What is a Complicated Pregnancy

Dr Steven Hatzikostas is an experienced Obstetrician with over 30 years experience located at Northpark Private Hospital, Bundoora.  He offers obstetrics care and general gynaecology services for women. With more than 30 years of caring for pregnant women, Dr Steven offers excellent care for high risk pregnancies and Northpark private hospital offers excellent midwifery care. 

During your initial visit and booking with us, we will discuss your medical history and any high-risk factors. Risks are often determined with pre-pregnancy counselling when the mothers past medical and obstetric history can be assessed. Known medical disorders such as connective tissue diseases, blood clotting disorders and maternal cardiac disease are some important examples of maternal problems which can pose major problems to the mother’s health through the pregnancy which in turn can impact on fetal well being through the pregnancy.  

Some patients may require the involvement of a physician or haematologist in antenatal care. Mothers with pre-existing medical problems may be on medication which is unsafe in pregnancy. Such women should ideally be seen before they conceive and have their medicines changed or ceased before they conceive.

Poor past obstetric history such as recurrent miscarriage, late pregnancy loss(FDIU), growth restriction and placental problems, major haemorrhages, and previous surgical difficulties will often reflect the probability of problems that are likely to recur. Dr Steven Hatzikostas has experience in caring for such women and the skill in managing problems should they occur.

Some risks can only be identified as the pregnancy progresses. Low lying placenta and previous cesarean section may sometimes be linked with morbidly adherent placenta which can pose life-threatening risks. Some risks may present unexpectedly in pregnancy and especially in labour. The skill to perform all types of delivery and the experience to manage haemorrhage are imperative skills that the obstetrician has mastered. Dr Steven Hatzikostas is a private obstetrician who in his 30 years of practising has cared for many high risk pregnancies.  

High-Risk Pregnancy

What is a complicated pregnancy and what makes a pregnancy high risk? 

The majority of women experience uncomplicated pregnancies but between 10 – 15% of women have high risk pregnancies.

A complicated pregnancy can be otherwise defined as an “at-risk” pregnancy. 

A pregnancy where the mother or baby’s health is at an increased risk when compared to a normal pregnancy.

Pre-existing Health Issues

Women may present with risk occurring from pre-existing health issues that can impact pregnancy and birth.

  • Hypertension
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Mental health

Previous Pregnancy Complications

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm delivery (before 34 weeks)
  • Caesarean section

Other pregnancies deemed to be high risk would include multiple pregnancies.

If a woman’s body mass index (BMI) is above 30 then they would be considered high risk as well. A high BMI can be a significant risk and can be linked with diabetes, hypertension, infection, thrombosis and caesarean delivery. 

A mother may be in excellent health but can have a complicated pregnancy due to risks with the baby. For example, poor growth,, malpresentations, developmental abnormality are some of a number of other problems that can increase risk.

Antenatal Check-up

During your antenatal checkups Dr Steven will keep you informed about your progress. Any problems will be identified, monitored and treated as required. 

This could mean more checkups, ultrasound scans and medication if required. Uncommonly some babies might need to be delivered earlier and induction of labour would be recommended.

Pre-Pregnancy Checkup

Dr Steven Hatzikostas encourages anyone thinking of having a baby to schedule a pre-pregnancy check. At this visit, Dr Steven will conduct a comprehensive pre-pregnancy check-up. This would include -:

  • Past Medical history
  • Current medical issues
  • Assessment of problems in previous pregnancies
  • Gynaecological history
  • Genetic family history
  • Genetic tests relevant to your pregnancy
  • Current medications
  • General health
  • General examination and ultrasound if required

Dr Steven may also schedule testing for vitamin deficiencies, anaemia, diabetes, thyroid function and assessment of your immunity status to infectious diseases which are important to avoid during pregnancy. An update of your vaccinations and a pap smear (CST) may also be done. 

Having  pre-pregnancy screening will help you and Dr Steven understand any area of concern and identify changes to implement before pregnancy. It may also identify a risk that needs to be treated during pregnancy and will allow a plan to be made for you and your baby’s safety. 

You will also get the opportunity to get to know Dr Steven during the pre-pregnancy check-up. Choosing a private obstetrician is an important decision as they take care of you during one of your most important life events.

Our practice managers can discuss the often confusing private health insurance benefits, and explain costs and Northpark Private bookings. 

Will my Pregnancy be High Risk because of my Infertility Issues?

Women with infertility can have some high risk factors in pregnancy, though this is not always the case. Dr Steven Hatzikostas can investigate and treat infertility and will inform you if you have any special risks. 
Can maternal age be a Risk in Pregnancy?

Advanced maternal age (AMA) is definitely a risk factor in pregnancy because it is linked with a higher risk of fetal chromosomal abnormalities, and a number of maternal medical problems such as hypertension and diabetes

The use of age alone is not an exacting method however. A fit 37 year old patient can definitely have an uncomplicated pregnancy compared to a 30-year-old obese or medically unfit woman who could present many more risk factors in pregnancy. 

Miscarriage risks have been shown to increase with age due to mostly to chromosomal problems in the baby. Chromosome abnormalities in pregnancy can occur in any woman but the risk increases with age. 

Older women often have complicated pregnancies due to medical problems such as  hypertension, diabetes and have a higher chance of having a caesarean section. 

Can I Reduce the Risk of Pregnancy Complications?

Complications and risks can develop in any pregnancy and may be completely unrelated to the mother’s medical condition or age. There are however some easy ways to reduce the chance of complications.  Obvious steps include stopping smoking and alcohol intake. It also is a good idea to get up to date with vaccines, rubella, influenza, chickenpox and whooping cough. Getting your weight into a healthy BMI range (less than 30) will also mean risks during pregnancy and birth is reduced. 

Please don’t hesitate to call and discuss any concerns or ask questions with our Practice Managers who can schedule an appointment with Dr Steven. 

All information is treated with the greatest respect and utmost privacy.