As the old saying goes, it is wise to expect the best and prepare for the worst. That is especially true when it comes to pregnancy.
If you are expecting, being aware of the potential emergencies not only during your pregnancy, but also during labor and delivery can help you learn about the necessary steps to take to avoid them and ensure both you and your baby are healthy and safe right through delivery.
Read on to learn about some common obstetrical emergencies as well as their signs and symptoms.
Examples of Obstetrical Emergencies
Pregnancy complications have various potential causes, including improper development of the fetus, abdominal trauma or injury, poor lifestyle habits (e.g., taking drugs, smoking, and drinking alcohol), preexisting maternal health conditions, and genetic factors.
You need to work closely with your OB/GYN for early detection of pregnancy complications and ensure you receive proper care and monitoring to prevent obstetrical emergencies, such as the following:
This refers to the loss of a baby before week 20 of pregnancy. Once it has started, a miscarriage cannot be stopped. There is no treatment besides making sure the mother is not at risk of excessive bleeding or infection.
2.) Ectopic Pregnancy
This happens when the fertilized egg implants in one of your fallopian tubes instead of your uterus. In such case, your pregnancy cannot continue.
There are a number of interventions for ectopic pregnancy. If there is no bleeding involved, your doctor may just administer a medication called methotrexate by injection to stop cell growth. In severe cases, your OB/GYN may recommend laparoscopy (keyhole surgery), in which your entire fallopian tube or just the fertilized egg inside it will be removed.
Eclampsia refers to the new onset of coma or seizures in a woman who has preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that, when left untreated, can cause damage to your liver and kidneys.
Interventions for preeclampsia include medication to control blood pressure and prevent convulsions or induced labor after 28 weeks. In the event of an eclampsia, your OB/GYN will decide to deliver your baby immediately, typically by C-section.
4.) Fetal Distress
Also referred to as non-reassuring fetal status (NRFS), this obstetric emergency occurs when your baby does not receive adequate amounts of oxygen during pregnancy or labor.
In the event of a fetal distress, your care team will employ prompt interventions, specifically the administration of oxygen, fluids, and medications, to ensure your baby is safe and delay your delivery until your baby is viable enough.
5.) Preterm Labor
This refers to labor that begins before week 37 of pregnancy. Your care team will likely give you corticosteroids, to promote the maturity of your baby’s lungs; magnesium sulfate, to minimize your baby’s risk of developing brain damage (cerebral palsy); and tocolytic to temporarily slow your contractions and delay your labor.
Signs of an Obstetric Emergency
The discomforts that you experience during pregnancy are mostly due to the dramatic increase in hormone levels, and thus, are perfectly normal. Others, however, should be addressed by your doctor immediately, as they are potential signs of an obstetric emergency. These include the following:
o Amniotic fluid leakage before the start of labor
o Any bleeding, especially one that is heavy and accompanied by severe stomach pain.
o Blurry vision and headaches
o Loss of consciousness or convulsions
o Lower back pain
o Rapid increase in your blood pressure
o Regular and increasingly intense contractions before week 37 of your pregnancy
o Stomach cramps
o Sudden and major swelling of your hands, face, or feet
OB/GYN Services in Syracuse, New York
At University OB/GYN Associates, we are committed to helping expectant mothers have a healthy and successful pregnancy. In the event of an obstetrical emergency, you can trust our team of highly skilled OB/GYNs, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and midwives to work to keep you and your baby safe while honoring your birth plan wishes.
To learn more about our services or to arrange an appointment with one of our OB/GYNs, please call us at (315) 464-5162.