Understanding The Role Of An Obstetrician

Posted on: 29 April 2020

An obstetrician provides medical and surgical care for women during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. They are qualified doctors with additional training in maternal medicine and will support you to develop a plan for your pregnancy and birth that's right for you. Any pregnant woman can choose to see an obstetrician rather than see a community midwife during their pregnancy, but there are situations when a woman would be advised to opt for obstetric care for the health of her and her developing baby. Here's an overview of common conditions managed by obstetricians and the procedures they can carry out: 

Health Conditions Managed By Obstetricians

Obstetricians can help you manage acute or chronic health conditions throughout your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Changes to your body during pregnancy can make some conditions more difficult to manage and you may need closer monitoring than women with no underlying health concerns. This may mean you have regular blood and urine tests and ultrasound scans throughout your pregnancy, and your obstetrician can work alongside any other specialists you see to manage the dosage of your current medication and prescribe new medication to keep you healthy if required.

Obstetricians also support women considered to have a high-risk pregnancy that will require more involved care and frequent monitoring. Examples of high-risk scenarios include carrying multiple babies, having a history of miscarriages, drug or alcohol addiction and being an older mum-to-be. Additionally, if you've experienced complications during a previous pregnancy or delivery, you may be placed in the high-risk category for any future pregnancies.

Procedures Carried Out By Obstetricians

Aside from routine ultrasounds and standard vaginal delivery services, obstetricians also perform caesarean deliveries and can carry out certain procedures to help move vaginal deliveries along when problems occur, such as an episiotomy, dilation and curettage and using forceps and vacuum tools.

Obstetricians can also offer a broader range of tests to check foetal health and development, such as umbilical blood sampling to check for congenital conditions and amniocentesis to check for genetic abnormalities. Additionally, they can assess your risk of preterm labour by tracking your cervical length and measuring foetal fibronectin, which is a protein that helps the amniotic sac stay in place.

If you're interested in seeing an obstetrician, you can make an appointment as soon as you find out you're expecting. Your initial appointment is the ideal time to ask questions and discuss any concerns you have as this will help your obstetrician gain a good understanding of how they can support you throughout your pregnancy. 

For more information, speak with an obstetrician


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