Pregnancy Complications | Methodist Hospital | UnityPoint Health
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Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy is an exciting time. But during pregnancy, your body is changing, and you might worry about complications. Thankfully, pregnancy complications are rare. But if they happen, UnityPoint Health – Methodist is here for you with on-staff specialists and a certified Level II Nursery with Extended Neonatal capabilities.

During your pregnancy, you may experience common pregnancy problems like leg cramps or a minor illness. Or you may have concerns about issues such as Zika virus or substance use. Whatever the concern, our team of experts works with you and your provider to manage any challenges that come up, including high-risk pregnancy.

Perinatology and High-Risk Pregnancy

Perinatology, also called maternal-fetal medicine, is a specialty that diagnoses and treats conditions specific to high-risk pregnancies. Your obstetrician will refer you to a perinatologist if you need certain specialized care. Both doctors will stay in close communication throughout your pregnancy.

UnityPoint Health's Perinatology Clinic can support you if you have pregnancy risks. Our highly trained perinatologists treat you like family. Our doctors handle high-risk pregnancy issues such as:

  • Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • Pre-existing or new issues like obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure) or lupus
  • Pregnancy with twins
  • Low or high amniotic fluid levels
  • Poor fetal growth
  • Frequent miscarriages

Common Pregnancy Problems

You will see your doctor very regularly during the 9 months of pregnancy, and they'll monitor your health. But how do you know what to do when you have a concern between visits?

If you have mild discomfort, a cold or an allergy, you can take care of yourself at home. Try home care such as:

  • Leg cramps: Stretch and gently massage your calves and put a warm towel on your leg. Move and walk daily, stay hydrated and take a bath before bed.
  • Colds: Get plenty of rest and drink ample fluids. If you're suffering from nasal congestion, use saline nose drops. They are considered safe during pregnancy.
  • Allergies: Avoid medications. You can humidify your room or use a facial steamer to clear congestion.
  • Medications: Avoid any medicines that contain ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Studies show if you take these during the first trimester, the chance of congenital disabilities (birth defects) increases.

Call your provider right away if you have these problems during your pregnancy:

  • Temperature of 101 F or higher
  • Trouble breathing
  • The flu (influenza)
  • Contractions, or fluid or blood leaking from your vagina
  • Swelling, tenderness, redness or warmth in your leg 
  • Trouble walking

Zika

The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and sexual contact. The mosquitoes that carry Zika can bite anytime (day or night). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.

Some infants exposed to Zika have been born with problems including microcephaly, a condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected. Your provider will ask about Zika risks. Talk to your provider if you have concerns.

While you are pregnant, you can protect yourself from exposure by:

  • Avoiding travel to areas where Zika is prevalent
  • Protecting yourself from mosquito bites
  • Avoiding sexual contact with anyone who may have the Zika virus

Most people infected with Zika won't even know they have the disease. Do call your provider if you have:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Headache

Opioids

At Methodist, we recognize that you want to be healthy and keep your family together. But the opioid epidemic is hurting everyone, including pregnant women.

If opioids are a concern for you, talk to your provider or our care team. We have programs that will help keep you and your baby together. We work to:

  • Keep you and your baby together
  • Get mothers into a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plan as early as possible
  • Let your baby room in to support breastfeeding
  • Provide support services and mental health referrals for parents

Contact the Birthing Center

You can call 309-672-4852 to schedule a tour of the Birthing Center. Tours are held:

  • Mondays  at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Wednesdays  at 5 p.m.
  • Fridays at 10 a.m.

For information about childbirth preparation classes, see our Classes and Events page or call 309-671-2522. Preregister now to reserve your space.