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Pregnant with Chronic Conditions? Consider Specialized OB Care, Says Intermountain Health

Intermountain Health says patients with chronic conditions or pregnancy complications may want to consult a OB/Gyn or even a maternal fetal medicine specialist.

(PRUnderground) September 17th, 2023

Women who plan to become pregnant in the next 12 months should schedule a check-up with their women’s health provider before getting pregnant to find out if they have any risk factors for pregnancy complications, according to experts from Intermountain Health. There are tests and screenings that can be done before pregnancy to see who might be at risk.

And once a woman is pregnant, starting prenatal care early in pregnancy (within the first 12 weeks) generally leads to better outcomes for both mom and baby and can help reduce complications that arise during pregnancy and delivery.

“Patients who have a chronic medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes should see their primary care provider before becoming pregnant, to help them optimize their health and manage their health conditions,” said Deborah Chun, MD, a regional associate medical director for Women’s Health at Intermountain Health in St. George, UT.

“Part of preconception care should include a consultation with a primary care doctor, OB/Gyn and if needed, a provider who specializes in high-risk pregnancies or a maternal fetal medicine specialist. Together they can discuss the patient’s individual health goals before becoming pregnant and make a care plan,” she added.

Know your family health history to help your provider identify any medical conditions that may run in your or your partner’s family.

According to a recent report from the National Institutes of Health, one in nine women in the U.S. has diabetes. And six percent of women who gave birth developed gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

When moms have diabetes, it can lead to a higher risk of complications, such as high blood pressure or preeclampsia, preterm birth, cesarean delivery or other delivery complications since their babies are more likely to have a larger than normal birthweight.

A mom’s diabetes puts babies at risk too. When moms have diabetes, their babies are at increased risk for preterm birth, birth defects, stillbirths, respiratory distress, jaundice, birth injuries, and low blood sugar. Babies born preterm may need to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit or may develop diabetes themselves later in life.

According to the CDC, in the United States, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women ages 20 to 44 and the numbers are increasing.

Complications of having high blood pressure during pregnancy can be very serious and include: Preeclampsia, when high blood pressure can lead to organ damage in the mother, or more seriously, could lead to seizure, stroke, decreased blood flow to the placenta, the baby receiving less oxygen and fewer nutrients, causing low birth weight, and sometimes preterm delivery resulting in the baby spending time in neonatal intensive care.

Deborah M. Chun-Moon, MD, is a doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology with Intermountain Medical Group and regional associate medical director for Women’s Health at Intermountain Health.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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