Expecting a baby can be the most rewarding time of a woman’s life. It can also be the most frightening time, especially for first time mothers who know nothing about obstetrical emergencies. No matter how many Houston women tell you what you can expect your pregnancy to be like, the bottom line is that every pregnancy is different. Even women who have had more than one pregnancy will tell you that each one was unique.
What Constitutes an Obstetrical Emergency?
In Houston, obstetrical emergencies are taken seriously. When your life, or that of your baby is threatened you need to make a call right away. If you are working with a midwife, give her a call, or call your doctor or hospital.
Obstetrical emergencies can occur at any stage during pregnancy from the beginning right up to birth. Knowing the signs of what indicates an emergency is important. During the initial stages of pregnancy if you have severe stomach pain and heavy bleeding you could have an ectopic pregnancy. Heavy bleeding with cramping during the first four months could indicate a miscarriage. If you experience these symptoms in the last trimester it could indicate placental abruption.
Pre-eclampsia has several symptoms. This is also called toxemia; it is high blood pressure caused by the pregnancy. Severe water retention or edema can disrupt proper kidney and liver function. If it is not treated it can be fatal to the mother and child. Symptoms include: severe stomach cramps or pain, lower back pain, nose bleeds, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, severe swelling of the hands and feet.
When a Hospital Stay is Necessary
Anytime you have an obstetrical emergency you may be required to spend a day or two in the hospital for observation if not for treatment. Severe bleeding needs to be stopped and a stay may be required to ensure that the bleeding is not continuing.
In the case of a miscarriage you should be seen by a doctor to make sure the miscarriage is complete. Sometimes a miscarriage is partial, and the remainder needs to be cleared surgically. Under most circumstances this is a simple procedure that does not require a hospital stay of more than a few hours.
In a situation like pre-eclampsia, you may need to be observed for a day or two while the condition is brought under control. This is usually the case after the baby is born because complications may develop. Your doctor may want to monitor your recovery. The baby may need to be monitored as well, and if born prematurely will be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Cypress Women’s Center has the care and compassion to gently handle the obstetrical emergences Houston moms may encounter during their pregnancy and birth. We are women caring for women.