Entries by Paula Urban

Compound Presentation

Compound presentation occurs when the part of the fetus closest to the birth canal (usually the head) presents with an extremity next to it (usually hand or arm) (1). It has been estimated to affect less than 0.004% of pregnancies. What are the causes of compound presentation?  Compound presentation can occur as a result of…

Thyroid issues during pregnancy

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which affect heart rate and metabolism.  A thyroid disorder occurs when the thyroid makes too much or too little of certain thyroid hormones (1).  Hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid is overactive, or makes too much thyroid hormone. It can cause…

Postpartum Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Shivani Patel, wrote an op-ed piece for STAT in May that detailed her experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during pregnancy (1).  Eight years ago, Patel learned she had preeclampsia during her pregnancy. Preeclampsia is not an uncommon pregnancy condition, affecting roughly 5-8% of pregnant women (2). It involves high blood pressure,…

Episiotomies: Uses, Guidelines, and Recent Findings

A recent story in HuffPost entitled “Why Are We Still Cutting Women’s Vaginas During Birth?” tells the story of a woman named Rachel who experienced an episiotomy during childbirth (1). An episiotomy is an incision made to the perineum, the area between the vaginal opening and the anus, to aid in delivery (2).  Rachel heard…

Fainting and dizziness during pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association, dizziness and fainting are very common during pregnancy as a result of the drastic hormonal and metabolic changes the body goes through during the first trimester (1). These changes can lower the mother’s blood pressure or blood sugar, causing dizziness and faintness. In the second trimester, the mother may…