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ABSTRACT: The National High Blood Pressure Education Program's Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy recently issued a report implicating hypertension as a complication in 6 to 8 percent of pregnancies. Hypertension in pregnancy is related to one of four conditions: (1) chronic hypertension that predates pregnancy; (2) preeclampsia-eclampsia, a serious, systemic syndrome of elevated blood pressure, proteinuria and other findings; (3) chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia; and (4) gestational hypertension, or nonproteinuric hypertension of pregnancy. Edema is no longer a criterion for preeclampsia, and the definition of blood pressure elevation is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Patients with gestational hypertension have previously unrecognized chronic hypertension, emerging preeclampsia or transient hypertension of pregnancy, an obstetrically benign condition. Because distinguishing among these conditions can be done only in retrospect, clinical management of gestational hypertension consists of repeated evaluations to look for signs of emerging preeclampsia. Women with chronic hypertension should be followed for evidence of fetal growth restriction or superimposed preeclampsia. Management options for chronic hypertension in most women include discontinuing antihypertensive medications during pregnancy, switching to methyldopa or continuing previous antihypertensive therapy.
Blunt Trauma in Pregnancy - Article
ABSTRACT: Trauma is the most common cause of nonobstetric death among pregnant women in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes, domestic violence, and falls are the most common causes of blunt trauma during pregnancy. All pregnant patients with traumatic injury should be assessed formally in a medical setting because placental abruption can have dire fetal consequences and can present with few or no symptoms. Evaluation and treatment are the same as for nonpregnant patients, except that the uterus should be shifted off the great vessels. After initial stabilization, management includes electronic fetal monitoring, ultrasonography, and laboratory studies. Electronic fetal monitoring currently is the most accurate measure of fetal status after trauma, although the optimal duration of monitoring has not been established. Prevention of trauma through proper seat belt use during pregnancy and recognition of domestic violence during prenatal care is important.
ABSTRACT: A post-term or prolonged pregnancy is one that reaches 42 weeks' gestation; approximately 5 to 10 percent of pregnancies are post-term. Studies have shown a reduction in the number of pregnancies considered post-term when early ultrasound dating is performed. Maternal and fetal risks increase with gestational age, but the management of otherwise low-risk prolonged pregnancies is controversial. Antenatal surveillance with fetal kick counts, nonstress testing, amniotic fluid index measurement, and biophysical profiles is used, although no data show that monitoring improves outcomes. Studies show a reduction in the rate of cesarean deliveries and possibly in neonatal mortality with a policy of routine labor induction at 41 weeks' gestation.
Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery - Article
ABSTRACT: Vaginal delivery is a natural process that usually does not require significant medical intervention. Management guided by current knowledge of the relevant screening tests and normal labor process can greatly increase the probability of an uncomplicated delivery and postpartum course. All women should be screened for group B streptococcus; women who test positive should be treated with antibiotics during labor. Routine human immunodeficiency virus screening of all pregnant women, and treatment with antiretroviral medication for those who test positive, can reduce perinatal transmission of the infection. Once a woman is in labor, management should focus on the goal of delivering a healthy newborn while minimizing discomfort and complications for the mother. In a patient who tests negative for group B streptococcus, delaying admission to the labor ward until she is in active labor decreases the number of possible medical interventions during labor and delivery. Once a patient has been admitted to the hospital, providing her with continuous emotional support can improve delivery outcomes and the birthing experience. Epidural analgesia is effective for pain control and should not be discontinued late in labor to reduce the need for operative vaginal delivery. Epidurals prolong labor, but do not increase the risk of cesarean delivery. Research has shown that labor may not progress as rapidly as historically reported; this should be considered before intervening for dystocia. Routine episiotomy increases morbidity and should be abandoned. Once the infant has been delivered, active management of the third stage of labor decreases the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
ACOG Issues Report on the Management of Post-term Pregnancy - Special Medical Reports
ABSTRACT: Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring is commonly used to assess fetal well-being during labor. Although detection of fetal compromise is one benefit of fetal monitoring, there are also risks, including false-positive tests that may result in unnecessary surgical intervention. Since variable and inconsistent interpretation of fetal heart rate tracings may affect management, a systematic approach to interpreting the patterns is important. The fetal heart rate undergoes constant and minute adjustments in response to the fetal environment and stimuli. Fetal heart rate patterns are classified as reassuring, nonreassuring or ominous. Nonreassuring patterns such as fetal tachycardia, bradycardia and late decelerations with good short-term variability require intervention to rule out fetal acidosis. Ominous patterns require emergency intrauterine fetal resuscitation and immediate delivery. Differentiating between a reassuring and nonreassuring fetal heart rate pattern is the essence of accurate interpretation, which is essential to guide appropriate triage decisions.
Why Are We Using Electronic Fetal Monitoring? - Editorials
ACOG Guidelines on Antepartum Fetal Surveillance - Practice Guidelines