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Pregnancy and childbirth is one of the most important time in the life of a woman. It is a time to celebrate and yet be cautious as well, so that all goes well and the end of the pregnancy is a beginning of life for a baby. There are numerous ways of monitoring the health of the foetus during pregnancy. The non-stress test is one of the ways. Let us find out more about this:
Heart rate monitoring: The non-stress test is basically concerned with the monitoring of the heart rate of the foetus. This is a prenatal test that is very commonly used in order to check the overall health and vitals of the baby while it is still in the womb. The test is essentially carried out to check how well the heart rate responds to the other movements carried out by the baby inside the womb. It is called a non-stress test because there is no external stimulation that may put pressure on either the heart rate or the movements of the baby.
Why: This test is usually recommended by the doctor when there is an increased risk of losing the foetus due to complications. This test is usually carried out when the pregnancy is in 26th to 28th week. This test will usually show whether or not the baby needs extra test, monitoring or care. This test is essentially conducted to check the oxygen supply and is a non-invasive procedure that does not pose any serious physical risks or harm.
Fetal Hypoxia: This test will also show whether or not the baby is suffering from fetal hypoxia, which is a condition where the heart beat is disrupted, if the passage of oxygen is blocked due to some reason.
Conditions for non-stress test: The non-stress test may be conducted if the lady in question has lost or had complication in previous pregnancy. Also, if the mother has any other medical condition like diabetes or cardiovascular conditions, then this test is imperative. Decreased movement of the foetus may also prompt the doctors to take action and conduct this test as a cautionary measure.
Procedure: During the procedure, you will be asked to lie down on a reclining chair and two belts with monitors will be attached to your abdomen. The heart rate of the baby, as well as the movements, will then be studied once the monitors are switched on. These monitors are in turn attached to a screen, in order to take the reading. This test will take no more than twenty minutes. However, if there is no movement in the baby, then the test may continue for a little longer until the baby becomes more active.
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People who suffer from Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly known as 'HIV', are known as HIV positive people. The virus is the agent of AIDS that is currently incurable. HIV is known to alter the human immune system and makes people much more susceptible and vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Body fluids such as semen, blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids etc. of an infected individual contains the virus, which can be passed from one person to another during blood-to-blood and/or sexual contact. HIV positive women may even pass on this virus to their children during pregnancy, delivery or by breast feeding them. HIV is also transmitted during oral, anal or vaginal sex, by contaminated hypodermic needles and by blood transfusion.
Mentioned below are a few issues that a HIV positive woman have to face apart from discrimination and stigma, fear of infecting their children or partners, violence and abandonment.
- Menstrual Disorders: Changes in menstrual cycles are frequently reported by HIV infected women. However, menstrual dysfunctions are due to varied reasons that aren't directly related to the disease. Although most of the HIV positive women suffer from amenorrhea i.e. the unusual absence of periods, it is not just due to HIV but also because of weight loss or immunosuppression.
- Contraception: It is very important that the contraception a HIV positive woman chooses not only acts as birth control, but also to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Although condoms do not provide exceptional pregnancy prevention, they are excellent at preventing transmission of the HIV virus. Permanent sterilization is usually the most chosen contraceptive method for HIV serodiscordant couples.
- Surgical Complications: HIV positive women are at a higher risk of undergoing gynecologic surgery. This is because they are more vulnerable to pelvic infectious disease that requires surgical intervention. There is also a greater risk of developing vulvar cancer in HIV positive women.
- Fertility: There has been an increase in the number of seropositive women contemplating pregnancy and childbirth. Most couples resort to assisted reproduction to lower the risk of horizontal HIV transmission. Studies show that undergoing HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load is helpful in preventing the transmission of HIV. It is important to consult a medical expert if you are unable to get pregnant after at least 6 months of trying. Fertility problems are more common in HIV positive women than HIV negative women.