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Pregnancy and birth complications at public hospitalBookmark this page

Pregnancy complications

Pregnancy complications are health problems that happen during pregnancy. These can be problems with you, your baby or both.

Going to your pregnancy appointments at the right times, not missing appointments, and telling your midwife or doctor about any symptoms – for example, vaginal bleeding, swelling or severe headaches – will help them pick up problems early and work out what needs to happen.

Tell your doctor or midwife about anything that might affect your care or health – for example, depression.

Depending on your type of care, your health and your baby’s health, an obstetrician at the hospital might see you from time to time during your pregnancy. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might see an obstetrician more often. The obstetrician might:

  • check your health and your baby’s health
  • send you for screening or diagnostic tests, extra scans or counselling
  • get other specialist opinions.

You might like to read more about health problems in pregnancy.

Birth complications

Midwives normally look after you during labour and birth. If you or your baby needs extra medical checks or care, an obstetrician might be at the labour and/or birth. The obstetrician will manage any problems and do any procedures you need. Obstetricians are trained to deal with complications and emergency situations – for example, emergency caesareans.

Most big public hospitals are set up to deal with serious complications like premature labour, but if your baby is very premature (less than 32 weeks) you will probably need a specialist maternity hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Sometimes you’ll be well enough to go home, but your baby might need to stay in hospital.

If you live in a rural area, you might have to go to a large public maternity hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and when baby is well enough, you and/or your baby will go back to your local hospital or straight home.

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