PREGNANCY TESTS

There are many women who live in the constant fear of pregnancy, perhaps because of their health or because they feel that the economic situation will not warrant their having any more children. This fear prevents them from enjoying sexual relations with their husbands, since it is always in the back of their minds. The husband, too, may wish his wife to avoid an-other pregnancy. This may cause her to seek an abortion, the dangers and evils of which are referred to elsewhere in this book.

It should be emphasized just here, however, that the woman often believes that she is pregnant, while, as a matter of fact, she is not. Just because menstruation is late in occurring, this does not always indicate pregnancy; cold, illness and other factors may retard the menstrual flow, causing her to believe that it has ceased altogether. Before the wife begins to worry, therefore, she should be sure that she is really pregnant, for otherwise, she will have all her fretting for nothing!

Fortunately, there are today new tests which enable the doctor to determine, within a short time, whether the woman is really pregnant or not. Various tests of the kind have been devised. One of these is that known as the Aschheim-Zondek (or A-Z) test. This may be tried at any time during the first few weeks, and may even show positive results by the end of the first week.

The A-Z test is based upon the following facts: During pregnancy, the pituitary gland in the brain produces a special hormone, which protects the child. This hormone circulates in the blood, and is excreted in the urine. If some of the woman’s urine is injected into a young mouse, the hormone produces changes in the ovaries of the mouse, as if the animal itself were pregnant. These changes, which can be seen through the microscope, prove that the woman’s urine contained the hormone in question, and that she is, therefore, pregnant.

The disadvantage of this method is that it is, as yet, rela-tively expensive, and that at least two or three days must be allowed for these changes to become manifest in the ovaries of the mouse.

Only recently, Dr. C. C. Coates and Dr. Abner Weisman have improved upon this technique by injecting the urine into the female African frog. If the woman is pregnant, the frog be-gins laying eggs that same day. If she is not pregnant, the frog does not lay eggs. This test is speedier than the other, and seemingly just as effective.

Both husband and wife should know whether, pregnancy has occurred or whether it has not. Much depends upon this, and no chances should be taken. If there is any doubt about it, in the mind of the wife, she should consult her doctor immediately.

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