound in the womb, which researchers have discovered increased movement in the foetus and moving further away from the devise, during a scan indicating possible discomfort for the foetus due to the intense sound.

  • For more information please click the following link of Sarah J. Buckley, MD, who explains the process and risks in more detail. http://sarahbuckley.com/ultrasound-scans-cause-for-concern

Nutrients for the week

VITAMIN D: associated with head and brain development. Pathology testing will determine your Vitamin D levels and whether supplementation is required. 4000IU /day is safe dosing

CALCIUM & MAGNESIUM: Mum can experience calf pain due to bub stealing all the minerals for his extremity growth.

My Journey

8 week scan this week. Although I won’t be getting all the recommended ultrasounds I wanted to get this one to give me peace of mind that the embryo had made it to my uterus and wasn’t ectopic and all was on track. I had experienced quite drawn out pain in my lower abdomen over the last few weeks, plus I had known of a ectopic pregnancy 2 weeks ahead of me, so it was a reassuring to know my little embryo was in the uterus, with a normal heartbeat and everything looked normal. Looking back I can acknowledge that my decision to carry out the test was fear-based, which I’m not proud that I gave into the fear-drivers of the medical system, however it did at the time give me much peace of mind. Here is a little picture of my ‘blob’ as I called it at this stage. He/she is a whole 1.2cm long and to the right of it is the yolk sac. The heartbeat was 150bpm, which is normal even though that is more than twice as fast as my heartbeat. 

I also got my pathology results back from last week. Ensuring to check my nutrient levels which is very important from a naturopath’s perspective. Due to having the MTHFR gene mutation it is essential to ensure my serum folate levels are high and also my calcium levels, as although we get calcium for more foods than dairy, I rarely have dairy other than in yoghurt, so great to monitor. My results were thankfully the ranges, that as a naturopath I feel are optimal. This pathology I’ll continue to monitor throughout the pregnancy to ensure nothing is dropping and if I need to increase required nutrients.

The good results definitely came at the right time as this week I became completely off food and meat. My appetite for the first time in my life was very low! I have always been able to eat at anytime of day and night and if I didn’t eat every 2 hours I would not be very happy. So this was super strange to me and hard to get my head around not wanting to eat even though I knew I needed to eat. Only things I could stomach were tomato soup, (like my mum use to give me when I was sick as a child), watermelon, apples, toast, yes toast.. me I know!! There was no way in hell I could manage eating meat, even though I know how essential it is during pregnancy as well as for my own health.

I was vegetarian for 7 years it had a dramatic negative effect on my health, affecting my mental state, muscle mass, and hormone profile, however that is a story for another blog, the outcome for me was I need include meat in my diet. I did have bouts of appetite all I wanted was carbs and bad food, again being a naturopath and knowing better this was hard to swallow. This week I took some post-pregnant friends advise and accepted it for what it was though and didn’t force my body. Even though I felt like bad foods I tried shaping it to be the healthier option eg instead of normal toast and peanut butter, I would have Pure Life Bio-Dynamic Sprouted Rye Bread with avocado or fresh nut butter. And for Nachos replacement… well getting plain corn chips instead of cheese and adding bucket loads of homemade guacamole. Now it was also common for me this week to make Nachos and then after 2 bites be completely off it and have to stop. My poor husband didn’t know what to do with me not being able to eat and being so fussy.

One of the hardest things this week was the festive season and not being able to eat prawns, blue cheese or enjoy a glass of champagne, not to mention how difficult it is to hide that your pregnant at this time also. Have Nora hanging out with me all day and not feeling up to socialising at all, and 2. Making up reasons why I’m not getting into the festive season with champas or wanting to eat beautiful fresh prawns. I don’t recommend falling pregnant in November/December as you will feel rubbish over the festive season and due to only being early in the pregnancy you can’t announce that your pregnant (well you can but most choose not to), and it is terribly hard to keep it from your loved ones and friends that you are seeing regularly due to all the social occasions. I found it easier to only see people for breakfast, and hope Nora wasn’t raging, or I simply just stayed at home away from people haha.

My Nutrient Pathology Results

Iron 27

TIBC 51

Saturation 53

Ferritin 80

B12 832

Folate 34

Zinc 11.9

Vit D 113

Calcium 2.35

Sodium 137

Potas 3.8

I was happy with all of my nutrients and at this stage there is no need for additional supplementation other than my Natal-Multi. My Iron levels are ok however I will monitor to ensure my ferritin (storage of iron) doesn’t drop further. My saturation is only slightly elevated however can be due to carrying a haemochromatosis gene from my mother. I will check these levels again at 16-18 weeks.

Yours in Health,

Talita Sheedy

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