Obstetric research is a set of methods and techniques for examining a woman during pregnancy and the birth itself, for an objective assessment of their condition and course. Examination of a woman consists of the following components: external obstetric examination, laboratory and clinical.
External research includes:
- Inspection of the pregnant. The doctor evaluates the growth, body weight and body type of the woman, as well as the condition of the skin, pigmentation on the face, determines the shape of the abdomen.
- Measurement of the abdomen. Using a centimeter tape, the doctor measures the circumference of the abdomen at the level of the navel, and also measures the length of the uterine fundus.
- Palpation of the abdomen. A woman should be supine. The doctor determines the condition of the skin, the elasticity of the skin, the thickness of the fat layer, the state of the rectus abdominis muscles, as well as the location of the fetus by palpation.
It is especially important during the first obstetric examination to determine the direct size of the entrance to the small pelvis. In general, the study of the pelvis is extremely important, since its position and structure affects the course of pregnancy and directly on the birth itself. A narrowing of the hip joint can lead to serious complications that provoke a difficult birth.
Studies of pregnant women are carried out in several ways :
- First trick. The purpose of this method of examining a woman is to determine the standing height of the bottom of the uterus and part of the fetus, which is located on its bottom. This technique also allows you to judge the estimated duration of pregnancy, the position of the fetus and its presentation.
- Second trick. This method allows you to determine the position of the fetus in the uterus. By gently pushing your fingers on the walls of the uterus, the doctor can identify in which direction the baby is turned. In addition, this technique allows you to determine the amount of amniotic fluid and uterine excitability.
- The third trick. The purpose of the third method of external obstetric research is to determine the presentation and its relation to the pelvis, as well as the general condition of the uterus.
- The fourth method allows you to determine the condition of the pre-existing head (it is bent or unbent), as well as the level of its relationship to the pelvis.
Obstetric Research Factors
During an obstetric study of women, the doctor must determine several factors that will allow you to assess the state of pregnancy and its course.
The position of the fetus is the ratio of the axis of the uterus to the back of the baby. The axis of the fetus is an imaginary line passing through its nape and buttocks. If the axis of the fetus and the axis of the uterus coincide in direction, the position of the fetus is called longitudinal. If the axis of the fetus passes through the axis of the uterus at right angles – this is called the transverse position of the fetus, if under acute – oblique.
The position of the fetus is the ratio of the position of the walls of the uterus and the back of the fetus. This factor allows you to find out in which position the baby lies in the uterus. Of course, the longitudinal position of the fetus is the most favorable, as it contributes to the good advancement of the fetus along the birth canal.
The articulation of the fetus allows you to find out the ratio of the limbs of the fetus and its head to the entire body. A normal situation is when the head is bent and pressed to the body, the arms are bent at the elbows, crossed between themselves and pressed to the chest, and the legs are bent at the knees and hips, crossed and pressed to the tummy.
Internal obstetric research: pros and cons
Some women believe that an internal obstetric examination is not necessary. Moreover, they believe that it can harm the fetus. This is actually not the case. This method of research in some cases allows you to identify pathologies and disorders of the development of pregnancy in the early stages.
Internal obstetric examination must be performed in the first 3-4 months of pregnancy. This technique allows you to identify pregnancy in the initial stages (when the abdomen is not yet visible), its estimated duration, as well as possible pathologies of the genital organs. The late obstetric study determines the condition of the birth canal, the dynamics and degree of opening of the uterus, as well as the advancement of the present part of the fetus through the birth canal.
All of these examination factors in the later stages allow us to make predictions about the course of childbirth. Why else is an internal obstetric study necessary?
Thus, the gynecologist examines the external genitalia for pathologies, infections or other abnormalities. After that, with the help of mirrors, an examination of the internal genital organs is performed. In this case, the condition of the mucous membrane for the presence of infections, the vagina and cervix, as well as the condition and nature of the discharge, is evaluated.
Using this study, pathologies that can lead to complications and even termination of pregnancy can be identified in the early stages of pregnancy. For example, some infections can cause serious complications not only to the entire cycle, but also to the fetus.
Other research methods
Of course, external and internal obstetric studies to a large extent determine the nature of the course of pregnancy, and also make it possible to predict how the birth process itself will occur. However, these surveys are often not enough to provide a full picture.
In order to most accurately determine the gestational age, the position of the fetus, the condition of the uterus, as well as many other factors, gynecologists use additional research methods.
Auscultation of the fetus is performed using an obstetric stethoscope. This method allows you to hear the heart contractions of the fetus, to determine their frequency in the early stages, as well as during attempts and hypoxia of the fetus. In addition, you can hear the heart rate with the help of the “Baby” apparatus, whose operation is based on the principle of the Doppler effect.
Of no small importance is the obstetric study of pregnant women using an ultrasound device, which allows you to fully assess the condition of the fetus, to identify the exact gestational age, and also to identify possible pathologies in the early stages.
In addition to the above methods of obstetric research, in medical practice there are the following methods: the study of amniotic fluid, which is obtained using amniocentesis, the study of utero-placental blood flow, as well as amnioscopy, fetoscopy and much more. In addition, do not forget about the numerous analyzes and measurements that show the full picture of pregnancy.
Any woman in this exciting period of her life should be extremely attentive to her health. After all, the health of her baby depends on this.