What are Medical Complications of Pregnancy?
Medical complications of pregnancy can be related to the health of the mother or baby. Either way, the mother must receive the proper care to address any issues that are present and continue with a healthy pregnancy. In some cases, health issues arise unexpectedly during pregnancy, while in others, there may be health problems present before conception that make the pregnancy more complicated. Common medical complications during pregnancy include (but are not limited to):
- Low amniotic fluid
- Placenta previa
- Gestational diabetes
- Ectopic pregnancy
At NJPA, we focus on all stages of pregnancy, to address and resolve complications from the beginning to the end. Care is provided both before pregnancy, in the case of those seeking preconception counseling, and during pregnancy. Assessments during pregnancy focus on providing thorough care to those with pregnancies labeled “high-risk” due to medical, surgical, or obstetrical risk factors. Learn more about how our specialists at NJPA provide care to mothers and families in NJ to achieve healthy and successful pregnancies, even when risks are present.
How We Manage and Prevent Medical Complications of Pregnancy at NJPA
Preconception Counseling in NJ
For those men and women who have a complicated family history and pre-existing medical issues that could potentially be hereditary, it’s important to receive preconception counseling before trying for a baby. This process consists of preconception testing, counseling, and appropriate medical care. Not everyone may need to undergo preconception counseling, but it’s crucial if a woman or her partner has any medical issues such as diabetes, hypertension, an autoimmune disorder, an infectious disease of any kind, or thyroid disease. Obstetrical issues that call for counseling include mature maternal age (35 years or older), recurrent pregnancy loss or stillbirth, and a history of preterm labor and birth. An appointment for preconception counseling generally includes a discussion about your medical history, your family medical history, your OB/GYN history, and your lifestyle habits. A physical exam and lab tests are often part of the process so a full picture of your health can be achieved.
Risk Assessment and Planning
When there is a risk of complications during pregnancy, it’s important to assess and plan to prevent them from becoming harmful to the mother and baby. While complications can arise that are not life or death, it’s still crucial to tell your doctor of any pre-existing health issues that could lead to a complication. Common conditions that are found during pregnancy, which could lead to a serious complication, include anemia, which may be treated with an iron supplement; urinary tract infections, which are dealt with by taking antibiotics; and gestational diabetes, which may be managed by a proper diet, exercise, and occasionally medication. If untreated, these risks may lead to early birth or issues with breathing in a newborn. Risk assessment and planning allow a physician to sit down with a couple who is serious about conceiving a child and review specific medical issues, discuss the risks and possible complications, and plan accordingly.
Assessment During Pregnancy
Unlike preconception counseling and risk assessment and planning, assessment during pregnancy happens when a woman officially has a confirmed pregnancy. Even though expectant mothers will still visit their regular obstetrician at least once a month during the first 7-8 months of their pregnancy, either she or her doctor may notice some serious changes throughout this time frame. Our team of perinatal doctors utilizes the most advanced technology combined with experience and compassion to provide the best, all-inclusive care. We assess expectant women during their pregnancies to diagnose, monitor, and treat any complications that may arise. Some will refer to this as a “high-risk pregnancy,” meaning that the pregnant woman and her child must be watched and cared for more than the average expectant mom and baby so that the risk of complications and negative outcomes will be minimized. Having a high-risk pregnancy may sound intimidating, but with the proper care and management, complications can be identified and addressed early on.