As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center, Xavier Pombar, DO, focuses on a very special kind of patient: women with high-risk pregnancies. These can include expectant mothers with diabetes, high blood pressure, seizure disorders or other medical problems that could complicate the pregnancy.
Here, Pombar discusses the questions expectant moms ask him most frequently.
Is my baby going to be all right?
Women who take medication for a health condition often ask Pombar this question. They're understandably concerned about the medication the fetus has been exposed to, especially during the early part of pregnancy.
"There are exceptions, but most babies tolerate exposure to medications well," Pombar says. "But patients often decide to stop taking medications because of concerns they may harm the baby."
Women should ask whether medicines are safe, but they should not stop taking prescription drugs without talking with their doctors, Pombar explains. "In the case of blood pressure or seizure drugs, for example, that can be a risk for both mom and baby."
Will a past pregnancy issue affect this one?
"Just because you've had complications in the past doesn't mean you'll have them again," Pombar says. "But we can reduce patients' fears by monitoring them more closely."
I have diabetes. Can I safely become pregnant?
Most women can have a normal pregnancy, Pombar says. He advises patients with pre-existing conditions to let their doctors know they are planning to get pregnant. "Ideally we like to see at-risk patients before they become pregnant. That way some of the concerns that come up during pregnancy have already been addressed."
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