As every expecting parent learns to their dismay, modern medicine cannot accurately predict when your baby will arrive. The optimistically named “due date” is, from a predictive standpoint, fiction. Only 5% of births occur on the actual due date, and about two-thirds fall within a week before or after the due date. Not knowing when […]Read more
High Risk Pregnancy
Skin so translucent and fragile it tears like tissue paper. Faces obscured by oxygen masks. Alarms going off very few minutes. Bassinets covered in plastic wrap. This is the world of babies born extremely preterm—at less than 28 weeks of pregnancy. Yet for all the almost sinister machines surrounding these tiny humans–tubes and incubators, oxygen […]Read more
The glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes is something of a second trimester rite of passage. If your pregnancy has proceeded uneventfully so far, nearly all the standard tests are behind you. Only one standard test left. And for this final one (typically between 24-28 weeks), you get to choke down a disgustingly sweet drink* […]Read more
Women carrying twins. Women who begin pregnancy with diabetes, or hypertension, or lupus. African-American women who become pregnant after age 35. What do these different groups of pregnant women have in common? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now considers them candidates for early aspirin therapy—a daily baby aspirin starting at the end […]Read more
What is preeclampsia? Preeclampsia is one of the most common, serious disorders of pregnancy. It affects 2-8% of all pregnancies in the U.S, and typically begins with newly elevated blood pressure (readings above 140/90 on two or more occasions) sometime after 20 weeks of pregnancy. (Women who enter pregnancy with chronic high blood pressure can […]Read more
At a routine 36-week prenatal exam, Jessie Ha’s blood pressure measured 120/80. These numbers were on the high side for her. She has an autoimmune disease that normally causes her blood pressure to run low. But the 35-year-old disability advocate was not overly worried. Nor was her doctor. They chalked it up to normal pre-birth […]Read more
Have you lined up your pregnancy care team? Successfully navigated through insurance and other minefields and found providers you can trust and communicate with? If your pregnancy is considered high risk, you may have one more step in the process — adding a maternal-fetal medicine specialist (MFM), also called a perinatologist, to your team. What […]Read more
It’s never fun to hear that your placenta is in the wrong spot. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was a possibility until my 20 week ultrasound when the sonographer told me I had a low lying placenta. In her words: “Not technically placenta previa but your placenta is very close to your cervical opening […]Read more
For my first baby, I had a roller-coaster ride through pregnancy and birth, with many health scares and medical interventions. When I got pregnant a second time, I wanted to have as natural a birth as possible. But at my 30 week ultrasound, I was diagnosed with placenta previa. My placenta was blocking the baby’s […]Read more
When I was on bed rest, I wanted to see how much I could control my contractions by controlling my mental state each day. Could I directly tie my contraction frequency to the stress and anxiety I experienced? I started to study the patterns and quickly realized that I did have more control than I thought.Read more
When it comes to prenatal genetic testing, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis (amnio) are rarely the first types of tests discussed. Most doctors tend to recommend prenatal screenings for women under 35. But screenings have their shortcoming— they miss at least half of certain types of genetic problems and only provide a likelihood of […]Read more
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