1. I had an ultrasound last week that put me at 9 weeks, 5 days. Everything seemed fine and the heartbeat was 175. Now I keep reading about women who see lots of movement on their ultrasound at this point (arms swinging, legs moving, etc.) I didn’t see any. Should I be worried?

    • No Margo, you shouldn’t be worried at all. It is not uncommon to not see much movement at this gestational age. There are so many variations of what is normal. Your ultrasound was perfectly normal for this time and a later ultrasound is likely to show you much more movement. You may even feel the baby moving before your next ultrasound. Congratulations!

  2. Hi Tori, I am 41 yrs. old and my husband and I have 5 beautiful boys. We are pregnant with our 6th, and found out today it is a girl. The entire family is excited beyond words.

    My doctor just called me to refer me to a ultrasound specialist, because he said they seen an uterine septum in the ultrasound today, and because of my age he wants to make sure everything is fine. I am scared! What is a uterine septum and is it something I should be concerned about?

    Sincerely, Elaine

    • Hi Elaine — Congratulations on adding a baby girl to your family!

      A uterine septum is a band of tissue in the middle of the uterus, usually without much of a blood supply that results from a congenital problem in the formation of the woman’s uterus.

      There are several different types of septums and it can be a reason for recurrent miscarriages. The fact that you have 5 healthy children and, I assume previous uncomplicated pregnancies, it appears very likely that yours is not problematic. It has always been present but it appears that this was the first time it was noted on ultrasound.

      Please let me know how things continue to move along in your pregnancy.

  3. Tori,

    Thank you for the information you provided. It makes me feel so much better to know that there was nothing that I did to cause preterm labor…I am and will try my best to get through this and will definitely see a perinatologist in a future pregnancy….again thank you and I will continue to seek your advice.

  4. Hi Tori,

    3 weeks ago I lost my baby girl at 22 weeks gestation. I went into preterm labot yet I didn’t have any symptoms to warn me… I simply started getting one contraction after another and by the time I got to the hostpital my bag of water was already ready to rupture and there was nothing the doctors could do for us.

    I had an ultrasound and I could see her moving and she still had a heartbeat but when I gave birth to her (vaginally – even though the nurse said I had a marginal placenta previa) the doctor said she was born dead.

    My questions are:

    *could my marginal placenta previa caused her death even though i had no warnings like bleeding etc.?

    *could it have been that I got pregnant too soon (2 months after having my 1st baby)?

    * is it because I would carry my 6 month old even though i was pregnant?

    ps: the doctor suggested an autopsy since the baby looked normal physically..but I was so out of it and couldn’t bear the image of my baby being cut open that i said no… now I regret not having the autopsy.

    • Dear Carla,

      I am so very, very sorry about your loss of your daughter. I want to assure you, immediately, that nothing you did was responsible for your miscarriage. Becoming pregnant soon after your first baby and carrying your older child absolutely does not (and did not in your situation) cause preterm labor. You experienced true preterm labor. Often it comes quickly and without much pain or warning. Very little is understood about what actually does cause it and how to prevent it in all situations.

      In the highest level intensive care nursery (NICU), a baby still has minimal chances of surviving and being healthy when born at 24-25 weeks. It is simply not possible for a baby to survive earlier than that. Although you may have had a marginal placenta previa, it does not seem to be a factor in this. I do not know the entire circumstances of your baby’s birth but from my previous experience with this, it is most likely that she died because she was too early to be born.

      When an autopsy is performed on a premature baby, the vast majority of the time, the baby is found to have been perfectly healthy. Please do not regret your decision to have not had an autopsy. It is a very difficult time to make those kinds of choices.

      You need emotional and physical time and support to heal from your loss. It is important to express all your feelings of sadness and grief and to not rush the process. When you feel ready to consider becoming pregnant again, it will be very important that you see a Perinatologist. This is a specialized, high risk obstetrician who should care for you in your next pregnancy.

      Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and please contact me anytime if you have any questions or need support.

  5. Hi Tori,

    I would like to know if traveling by car on longer trips (like a couple hundred miles a day) is safe at the end of the 2nd semester. My pregnancy has been good so far and I feel fine. We are planning the last road trip before the baby comes, but I am having seconds thoughts whether I am making a mistake and take by lucky preganancy so far as granted.


  6. Does the use of pain medications for the mom during labor interfere with the baby’s natural ability to cope with pain?

    • Hi Kelsey ,

      No, there is no correlation between a mom using pain medication for labor and her child’s reaction to pain. Although a small amount of pain medication does cross the placenta, it does not impact the baby in a negative way. Pain medications that are used for labor and birth today are safe for both mom and baby. The choice to have pain relief should be based on how the mother feels she is coping.

  7. Hi Tori,
    I am 32 weeks pregnant and I went to the L&D ER because I was contracting every three minutes. I have a complete previa and, via ultrasound, just found out the baby is breech. I recieved two shots of Terbutaline and took my own oral Terbutaline to stop the contractions. The contractions did slow down alot but I still felt them and they sent me home. Is this normal practice? They also gave me two Percocet prior to leaving and I drove myself to the ER. Isn’t driving myself home after taking Percocet dangerous?

    • Hi Gabriela,

      I am sorry that you had a stop in the hospital. Yikes! I cannot even imagine how you drove home after the two shots of Terbutaline! Most women become very jittery after just one shot.

      It sounds as though you were having a run of contractions, which is not at all abnormal for 32 weeks. However, since you have a complete previa, any kind of contractions can trigger an episode of bleeding for you. My guess is this is why you were treated with two doses of Terbutaline.

      Percocet, although an excellent pain reliever, would not be my choice for this situation. If you were having pain, the pain likely stopped when the contractions stopped, which is what the Terbutaline did.

      I agree with you that you should not have driven yourself home after taking Percocet. If you ever do need to go to the hospital again for contractions, please try to have someone go with you in case you are given medications while you are there.

      A good thing to know is that, if ever you are having contractions, first have two full glasses of water and wait 30 minutes. Frequently, just a bit of hydration stops them.

  8. My husband and I are Americans living in Portugal, and we have just started a Lamaze class. From the first two classes, it seems like the instructor may not know her stuff. For example, she says that under no circumstances should a woman gain more than 20 lbs. during pregnancy. Milk, nuts and dried fruit should be avoided, and all fruits and vegetables must be cooked before eating. She also taught us a pelvic tilt exercise incorrectly. Should we drop the class and watch a DVD course instead? This is the only class in English around.

    • Thanks for writing Heather,

      I agree that the instructor does not know her stuff. What she seems to be telling you doesn’t even make any sense. I would not continue the course if I were you. I cannot imagine that the childbirth information she would give you would be either current or necessarily useful.

      I am hoping that you have a copy of The Joy of Pregnancy. If you don’t, please download it free from our homepage. The chapters on labor and birth are thorough, illustrated and detailed. Honestly, if you think that you and your husband want to see more actual birth videos there are tons on youtube. I would just do a search and see what comes up.

      Do you have a nurse-midwife or doctor that can recommend any other options for you?

  9. Hi Tori,

    I have been diagnosed with a “low lying placenta, covering the os”. I am 15 weeks along and my cervix is 4 cm and closed. I would like to know if it is safe to fly at 18 weeks. I need to go home for a family gathering.

    Thank you.

    • Sunita,

      At this gestational age, having a “low-lying placenta covering the os” means that your placenta is completely covering the opening of the cervix. The fact that your cervix is 4 cm. long (as opposed to dilated) and closed is exactly how it should be.

      Very often, as the uterus enlarges, the placenta moves away from the opening of the cervix, however, at this early stage you still can’t be certain it will. This means that you may have a complete or partial placenta previa.

      This potentially puts you and risk for bleeding problems during your pregnancy. I would not recommend traveling unless you have had another ultrasound which shows that the placenta is now completely away from the os (opening of the cervix). Please talk more with your doctor about this.

      I wish you the best and please let me know how things move along.

  10. Dear Tori,

    Everything I read which addresses postpartum depression says that you should seek professional help. Is there anything else a mother can do besides act like a “psycho”? I’m not sure if this is my problem, but I have no way of finding out or discussing it with anyone, unless I spend $100/hr or more. Help!

    • Please take a look at my Postpartum Depression Video

      Feeling blue, overwhelmed, crying often, and not being sure whether being a mom is the right thing for you is very, very normal for a new mom (or dad). Sleepless nights, the joys and challenges of a new baby, and your own hormonal changes can make any completely normal woman feel like a “psycho”. Finding and connecting with other new parents can be a tremendous help. Oftentimes local hospitals or community centers have new moms (or new parents) support groups. If you attended childbirth preparation classes, your instructor may have some suggestions. These are generally free. In my experience talking to someone about how you feel is the most helpful thing you can do for yourself.

      If you feel so blue or depressed that you cannot get out of bed in the morning or really are unable to care for yourself or your child, it is more important than anything is you may ever do, to actually seek professional help. For starters, call your doctor or midwife and tell them honestly how you are feeling. If you truly are feeling frightened or overwhelmed it is important to not minimize these feelings to those who can help you. Many professionals offer “sliding” fees, which can offset the costs. There also are public resources at little or no cost.

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About Tori Kropp

Tori Kropp

Known as "the Dear Abby of pregnancy," Tori has been interviewed on national television and radio and in national print publications, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Chicago Sun-Times.

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