Multiple pregnancies are extraordinarily exciting but do bring many unique health challenges and parental sleepless nights! There are many different types of multiple pregnancies including twins, triplets and more and with different numbers and types of placentas and sacs around the babies. Some babies are identical and some are not. Some babies are more likely to have health problems than others and many multiples often require earlier (preterm) birth and need specialised neonatal care. Multiple pregnancies bring many health challenges to women that require very close attention and vigilance to optimise maternal health.
MFM specialists at The Pregnancy Pod have advanced training and experience in caring for women with multiple pregnancies including comprehensive maternal care, fetal surveillance, fetal surgery (laser for TTTS), vaginal twin birth and caesarean section. A specialised care plan will be developed with you depending on the complexity of your multiple pregnancy
Some women will develop pregnancy complications during their pregnancy and will require transfer to a MFM specialist in The Pregnancy Pod from another obstetrician or midwife. This is because there are additional maternal health care needs, increased fetal surveillance needs for your unborn baby and often we may anticipate your baby will need specialised neonatal care at Monash Newborn (NICU) in Monash Children’s Hospital.
For other women, they may have experienced problems in previous pregnancies such as recurrent miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, diabetes, stillbirth, birth trauma, obstetric haemorrhage or mental health problems as a result. We will spend a lot of time with you developing a personalised care plan that aims to reduce any risk of recurrence while optimising your and your baby’s health, your mental health and emotional support, and working together to support your pregnancy and birth experience.
Pre Existing medical conditions
Women with pre-existing medical conditions will often require a MFM specialist to care for their pregnancy. The Pregnancy Pod does so in a unique and highly personalised way. All of our MFM specialists have advanced expertise in caring for women with all health related disorders in pregnancy. It is key to understanding what effect your health condition will have on your pregnancy and also to know what affect your pregnancy will have on your own health. Pre-pregnancy counselling offers a great opportunity to meet with one of our specialists to discuss this in detail, review safety of medications in pregnancy and discuss how to optimise your health prior to pregnancy.
For many conditions, it is your health at the start of your pregnancy that is the best predictor for your pregnancy outcome. We specialise and have been formally trained in many high risk medical conditions in pregnancy, such as cardiac (heart) disease, diabetes, thyroid, autoimmune (e.g. lupus), bleeding or clotting conditions, cancers (e.g. breast), kidney disease and hypertension, gastrointestinal issues (e.g. Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis), and organ transplantation to name a few. The Pregnancy Pod also works closely with carefully selected physicians and surgeons who similarly have advanced training and experience in pregnancy if this is required.
We are therefore able to offer comprehensive, expert and highly personalised care for all women with pre-existing health conditions and we work with you to optimise your health and therefore, your baby’s health too.
High risk Preterm Birth
Preterm birth, referring to babies born before 37 weeks’ gestation, remains the leading cause of childhood mortality across the world for children under 5 years of age. It is a serious concern even in Australia where around 1 in 11 women give birth prematurely. Babies who are born preterm can have significant short and longer term health problems and need expert medical care. Some women will be transferred to an MFM specialist in The Pregnancy Pod because their obstetrician or midwife has identified risk factors in their current pregnancy that increase the likelihood of having their baby born early.
Women whose current pregnancy is at very high risk of preterm birth will require a high level of care to try and prolong their pregnancy as much as possible when safe to do so, as well as support in preparation for having a baby born early. For other women, they may have had an unexpected preterm birth in a previous pregnancy. There is a lot we can do in future pregnancies to help lower the risk of this occurring again.
All MFM specialists in The Pregnancy Pod have advanced training and experience in managing these complex high risk pregnancies. It is best to be seen prior to conceiving the next pregnancy so that a care plan can be put in place or very early in the next pregnancy. It is reassuring to know that specialists at The Pregnancy Pod work very closely with neonatal experts in Jessie McPherson and Monash Children’s Hospital (NICU) so that the very best care for your baby is always immediately available any time of day or night.
Together, we learn lots about your baby during your pregnancy. MFM Specialists in The Pregnancy Pod all have advanced ultrasound training to carefully monitor the health and development of your growing baby. Sometimes, and often unexpectedly, babies can be found to have abnormalities in some of their organs or may have problems in their genetics. Specialists at The Pregnancy Pod have the expertise to guide you through what can be an emotionally challenging time as we understand together the health implications for your baby and what this will mean for your family. We work with leading paediatric specialists to provide you with the very best information and latest in care.
For a small number of babies, sometimes there are even in utero treatment options, called fetal therapy. For other women, previous babies may have been diagnosed with health or growth (e.g. growth restriction) or genetic problems. Many of these babies may have also needed to have been born early. Future pregnancies can cause a lot of anxiety about the health of their next baby. The Pregnancy Pod is especially suited for women and families who require this additional expertise and care.