Did you know that approximately 4 million babies are born in the United States every year? Statistics show that the rate of childbirth varies annually in the U.S., but remains between 4 and 5 million each year. The child mortality rate has also been decreasing due to improved healthcare practices and better knowledge among pregnant women.
Since pregnancy, labor and delivery are crucial in a woman’s life, it is important to find an obstetrician who will supervise you in each stage of your pregnancy. A specialist in obstetrics in Provo can also detect the different illnesses and provide the necessary management during each consultation.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most common hormone disorder that occurs among pregnant women. Abnormally elevated blood glucose levels characterize this condition due to an increase in a hormone that promotes insulin resistance. If not treated, GDM causes difficult labor due to macrosomia or big baby syndrome. Your baby also develops a higher chance of complications such as congenital malformations and birth injuries.
GDM is diagnosed through regular measurement of blood glucose levels at least twice during the pregnancy. Initial testing is performed during the first prenatal consultation, wherein blood workup is done to determine baseline blood glucose levels. During the second trimester of pregnancy, a repeat measurement is done. Once GDM is diagnosed, you will be advised diet and lifestyle modification. You may also be started on insulin therapy based on measured levels during monitoring.
Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing gestational hypertension, which is a condition characterized by increased blood pressure levels. If left untreated, hypertension may precipitate preterm birth, seizures and low birth weight. Therefore, obstetricians provide anti-hypertensive medications at the earliest sign of gestational hypertension to control your blood pressure and reduce the risks of end-organ damage.
Preterm labor is a condition characterized by premature contraction of muscles in the uterus before a woman’s estimated date of delivery. It also occurs with changes in the reproductive tract before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy. As the cervix becomes soft and effaced before 37 weeks, preterm labor may ensue.
Several factors may precipitate this abnormal condition. A previous history of preterm birth is the most common predisposing factor of this condition. Vaginal infections, extreme stress, smoking and low pregnancy weight are other reversible risk factors of preterm labor. A woman in preterm labor may experience moderate to strong painful contractions before the expected date of delivery.
Once preterm labor is diagnosed, most obstetricians recommend admission and monitoring until the contractions stop. You will be given medications to inhibit contractions and induce growth and maturation of the fetal lungs. When contractions stop, further monitoring is necessary until preterm labor is sufficiently ruled out.
Pregnancy is a sensitive phase in a woman’s life, which means utmost care must be provided at all times. Therefore, it is essential to regularly consult an obstetrician who will monitor the progress of your pregnancy and ensure that no complications will arise.