At Sacred Heart HealthCare System, our obstetricians are specially trained to provide optimal care for you and your baby before, during, and after pregnancy. At each appointment, you will learn about the development of your baby as well as have the opportunity to discuss any problems, concerns, or questions you may have about your pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
At your appointments, your obstetrician will go over any risk factors you may have for preeclampsia or gestational diabetes; design a regimen for prenatal vitamins; discuss the amount of appropriate weight gain; create safe exercise guidelines; and discuss proper nutrition for you and your baby. Your obstetrician will also help you decide if you have any risk factors that may require a consult with a perinatologist.
Throughout your pregnancy, you will receive routine ultrasounds to evaluate the health of you and your baby. Additional ultrasounds may be performed at the discretion of your obstetrician.
Some possible conditions you may be treated for during pregnancy include:
Some pregnant women may develop preeclampsia in the second half of their pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia experience high blood pressure, a high level of protein in the urine, and swelling in their feet, legs, and hands. If left untreated, preeclampsia can developed into eclampsia, the most severe stage of preeclampsia. Eclampsia may cause seizures, coma, or even death of the mother and baby, so it is critical to treat preeclampsia as early as possible.
The exact cause of preeclampsia and eclampsia is unknown. Women at risk of preeclampsia include women in their first pregnancy; pregnant teens; and pregnant women over the age of 40.
Other risk factors include:
- History of high blood pressure or obesity prior to pregnancy
- Previous history of preeclampsia
- History of preeclampsia in immediate female relatives
- Carrying multiple babies
- History of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
Warning signs include:
- Swelling of feet, legs, and hands
- Protein in the urine
- Reduced amount of urine
- High blood pressure
- Rapid weight gain caused by swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive vomiting and nausea
- Severe headaches
The only way to cure preeclampsia and eclampsia is for the mother to give birth to the baby. Preeclampsia treatment may include bed rest, activity restriction, and/or medication.
If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia or eclampsia, you and your obstetrician can discuss the best course of action for the health of yourself and your baby.
Gestational diabetes is a condition marked by high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes as a result of some hormonal changes that occur in all women during pregnancy. If your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to counteract the effects of the increased hormones, your blood sugar levels will increase, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Some of risk factors to be aware of include:
- Being overweight prior to pregnancy
- Family history of diabetes
- Previously giving birth to a baby over 9 pounds
- Previously giving birth to a stillborn baby
- Personal history of gestational diabetes
- Having too much amniotic fluid
To test for gestational diabetes, you will need to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test. You will quickly drink a sweetened liquid to cause your blood sugar levels to rise. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm 60 minutes later. If your oral glucose tolerance test results are abnormal, you will then take a similar type of diabetes test that will require you to fast before the test. If the second test yields abnormal results, you have gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can be managed by careful monitoring of your blood sugar, following specific nutritional guidelines, exercising regularly, monitoring weight gain, monitoring blood pressure, and taking insulin, if necessary.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you and your obstetrician will decide the best course of treatment for you and your baby.