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 obstetrician about any symptoms – for example, vaginal bleeding, swelling or severe headaches – will help your obstetrician pick up problems early and work out what needs to happen.
If you’ve had previous pregnancy complications, or you have a medical condition or a family history of a condition, you might be more likely to develop a health problem during pregnancy. In this case, your obstetrician might:
- check you and your baby more often
- send you for screening or diagnostic tests or extra scans
- get other specialist opinions.
Tell your doctor about anything that might affect your care or health – for example, depression.
Some women feel more confident knowing that if they develop complications, their obstetrician knows their medical history and needs and is skilled in managing difficult pregnancy and birth problems. But some women with previous or current complications decide to plan their birth at a public maternity hospital, where there are more intensive medical facilities.
Talk with your obstetrician or midwife about what will be best for you.
You might like to read more about health problems in pregnancy.
Your obstetrician will come for the birth, manage any problems and do any procedures that you need. If you have a caesarean, your obstetrician will usually do the operation. Obstetricians often work in small teams. If your obstetrician isn’t available for your birth, she or he will arrange for another obstetrician to be there.
If you go into very premature labour or you or your baby have serious health problems, you might be taken to a large public maternity hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or a special care nursery (SCN) for premature or sick babies. Some private hospitals have SCNs, but they don’t usually have NICUs. If your obstetrician has an agreement with the hospital you are transferred to, she or he might be able to continue your labour and birth care in that hospital.
Sometimes you’ll be well enough to go home, but your baby might need to stay in hospital.