Obstetrics is a practice that involves providing women with prenatal care during pregnancy, along with assisting with the birthing process. An obstetrician is a medical professional who monitors the health and well being of the woman throughout her pregnancy, during the actual process of labor and delivery, as well as after the baby is born. Obstetricians are also gynecologists and have a high level of specialized training and education in their field.
For the most part, patients begin seeing an obstetrician during the first trimester of pregnancy. This visit is usually the longest, and will require a variety of tests and examinations. An ultrasound will be done to verify the age of the fetus, blood screening tests will be ordered to check for basic levels, anemia, to verify the patient’s blood type, and to screen for diseases. Further tests to rule out sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, and various types of cultures will also be done. In some cases, as chorionic villi sampling test, or CVS test, may be ordered to look for potential chromosomal abnormalities.
For the most part, most pregnant women will see their obstetrician once per month through the second trimester. During these visits, basic exams will be completed, and tests will be ordered for alpha-foetoprotein in an effort to rule out chromosomal abnormalities or neural tube defects. An ultrasound is typically ordered near twenty weeks to check on the progress of the fetus, as well as to determine the sex, if the parents wish to know. Some women may also want to undergo an amniocentesis by week eighteen to check for abnormalities.
Once the woman has reached her third trimester, the obstetrician will measure the fetus to make sure the weight and size is normal and progressing properly. A glucose tolerance test, or GTT, is also ordered to determine if the woman is at risk for developing the condition of gestational diabetes. Blood pressure is also monitored to look for signs of preeclampsia, and the doctor will listen to the heart beat of the fetus. The Leopold maneuver may also be performed to determine how the baby is positioned.
For the majority of cases, obstetricians make use of ultrasounds to verify the general health and well being of the fetus. This also allows them to monitor the amount of fluid around the fetus, the function of the heart, and to make sure development is on schedule. Ultrasounds can also be used to help guide needles that may be needed to be inserted for CVS tests or amniocentesis. An ultrasound can also help to determine the health and the location of the placenta.
Obstetricians are quite skilled and are able to handle a wide range of issues and emergencies that may be present during pregnancy. These emergencies can include ectopic pregnancies, preeclampsia that develops into a seizure disorder, along with issues such as placental abruption which occurs when the placenta detaches, or partially detaches, from the lining of the uterus causing fetal distress. Any type of fetal distress needs to be dealt with quickly in order to avoid any risk to the baby or the mother.
At the end of the pregnancy, obstetricians assist the woman with the process of labor and delivery. In most cases, this means a vaginal delivery; however there are times when a caesarian section may be needed. Obstetricians can allow a labor to begin on its own, or they can induce it using various types of medication such as pitocin or oxytocin. Labor induction is necessary if the pregnancy has lasted too long, or if there is a particular medical issue that may cause problems if the child is not delivered quickly.
Caesarian sections may be needed if the baby is found to be in any type of distress, if there is an emergency medical situation that threatens the life of the mother or the baby, if the labor is lasting too long, if there are multiple babies, or if the baby is just too large to be delivered vaginally. This procedure is done by making an incision in the lower abdominal area, with a second incision being made in the bottom of the uterus. The baby is then removed through these incisions. In some situations, a woman may decide to opt for a tubal ligation to be carried out at the time of the caesarian section. This procedure can also be done if the woman is not pregnant, and is carried out through means of an infraumbilical incision.
As you can see, obstetricians have a wide range of duties and responsibilities. Even though, for the most part, these medical professionals are quite good and very competent, there are times when mistakes happen and negligence occurs. Perhaps a test was not ordered, maybe test results were misinterpreted or not reported, or maybe a procedure caused more harm than good. All of these situations happen, and when they do, it is important to understand that you may have legal recourse.
If you or someone you know has suffered at the hands of an obstetrician, you should not delay in contacting a professional personal injury attorney. These attorneys are quite skilled in this area of the law and can assist you with every aspect of your case, from initial filings, up until the time of settlement.
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you do not have to pay anything up front. This means that you are able to focus on your health and recovery, and not add the worry of mounting legal bills to the stress on your plate. Your attorney will work hard to help you get monetary compensation for your injuries, as well as to help secure your future. He or she will collect all medical reports, evidence, arrange for expert testimony if needed, and go after all parties that should be held accountable. You do not have to accept the mistake someone else made or continue to struggle alone. The sooner you contact a personal injury attorney, the sooner you can rebuild the broken pieces of your life.