Having a baby may be one of the most exciting yet stressful experiences of your lifetime. Like most Indiana moms, you understand that every pregnancy is different. A non-issue as you carry your child in the womb may be a central focus of concern for someone else. For instance, perhaps your ankles were swollen with your last child, but your doctor said it was nothing to worry about. This time around, your doctor is concerned that your swollen ankles may be the sign of underlying, potentially problematic issue.
There are certain signs doctors should be on the lookout for, especially if they suspect you are going to have a high-risk pregnancy. Your doctor won’t know there is a problem if you are experiencing symptoms at home and do not seek medical attention.
However, during the course of your prenatal visits, and if you were to request an appointment or visit an emergency room or urgent care because of concerning issues, your doctor is obligated to provide a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment to keep you and your baby as safe as possible.
Issues that would place you in a high-risk category
You may have a pre-existing condition that automatically makes you high risk for pregnancy, such as if you are pregnant and are age 40 or beyond. If you have not yet reached age 20, you may also have risks during pregnancy that women between the ages of 21 and 40 might not have. In addition to age factors, however, the following conditions necessitate close monitoring and high-risk care:
- Perhaps you are awaiting the birth of more than one baby at a time. Multiple births are high risk, primarily because you are at risk for premature delivery.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome would be an example of a pre-existing condition that would require close monitoring and specialized care in pregnancy. Women with this condition are at greater risk for miscarriage.
- Premature birth, miscarriage and low birth weight are all possible consequences of smoking during pregnancy. If you smoke during pregnancy, your doctor will list you in the high-risk category.
- The results of your blood tests tell a doctor a lot about your health and the health of your unborn baby. If you receive concerning results, such as those that signify placental insufficiency, you will need high-risk care.
- If you are a diabetic when you’re not pregnant or if you develop gestational diabetes, there are several potentially dangerous, even life-threatening situations, that may arise; thus, your doctor will recommend proper care and treatment to try to keep your glucose and insulin levels under control.
Some risks become more problematic as pregnancy progresses, such as preeclampsia, which is often not discovered until 20 weeks or more. Your prenatal visits can help you keep track of yours and your baby’s vital signs and can address any issues that arise that suggest yours or your baby’s health may be at risk.
When doctors fail to provide quality care
Your doctor has a fiduciary duty to act according to accepted safety standards and state medical regulations to help you and your child during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postnatal care. If, at any time, your doctor fails in that duty and it results in injury to you or your child, you can seek restitution in a civil court.