Emergency Services: Obstetrics / Maternity
Pregnancy is a long and beautiful journey that’s a dream of many mothers. From the onset to labor and birth, obstetric emergencies may occur at any time and can be life-threatening to both expecting women and babies. If you think you or your unborn baby is at risk, call your doctor, midwife or FrontLine ER.
Why Go to the ER?
Pregnant women are advised to visit the emergency room if they notice any bleeding in the second and third trimesters. A visit to the emergency room like FrontLine ER is necessary to dismiss any emergency complications that could pose a threat. In addition, if the bleeding is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, it could be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy that must receive immediate medical attention.
Obstetric Emergencies during pregnancy may include:
- Hemorrhagic Emergencies such as a miscarriage involves the loss of a baby before 20 weeks gestation period. Once started, a miscarriage cannot be stopped. The mother may need an antibiotic therapy to treat infection or remove the remaining tissue.
- Ectopic Pregnancy occurs where the fertilized egg implants itself in one of the fallopian tubes rather than the womb. The pregnancy has to be terminated and it involves the removal of the tube. If it happens to split the fallopian tube, it leads to severe pain and bleeding. It is at this point that the woman may lose the ability to become pregnant again.
- During placental emergencies, the placenta can detach itself from the uterus before birth or attach to the lower part of the uterus and block the neck of the womb. Due to this, the mother may suffer contractions and vaginal bleeding.
- Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure can cause severe swelling due to water retention. It can also lead to kidney and liver failure. If pre-eclampsia advances to convulsions, otherwise known as eclampsia, it can be critical for the mother and her baby.
- Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) happens when the amniotic fluid sac breaks before contractions or labor begins. This is considered an emergency if the waters break before the due date of pregnancy. It can expose the amniotic sac to infection or the leaking of amniotic fluid.
Obstetric Emergencies during labor may include:
- Shoulder dystocia ensues when the baby’s shoulders lodges in the birth canal after the baby’s head is pushed. Depending on its position, the baby can develop breathing problems due to lack of oxygen.
- A prolapsed umbilical cord is where the cord is moved down into the cervix before the baby is born. The cord can compress itself causing the fetus to lack enough oxygen resulting in death or brain damage.
- An inversion and rupture of the uterus occurs when a portion of the placenta remains attached to the uterine wall and ends up pulling the uterus out. The placenta can also be placed deep into the wall and cannot come out even after the baby is born.
- The amniotic fluid can end up in the mother’s blood. An amniotic fluid embolism is a rare complication although it usually occurs during labor when a mother is experiencing very strong contractions.
What Causes Obstetric Emergencies?
• Genetic (chromosomal) problems with the embryo or fetus
• High maternal weight
• Illicit drug use
Note that a majority of miscarriages are as a result of genetic problems in the embryo and fetus. It’s unfortunate that once a mother has one or multiple miscarriages, she is more likely to experience another.
When to Go to the ER
The best thing to do if you are experiencing miscarriage symptoms call your regular medical doctor or visit FrontLine ER who are always on standby to cater for your emergencies. Diagnostic tests will be carried out to determine whether or not you are having a miscarriage. Visit the ER when you experience the following:
• Unusually heavy bleeding that is accompanied with severe cramps and abdominal pain. (soaking through a menstrual pad in under an hour)
• A rapid increase in blood pressure and blurry vision, headaches or blackouts
• A decrease in your baby’s normal daily movements
• Increasingly intense contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy
Please call your personal doctor or check in at FrontLine ER for quality emergency care for you and your unborn baby.
What Happens At the Hospital?
If you find yourself at the ER with obstetric complications, a specialized doctor will take your medical history and perform a pelvic examination. You would have to undergo blood and urine tests (to establish the possibility of an infection).
A routine check will be conducted on you and your baby’s heart rate and blood pressure. An ultrasound is also carried out to identify the positioning of the baby and the amount of fluid around the baby.
If the bleeding is very heavy, blood transfusion or an induced labor may have to be performed. A baby can also be birthed by cesarean section before their due date.
If premature rupture of membranes (PROM) occurs before 37 weeks, the mother is given intravenous antibiotics. The placenta can also be surgically removed after the birth of the baby.