Share Mayflowers - Pregnancy

A 7-point Q&A on Pregnancy

  1. “A Dia-what??” - Diastasis Recti
  2. “Say it ain’t so!” (regarding the stats for urinary incontinence during pregnancy)
  3. “Exercising for two”
  4. An obligatory hormonal question...
  5. Oh, wait, one more...an especially important one considering #s 1-3
  6. Your beating heart can’t be still!
  7. But you can lay down and take a rest!

1. Diastases recti is the name for the separation of the rectus abdominis (commonly known as the “six pack”) down the middle of the abdominal wall that commonly occurs during pregnancy. Presence of diastasis recti is confirmed by manual assessment of __________ at/above/below the belly button.

  1. >1/2 finger width separation
  2. >1 finger width separation
  3. >2 fingers width separation
  4. >4 fingers width separation

Answer: C. A diagnosis of diastasis recti during pregnancy does not necessarily predict that a woman will also have a significant separation post-delivery. Some factors that contribute to a continued separation include the length of time since delivery, poor body mechanics, and limited use of the deepest core muscles (transverse abdominis).

2. Urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine) affects between 32-64% of women during pregnancy. Recent literature indicates that stress urinary incontinence accounts for the majority of reported leakage during pregnancy (up to 49% in some studies). Which of the following would NOT be considered stress urinary incontinence?

  1. loss of urine because of a strong urge to urinate
  2. loss of urine with sneezing
  3. loss of urine when picking up an infant
  4. loss of urine when coughing

Answer: A. Stress urinary incontinence is defined as involuntary urinary leakage that occurs with effort or exertion or with coughing/sneezing. Simply put, if pressure in the abdomen exceeds the ability of the pelvic floor structures (muscles, urethra) to withstand this pressure, urinary leakage will usually occur. When a woman is pregnant the increased size of the abdomen and associated weight gain cause fatigue of the pelvic floor muscles and can contribute to incontinence.

3. Historically, exercise recommendations during pregnancy have been very conservative. However, in 2002, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new information regarding safe guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, guidelines that were further revised in 2011.These guidelines indicate that pregnant women can derive health benefits from:

  1. strenuous activity <15 minutes per day
  2. mild to moderate exercise 3x/week
  3. walking 3x/week at a moderate pace
  4. moderate exercise of >30 minutes per day

Answer: D. Maintaining physical activity during an uncomplicated pregnancy can reduce back pain, decrease blood pressure, and help control gestational weight gain. A significant warm-up and cool down of more than 5 minutes should be performed when exercising to ensure a safe heart rate and blood pressure. However, certain conditions or factors indicate an absolute need to avoid exercise, such as persistent bleeding in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, premature labor, or preeclampsia (high blood pressure after 28 weeks

4. Human chorionic gonadotropin (known as HCG) is a hormone produced by the uterus and is responsible for confirmation of a woman’s pregnancy. How early after conception can this hormone be detected via a urine test?

  1. 7 days
  2. 10 days
  3. 14 days
  4. 17 days

Answer: B. HCG is formed by the placenta and is present 10 days after contraception. Its purpose is to give the fetus a comfortable environment. Low levels of this hormone are associated with miscarriage, while high levels are associated with having multiples.

5. There are several hormones present during pregnancy that increase joint laxity (looseness). Which of these hormones have been linked to back pain in the first trimester?

  1. RelaxinProgesterone
  2. Estrogen
  3. Human placenta lactogen

Answer: A. Several hormones, including estrogen (which softens cartilage in joints) and progesterone (which increases muscle length during pregnancy), indirectly cause increased joint movement during pregnancy. However, in several research studies, higher levels of the hormone Relaxin have been shown to be associated with increased back pain.

6. During pregnancy, normal resting heart rate increases by what percentage?

  1. 5-10%
  2. 10-15%
  3. 15-20%
  4. 20-25%

Answer: B. The normal average heart rate for a non-pregnant female is 72 beats per minute. During pregnancy, the normal average resting heart increases to 80-90 beats per minute.

7. When lying down for a prolonged period of time, the safest position for the pregnant woman is ____________?

  1. Lying on the left side of the body
  2. Lying on the right side of the body
  3. Lying on the back with the knees bent
  4. Lying on the stomach (HINT: If you think the answer is D you are most likely not pregnant)

Answer: A. During pregnancy the uterus often shifts to the right from the center of the body because of limited room on the left. A large vein located in the back of the abdominal region has the potential to be compressed when the woman is lying on her back especially after the fourth month of pregnancy. This limits blood return to the heart and brain.

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