I have heard of other health care professionals aiding in childbirth. What are my options?
- There are several types of health care professions who help pregnant women in various aspects including the delivery of their baby. These individuals might be ostetricians, family physicians, midwives, and nurse-midives. Some of these individuals will work from or in your home if you wish to have a home birth. Consult your doctor on your options and speak to others who may have used alternatives. Research on your own as well and make sure to make a decision you are comfortable with and feel is safe for yourself and your baby.
What are some conditions that may cause a high-risk pregnancy?
- Preeclampsia is a syndrome that includes high blood pressure, urinary protein and changes in blood levels of liver enzymes during pregnancy. It can affect the mother's kidneys, liver and brain. If left untreated, the condition could be fatal for both the mother and her baby. Eclampsia is a more severe form of the condition that causes seizures and coma for the mother.
- Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only pregnant women can develop. If a woman gets diabetes while she is pregnant and has never had the condition before, it is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes does not mean unhealthy mothers or unhealthy newborns. Many with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow a treatment plan from their health care professional.
- HIV/AIDS kills and damages cells of the body's immune system, progressively destroying the body's own ability to fight off infection. Women can give HIV to their babies while pregnant, while giving birth or through breastfeeding.
- Preterm labor is labor which begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The baby has not yet fully developed and grown at this time so it may be unable to survive outside of the womb. Doctors will often take steps to try to stop labor if it occurs before this time. Certain infections, a shortened cervix or previous preterm birth may heighten a woman's risk of experiencing preterm labor again.