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Dealing with multiple pregnancies – Here is what you should know

September 11, 2017 Pavel Anyukov 0

Multiple pregnancies refer to instances where a pregnancy has more than a single live foetus. The most common cause of multiple pregnancies is the use of IVF treatments or fertility drugs, but can also occur from natural conception. Since the mother is called upon to care for the well being all the babies in the pregnancy, complications can arise and often this can lead to issues like high blood pressure, miscarriages, premature delivery, diabetes etc. In some instances, one or perhaps all the babies in multiple pregnancies may experience congenital defects.

The best way to avoid complications with multiple pregnancies is to take utmost care. It should also be emphasized that many babies are born as twins or multiple siblings without any health issues mainly because there were no complications when these babies were conceived, and the mother was also very careful with her health and the pregnancy throughout the tenure.

What are the symptoms of multiple pregnancies?

The following are broadly the symptoms of multiple pregnancies:-
-Heartbeat count
-Higher level of hCG
-Abnormal results from AFP test
-Weight gain
-Larger measurement for the gestational age
-Enhanced morning sickness
-Frequent or early movement of the foetus

While you can use a pregnancy test kit at home to confirm pregnancy, you will need the services of an obstetrician to confirm whether you are carrying multiple pregnancies or not.

Ultrasound test helps the doctor check the number of babies in the uterus and the condition of the babies. The doctor may also advise more ultrasounds to track the development of the babies. It is safer to get an ultrasound test done during the early days of pregnancy itself so that the mother can take all the additional precautions if it is detected that she is carrying multiple pregnancies.

Doctor Conducting Ultrasound On A Pregnant Woman

Heartbeat count
Your obstetrician can detect the heartbeat of the babies with the help of a foetal Doppler. This is done during the fag end of the first trimester. A heart beat monitor is helpful in detecting the condition of the babies.

Human chorionic gonadotrophin or hCG level
Pregnant women are expected to have an enhanced level of hCG across the nine months before the baby is delivered. The blood, as well as the urine of a pregnant woman, will carry this hormone. While the presence of the hormone is not a definite pointer towards multiple pregnancies, it serves as a signal to see your obstetrician/gynaecologist.

Fundal height
The distance between the pubic bone of the mother and the top edge of her uterus is referred to as the fundal height. In multiple pregnancies, it is expected that the uterus will be more stretched to accommodate the additional foetus and thus increase the fundal height.

Additional weight
When a pregnant woman has twins in the uterus, an additional 10 pounds of weight is usually expected for the stretched uterus. This additional weight is higher compared to a woman with a single baby in the uterus. However, during pregnancy, weight gain can also happen due to a variety of other factors.

Causes of multiple pregnancies

Multiple pregnancies can be caused by a single egg cell or different egg cells. Babies coming from the same egg (fertilized by a singular sperm cell) are known as identical twins. In this case, the fertilized ovum has multiplied into two zygotes. Identical twins can also be all males or females. The genes and physical characteristics of this type of twins tend to be same. They will also look very similar though they would still have features that distinguish them from one another. Their fingerprints too would be different.

Fraternal twins, on the other hand, come from two different egg cells with different sperm cells fertilizing them. Fraternal twins can either be both male and both female or one male and one female.

Multiple pregnancies can also mean more than two foetuses. In such an instance, three foetuses would be called triples, quadruplets meaning 4, quintuplets denoting five, and the list goes on. While more than two foetuses are rare, there are indeed instances of even six babies in a single delivery and the coming of fertility drugs is often reckoned as a major cause of multiple pregnancies with more than two healthy foetuses.
Most multiple pregnancies also tend to complete the full term of 39 weeks, and most of the twin babies are delivered around the 37th week or earlier.

Some of the major causes that lead to multiple pregnancies include:-

-Above 35 years of age
-Taking fertility drugs prescribed by your doctor
-In vitro fertilization
-Family tradition of twins
-Withdrawing birth control pills
-African descent

Fertility drugs, in particular, induce production of more eggs before the start of ovulation increasing chances of multiple eggs being fertilized. Similarly, in the case of in-vitro fertilization, the woman may receive more fertilized eggs in her uterus to enhance the chances of having one or perhaps more offsprings

Risks and challenges associated with multiple pregnancies

Some of the challenges and risks associated with multiple pregnancies include:-
-Miscarried or vanishing twin
-Conjoined twins
-Low birth weight
-Gestational diabetes
-Foetal loss
-IUGR or intrauterine growth restriction

Carrying multiple pregnancies can be pretty overwhelming. It would also mean twice the challenge as well as fun. Pregnancy is also the best time to keep yourself healthy. You should also remember that including you, the well being of three or more lives is dependent on your nourishment.

The following are some of the measures that will keep you in good stead:-

Pregnant Lady Posing With Flower

1. Balanced diet: consume more fruits and vegetables including food rich in iron, folic acid, and calcium. These are important nutrients essential for the development of your babies.
2. Stay free from all vices including alcohol, drugs and cigarettes
3. Do devote attention to adequate rest, but don’t forget the importance of some exercise at intervals
4. Do not skip your appointment with the doctor
5. According to Dr Shelley (maternal fetal medicine specialist), always rely on medicines prescribed by your obstetrician and avoid OTC drugs
6. Take your doctor into confidence and always seek his/her opinion even on small issues like a specific food, an unusual uneasiness etc.

How Much Can You Really Save By Going Solar?

September 6, 2017 Pavel Anyukov 0

Price of electrical energy from traditional sources that use fossil fuel including coal as well as those producing hydel energy are only bound to keep going one way – up and away.  This is true not just for Australia, but every nation and city that is dependent on traditional sources for their energy needs.  There is little that anyone can do to stem the rot because there are multiple factors that contribute to the rise in costs. In the first place, thousands of power plants across the globe face the problem of ageing.  Most of these plants have either outlived their designated life span or are close to their last days.  New investments in these plants are hard to come by because of the fast changing landscape of energy production and the increasing emphasis on green energy.  Governments and businesses that run these plants also have other financial compulsions to keep them going until the proverbial ‘last drop’ is extracted.  On the flip side, there is also the question of relocating or offering ‘golden handshake’ to millions of employees worldwide, or at least downsizing the workforce because modern technology would help fewer people for enhanced output.  This is the backdrop in which we will now set out to examine the payback period for Australian households intending to invest in rooftop solar systems.


The Australian PM takes the lead in choosing solar power

In the aftermath of the eventful week, South Australia lose power and residents of NSW coming pretty close to forced outages because of soaring consumption on account of high temperatures. Mr Turnbull upgraded the solar power system at his mansion from 14.5 kWh and added another 14KwH battery stack (LG Chem) to shield him from possible blackouts potentially.

Admittedly, the exercise that cost about $25,000 for the PM’s system is well beyond what most Australians can afford, the event brings into focus, the urgency of considering solar power systems for individual households. The Australian government also make the target for the renewable energy to encourage solar power.

Rapid changes in Australian solar scene

The solar scene in Australia is rapidly changing with not only homeowners choosing roof top systems, but even the government turning to clean energy, such as the Tram system in Melbourne.  As in any other business, with the demand for solar panels and batteries rising at a rapid pace, the prices are bound to come down and therefore, the payback period that we discuss towards the end of this article reckons only the current prices and feed in tariffs in force.

Absence of maintenance or production costs

The only raw material that you ever need is sunlight which is abundantly available almost across the nation for the most of the year. Remember, the sunlight is necessary and not the heat from the sun rays. Once the solar system is installed, you continue to receive electrical energy from the panels for as long as 15 to 20 years or more depending on the system you installed and quality you choose. The price of energy from traditional systems, on the other hand, is only bound to keep rising due to multiple factors.  Rising wages and cost of raw material (such as coal or petroleum products) will have a continuous impact on the cost of traditional sources of energy.

Cost of solar panels

Across 2016 alone, the price of solar panels recorded a drop of 10%, and this trend is only likely to continue in the coming years, with demand for solar panels growing at a steady pace. Western Australia has recorded the best performance in solar installations during 2016. At today’s prices, typically a 5kWH system consisting of 20 panels cost more than $5000. The cost of storage batteries, however, will put you off by another $10,000 or even more, particularly if you choose upmarket systems like ‘Powerwall’ from Tesla Solar, USA. The entry point for storage starts at about $2,000. Thus, the cost of storage batteries would also need be factored in a while considering the payback period. Visit Facebook to find more information about Euro Solar, and to find out more about their solar panels.

The Payback period

As we have seen from the above discussion, the payback period can vary depending on a wide array of factors like the cost of panels you choose, storage system, the price of energy from traditional sources, the feed in tariff rate, and the like. But, to put it simply, if storage is excluded, typically it takes about five years for a home solar system to pay back itself.  Considering that your system, once installed can produce electrical energy for as long as 25 years, the return on investment is more than decent. When storage is also thrown in, the payback period elongates to 10 years, which is also economically sensible.  Another argument in favour of storage is that most Australian homes will need a storage system for the use of energy peaks during the evenings and night when input from the solar system will hit the lowest. Another reason to choose a storage system is that you can expect to get uninterrupted power during potential blackouts.  Experts also emphasise on choosing the right system for homes so that homeowners use directly utilise at least 50% of the energy produced by the solar system.

In other words, using maximum solar power and minimum from the grid is a major factor that would impact your actual payback period.  Heating and hot water constitute about 70% of all energy consumed by households. Therefore, for people who are away at work for the most part of the day and do not have a battery for storing solar power, will be forced to draw power from the grid and thus elongate the payback period.

Location matters

The actual payback for solar systems can also vary from and here are some interesting charts to understand the variation from one region to the other.

How much can you save?

The exact amount of money you can save every month from a solar system will vary, and a host of factors will weigh in. But, in larger terms, your savings will be dictated by your ability to use a maximum amount of energy generated during day light hours and thus minimizing the wastage. Another important factor would be the amount of excess energy that you can transfer to the grid.